Incoming freshman brings world class talent

Emma Bartlett | Herald Contributor

When most people think of Irish step dance, they immediately picture St. Patrick’s Day and dancers whose arms never leave their sides. Yet, beyond that one day of public performances and leprechauns is a world of sweat, dedication and competition.

Freshman Colin Vecchiariello is not a stranger to the world of competitive dance. His mother, who came from an Irish background and had cousins who danced, signed Colin and his twin sister up for classes at age five.Vecchiariello stated that he easily became bored because the steps were too simple, so the instructors taught him more complicated combinations, and he thrived. Since that time, Vecchiariello has consistently competed at regional, national and world levels.

In Irish dance, Worlds is the most prestigious championship to compete in. Approximately 5,000 competitors from all over the country travel each year to compete in this event, and the participants’ ages range from eight to 30. Vecchiariellohimself has been to Worldsfour times and placed three of those years. “I got twelfth, then eleventh and then tenth,” Vecchiariello said. As seen from his improvement, Vecchiariello has dedicated an immense amount of time to his passion.

An average week of practice for this freshman ranges between 6-8 hours,and if a major competition looms ahead, his practices increase to 12 to 15 hours a week. As for the experience of meeting and dancing with people from every nation, Vecchiariello said it was eye-opening.

“With such a big event, you wouldn’t think Irish dance had that many components to it, but there’s people all over the worldpursuing the same goal you’re pursuing,” Vecchiariello said.

Vecchiariello did have a diversion from dance going into high school. After taking a year offcompeting to pursue lacrosse, he came back to dancing and pushed himself to get higher placements at nationals and worlds. He said the key to success is staying dedicated and wanting to achieve your goal.

Vecchiariello stated that his favorite thing about dance is the people not just the ones he’d see every week in class, but the ones he’s met at competitions. Competing both near and far has allowed him to experience other cultures and interact with different kinds of individuals. While at RWU, Vecchiariello will continue to dance and stay in the dance community.

So, next St. Patrick’s Day when dancers are springing across the stage, remember that this is only a small glimpse into their world. Behind the dance costumes and fancy shoes are people like Colin Vecchiariello who dedicate a substantial amount of time and effort to being successful at dancing competitively.