CONAN ellie arnoldt

Thirteen Year Old Irish Dancer from Chicago Heads to World Irish Dance Championships

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 Cora

Chicago is lush with Irish heritage and pride and now it’s the home of a rising star on the international dance circuit, thirteen year old Ellie Arnoldt of Trinity Academy of Irish Dance. She’s not old enough to drive, but already has an enviable resume. She’s a Gold Medal Winner of the Midwest Regional Irish Dance Championships. She tours as a soloist and consistently places in the top 25% in the world (what’d you do today?). Now she’s preparing to the World Irish Dance Championships in Montreal, Canada March 29th through April 5th.

Ellie Arnoldt photo by Jayme Tighe Ellie has danced since she was three and a half years old and also competes in the group competition. “As a soloist you’re judged more on your technique,” says Ellie. “In the group competition it’s more about connecting with the other dancers.” A trademark move of Ellie’s is the quadruple bicycle kick or the “quad” as she calls it, where you tuck your legs in succession giving the illusion of running in air. Ellie has performed on several TV shows with Trinity including the Steve Harvey Show and CONAN. She loved performing on CONAN. “My friend and I are the smallest dancers so he joked around with us,” she said. Not to be out done by the World Champion dancers, Conan also did his silly Irish dance.
Photo by Butterfly Frames Photography Ellie looks up to Mackenzie Holland, a rehearsal director and dancer in Trinity’s professional company. “She helps younger dancers and mentors smaller dancers,” Ellie says. She sees herself teaching and mentoring one day. She would love to go to Japan with the company. They tour the country playing several locations and shows. Some of the greatest competition Ellie will face comes from the dancers overseas, especially the dancers from Ireland and Scotland. Her teachers decided to make her a new dress and take her style in a new direction for the competition. I asked if she’s been preparing any differently for this competition. “I practice a couple of times a week. Nothing too much,” she says. Her mom, Molly, laughs. “What? What do you want me to say?” “You practice a couple of times a week at school and a couple of times a week at home,” her mom says. Ellie repeats the answer for me, but it shows she’s dancing for the love of dance. Even with Worlds looming in the future, it isn’t much. It’s not practicing every day, pushing and raising the bar; it’s getting to dance every day, focusing and perfecting favorite moves.

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