Two young Va. dancers headed to Irish dancing world championships

Dancers Samantha Haas and Chip Krese flank their coach, Elizabeth Francis, after practice in Alexandria. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
Dancers Samantha Haas and Chip Krese flank their coach, Elizabeth Francis, after practice in Alexandria.

Both dancers have a hard and soft shoe performance planned for competition. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
Both dancers have a hard and soft shoe performance planned for competition.

Samantha Haas, left, has been dancing with the Boyle School of Irish Dance since she was 8 years old. (Courtesy Boyle School of Irish Dance)
Samantha Haas, left, has been dancing with the Boyle School of Irish Dance since she was 8 years old.

Some of the youngest dancers at the school practice for their St. Patrick’s Day performance. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty) (Courtesy Boyle School of Irish Dance)
Chip Krese competes in the 2015 North American National Championships. (Courtesy Krese family)
Chip Krese competes in the 2015 North American National Championships.

Dancers have to be in the top 1% to make it to the world championships, so Samantha Haas says having two dancers qualify from one school is special. (Courtesy Boyle School of Irish Dance)
Dancers have to be in the top 1% to make it to the world championships, so Samantha Haas says having 12 dancers qualify from one school is special.

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Dancers Samantha Haas and Chip Krese flank their coach, Elizabeth Francis, after practice in Alexandria. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
Both dancers have a hard and soft shoe performance planned for competition. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
Samantha Haas, left, has been dancing with the Boyle School of Irish Dance since she was 8 years old. (Courtesy Boyle School of Irish Dance)
Chip Krese competes in the 2015 North American National Championships. (Courtesy Krese family)
Dancers have to be in the top 1% to make it to the world championships, so Samantha Haas says having two dancers qualify from one school is special. (Courtesy Boyle School of Irish Dance)
December 2, 2021 | Why the blisters are worth it for Chip Krese (WTOP's Megan Cloherty reports.)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — On this St. Patrick’s Day, two local Irish dancers are packing their bags. They will soon leave to compete in the world championships.

Three nights a week, Chip Krese laces up his shoes and hits the hardwood floor practicing at Alexandria’s Boyle School of Irish Dance.

“A lot of exhilaration goes into Irish dancing. You have to have power, you have to have your arms by your side, and you have to have perfect turnout,” Krese says.

“Sometimes you can get blisters, but really all it is is just getting back up and trying again,” he says of the pain and effort that goes into dancing.

At only 11 years old, Krese is in the top 1 percent of Irish dancers, headed to the world championships in Scotland. The World Irish Dancing Championships run from March 20-27.


He and fellow dancer Samantha Haas, 21, will compete.

“A lot of people think it’s very cool. They don’t quite understand what it means, but when they hear ‘world championships,’ people will compare it to going to the Olympics,” Haas says.

Haas has been to worlds before. In her 13 years of dancing, she qualified for the championships in Canada last year.

“I had the biggest smile and the best feeling when I was dancing on the stage. My teacher said she had never seen me smile so big,” she laughs remembering the moment.

Now that she knows the ropes, Haas has high hopes for her performance in Scotland.

“I’m going to be dancing a hornpipe and a reel, which is a hard shoe and a soft shoe dance. Depending on how my scores come out, I’ll possibly be called back, which is called recall to perform my set piece,” she explains.

“The set piece is an individual dance choreographed to highlight a performer’s specific talents to the judges. to my myself on stage for the judges. If I’m lucky enough to perform that, that’ll determine where I end up in placing,.”

See Haas practice her set piece below.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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