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7 Questions With World Champ Niamh O’Brien

Cara Sutherland is an Open Champion dancer from Cleveland, Ohio, USA. She is currently studying Exercise Science and is involved with the Performing Arts at John Carroll University.

Meet Niamh O’Brien, the 2014 Ladies Under 19 CLRG World Champion from the Costello School in Ireland.

Cara: How long have you been Irish dancing and how did you get into it?

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Niamh O’Brien

Niamh: I have been Irish dancing since I was 4 years old so 15 years all together! My older sister went to classes in our local community centre and my mom sent me one day to get me out of the house because I was a VERY quiet child and it all began from there! Best decision she ever made!

How often were you practicing at home and at the studio before Worlds? What kinds of exercises & training helped you?

I practised everyday before the Worlds! I am on teaching practise for my college degree and work from 9 until 6 Monday to Friday so juggling my practises around that was tough and if I couldn’t make a practise I would go for a run! But mostly I did dance 7 days a week, sometimes twice a day!

What do you think is usually your biggest challenge to overcome with dancing?

For me my biggest challenge is stamina! Mine can go so quickly if I don’t do something everyday so once my stamina is good everything sort of falls into place with my crossing and placings and all those little bits to think of during your dances, nerves aren’t half as bad for competitions!

What was your reaction when you realized you won?

I didn’t quite believe it at first because I wasn’t in the hall while results were being announced so I had teachers and lots of people coming up to me congratulating me! I don’t think I realised I had actually won until the presentation while I was on stage! I felt shocked, so happy and proud all at one time!

Is there something you always do for good luck before a major?

I don’t really know to be honest! I suppose my grandparents are very holy and always pray for me before competitions and I wear my holy medals when I dance! I say my own little prayer before walking out on stage! But that’s just small habits I have always done! I am a very superstitious person and I do crazy things like always put my right shoe on first because it’s supposedly bad luck to put the left on first!

Winning the Worlds is something that most dancers will only ever dream of, have you thought of anything you’d like to do next?

No I haven’t thought of anything yet! I am still in university so I’d like to compete for a little while longer! I have had the wonderful experience of Take The Floor for the last two summers and it has given me an urge to do some sort of shows! It would be nice to get into something like that for the summer again!

Do you have any advice for dancers?

My only advice would be to enjoy every time you get up on stage! If you put in the work you will get what you deserve! Sometimes that might not be the case but as long as your happy with the way you’ve performed then that’s all somebody can ask for!

Photo credit: Ella O’Donnell


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