World at his feet

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A MOTHERWELL teenager travels to America in March aiming to win a global dancing championship for the sixth year in a row.

Sean Downes, a fifth year pupil at Our Lady’s High, heads to Boston for the World Irish Dancing Championships on March 22.

Now competing at under-17 level, the 16-year-old, has won his age group for the last half decade as the competition has been held in Belfast twice, Philadelphia, Glasgow and Dublin.

Sean, who has been dancing seriously since he was eight, has also won dozens of local and national titles including All Ireland, Great Britain, All Scotland and Scottish regional.

A member of the Wishaw and East Kilbride-based McCutcheon School of Irish Dancing, Sean, who lives in Merry Street, has been unbeaten in competition since October 2009, but knows heading to the States will present a tough challenge.

He said: “I am reasonably confident, but there is a lot of competition this year, everyone seems to have upped their game and there is a lot of work to be done.

“It’s definitely more difficult when the championships are held in America.

“There’s so many people who can’t afford to come over here so you get a wide variety who are new and you haven’t seen before.“

Sean’s long-term ambition is to dance in a show with his hero Michael Flatley, who donated the trophies for the World Irish Dancing Championships, but is willing to put education first despite now being old enough to audition professionally.

He said: “At the moment my aim is to stay on at school for sixth year and hopefully gain another couple of Highers in order to go on to university.

“Only then will I start looking at getting in shows and maybe one day I’ll be able to appear in the likes of Lord of the Dance or Riverdance.”

To help fund Sean’s trip to Boston a cabaret night takes place in St Bride’s Hall, Motherwell, on Friday, February 15, and tickets cost £5

His mum Marian said: “There will be singers and dancers of all different genres and ages taking part.”

Sean added: “Travelling all over for competitions isn’t cheap and does have an effect on the family so it’s lucky I’m an only child and I am very grateful for any local support I receive.”

Anyone wishing to buy tickets for the cabaret night or sponsor Sean should call 07950 862831.