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Style · March 17, 2017

Warrenton boy wins Irish dance championship

Photo/Cassandra Brown
Garet (right) practices three days a week at his mom’s dance academy.
Contributed Photo
Garrett with his winnings last month in Glasgow, Scotland.
I won two trophies — one to keep and one to return. I got a stuffed dog, a medal, a banner and a glass vase.
— Garet Zagorski
Garet Zagorski
• Age: 7

• Home: Warrenton.

• School: First grade at P.B. Smith Elementary.

• Dance school: Southern Academy of Irish Dance.

• Award: All Scotland Irish Dance champion under 7.

• Where: Glasgow, Scotland, Feb. 16-19.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Practicing 10 to 12 hours a week paid off for the young Irish dancer.

Last month, Garet Zagorski, 7, of Warrenton won first place in his age group at the 33rd All Scotland Irish Dance Championships.

Garet competed against 35 Irish dancers from around the world at the championships Feb. 16-19 in Glasgow, Scotland.

“I won two trophies — one to keep and one to return,” Garet said. “I got a stuffed dog, a medal, a banner and a glass vase. I also got two medals for my rounds.”

During the competition, he performed three dances:

• A reel, done in soft shoes in 4/4 time.

• A single jig, done in soft shoes in 6/8 time.

• A treble jig, done in hard shoes in 6/8 time.

Garet finished second in the reel, third in the single jig and first overall in his age group.

> Video at bottom of story

The P.B. Smith Elementary School first-grader also plays soccer and takes piano lessons.

Irish dancing runs in the family.

Garet’s mom, Kristin Zagorski, teaches dance and owns the Southern Academy of Irish Dance.

Before starting the business in 2013, Mrs. Zagorski danced professionally with Michael Flatley in “Lord of the Dance” and “Feet of Flames” in North America for about three years.

“It was amazing,” watching Garet win, Mrs. Zagorski said. “I cried. I was happy. He works so hard. He has class three times a week and he practices outside of that, pretty much every day.”

For the under 7 group, “everybody born in 2010 competes against each other,” Mrs. Zagorski explained. “It was an exciting event for him, because it’s boys against girls. It was very hard because the girls at this age are a little more mature as a dancer. Girls tend to be more flexible and jump higher at this age.”

Garet started Irish dancing at 15 months of age.

“He was very keen,” Mrs. Zagorski said. “He stood in the correct position. He really watched everything and tried to mimic it.”

Last year, Garet competed at the All Scotland championships and finished fourth in his age category. He said it made him feel “happy” to win this year.

Select countries around the world have annual Irish dance championships.

“When the countries host a championship, anyone is invited,” Mrs. Zagorski said. “It doesn’t require qualifying to get there.”

Garet plans to compete again in the North American and Great Britain championships and one day hopes to win the World Championships, the most prestigious competition.

Eleven dancers from the Southern Academy of Irish Dance attended the Scotland competition this year.

“It’s good for exposure as the kids progress in competition to go oversees and have the exposure over there,” Mrs. Zagorski said.

The academy has three certified teachers and holds classes in Dulles, Purcellville, Warrenton and Winchester.

Students from the Southern Academy of Irish Dance will perform around Northern Virginia on St. Patrick’s Day.

They will dance at Molly’s Irish Pub in Warrenton from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 17.

> Click below to watch Garet dance a Treble Jig:

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