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Local dancer strikes gold in the Far East

September 23, 2013

Talented local dancer, Shane McKeever, was celebrating this weekend after scooping a Gold medal in the first ever WorldDanceSport Games in China.  The young Crossmaglen man tripped the light fantastic to take first place in the Line Dance category of the prestigious competition, which has recognised dance as a sport for the very first time.  Shane busted his moves among world class competitors after winning gold in the qualifying World Country and Line Dance Sport Federation (WCLDSF) Games in Nashville in January this year.

The hugely renowned dancer is no stranger to winning, with an array of World titles under his belt, but, according to proud mum, Michelle, he is particularly thrilled with his latest achievement due to the recognition the games have lent to the art of dance as a sport.  A beaming Michelle told The Examiner how the World Dance Federation has been attempting to have dance recognised as an Olympic sport for a number of years, with the WorldDanceSport Games in Kaohsiung being the first competition of its kind where dance has officially been represented as a sport.

Complete TV coverage of the games ensured millions tuned in to see Shane showcase his formidable talent, delivering an outstanding, energetic performance where, true to the nature of line dance, he displayed a fusion of dance styles to the beat of several different musical numbers, varying from old fashioned rock n’ roll to Freddie Mercury and Queen. His jaw-dropping performance earned him a well -deserved rapturous reception from the audience and propelled him to gold glory once again!

In an interview with a Chinese TV network following his win, an ecstatic Shane explained how Line Dance is typically misunderstood and pigeon holed.  Describing it as a versatile mix of styles, he added,

“A Line Dancer can’t just be good at hip-hop, he needs to be good at the waltz too.  It takes lots of hard work and practice to excel at it.”

Shane has certainly put in the practice over the years, having been dancing since the tender age of three when he accompanied his Dad and Uncles to Line Dance classes in Crossmaglen’s Rangers Hall! Mum Michelle says his talent was first recognised by local dance teacher Eileen Hughes, who encouraged her to enter Shane in dance competitions.  He competed in his first All-Ireland competition in Mayo when he was just five and walked away with first place and the following year, a six year old Shane scooped his first World Championship title in Nashville, Tennessee.

Since then Shane has trained in many different styles such as Ballroom, Solo Style, Ballet, Tap, Modern, Street and also trained as a Gymnast for five years.

The dedicated performer has just completed his first year of the level 5 HND in Performing Arts and Dance at Belfast Metropolitan College and in his spare time he is very much in demand teaching dance all over Northern Ireland.  He hopes his studies will lead to a degree course in London next year and eventually a future career in Theatre.

The world class dancer received a world class welcome on Saturday night as a bus load of more than thirty supportive friends and family arrived to greet him as he returned from China.  The celebrations continued with up to a hundred more revellers in Callans Bar near Dundalk, where a surprise party was held in honour of the dynamic dancer.

Sinn Fein Councillor Terry Hearty extended his congratulations to Shane, describing him as a “great ambassador for this area throughout the years.”

“He really has struck gold with this achievement,” added Terry,

“Especially as this is the first time dance has been recognised as a sport.  Shane McKeever is our very own Olympic winner.  He is closely associated with the local GAA clubs, the schools and the St Oliver Plunkett Youth Club and everyone is absolutely delighted with his latest, much-deserved world title.”

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