Davien and Adalyn Bradley are now both national champions in Irish dance
Irish dancing is a family affair for the Bradleys in Horizon West — especially when it involves taking home trophies.
Brother and sister duo Davien, 9, and Adalyn Bradley, 6, both captured national championships at the Irish Dance Collective American Irish Dance Nationals July 13 in Cape May, New Jersey.
In his 9U beginner competition, Davien performed a reel and a light jig, while Adalyn performed a reel, a light jig and a slip jig in her 7U intermediate competition.
In an Irish dance competition — or a feis — judges rate the performance of each dancer based on minute details, like keeping your arms to your side, not looking down at your feet and keeping a smiling expression.
The victory was a tremendous moment for Davien in particular, who had only started dancing last September and competed for the first time in January.
“It was huge — we were all shocked,” said Davien and Adalyn’s mother, Brynn. “The teacher said, ‘I’ve never seen him dance like that.’ We said, ‘Neither have we.’”
Davien took an interest in Irish dancing after watching his sister, Adalyn, take off with the dance at a young age, competing in numerous competitions. Adalyn has been taking classes for three years and competing for two.
The title she captured in July was her second national championship — the first was through the World Irish Dance Association.
Out of more than 100 students, there are only five boys dancing at Central Florida Irish Dance — the school where the Bradleys learn their craft. But that doesn’t matter to Davien — he still dances with enthusiasm and genuinely enjoys it. He even balances Irish dance with playing catcher for Windermere Little League.
This summer, Adalyn attended the Riverdance Jr. Summer School camp all the way up in Boston to learn from renowned Irish dancer and teacher Padraic Moyles, and Davien wants to join the camp next summer.
Central Florida Irish Dance Head Teacher Sarah Costello has watched the Bradley children soar in a short period of time. There’s no telling how far Irish dance can take Davien and Adalyn, she said.
“They’re a really good family, and we’re lucky to have them,” Costello said. “Their parents and family are very supportive of the Irish dance, and we’re obviously very proud of them and hopeful they’ll keep it up through the years and continue their accomplishments. One day, hopefully both Davien and Adalyn will make it to Ireland to compete in the world championship. I’m sure it’s their dream one day to get there.”
Brynn said Davien and Adalyn practice their dance steps for an hour every day. It was exciting to see them both succeed on the national stage and come home with two giant trophies.
“We were super excited when they both won, because it was big for (Adalyn) to win the first time and even more exciting for the two of them to win together,” she said. “They both love it, and it’s exciting for them to share that.”
Davien said someday he hopes to open an Irish dance school with Adalyn when they are older.