Cara ready to take her Irish dancing from Echuca to the world

By Charmayne Allison

Sixteen dances.

Two exotic locations.

Eleven-year-old Echuca Irish dancer Cara Haley is crossing oceans this week for a whirlwind dance tour in Morocco and Gibraltar.

But she’s not nervous.

At least not about the dancing.

‘‘My dad and I have been watching a lot of Air Crash Investigations so I’m a bit nervous about the flight,’’ she admitted.

‘‘But I’m excited to dance.’’

Cara’s teacher at the O’Shea-Ryan Academy of Irish Dance and selected students are invited to take part in international tours almost every year — and this year, Morocco and Gibraltar were on the cards.

‘‘Dad hasn’t always been the best at buying Christmas presents so he decided to give the gift this year of taking us overseas for this tour,’’ Cara said.

Running from March 20 to April 3, the tour will begin with a dance festival in Morocco, with amateur folklore ensembles from 20 countries exhibiting.

Cara will be one of 15 dancing under the Australian and Irish flags and the only dancer representing Echuca.

‘‘She’ll be performing in Rabat, Marrakesh and Casablanca, as well as the Atlas Mountains, where her team will dance in a berber village,’’ Cara’s mum Kylie said.

In Gibraltar, Cara will be dancing for the country’s Irish assocation in various venues.

‘‘Each set is a half hour long, so she’s had to learn at least 16 different jigs and reels,’’ Kylie said.

As for the future, a bit of healthy sibling rivalry is spurring this budding Irish dancer onwards and upwards.

‘‘Every two years we have an examiner come over from Ireland and assess us,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m currently up to grade two and this year I’m hoping to do grade three and four — but I want to get past level six so I can beat my sister.’’