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Meagan Urbanek from North Fort Myers secures victory in Scotland

Meagan Urbanek began dancing, and the group went wild. They clapped, they hollered, and so they cheered loudly as she kicked and stomped her way through an Irish dance tribute to the Celtic warrior Boudica. “People began shouting and applauding,” Urbanek says. “That was all unexpected. To get that response was so cool.”

Even cooler, about half-hour later, the Lord of the Dance himself, Michael Flatley, presented Urbanek with a gold statuette affectionately generally known as the “Flatley Oscar.” And identical to that, the North Fort Myers dancer was officially crowned the feminine champion of freestyle dancing on the World Irish Dancing Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

Urbanek calls the complete experience “surreal,” each winning the championship and meeting considered one of her Irish dancing heroes. “Michael Flatley really put Irish dancing on the map,” she says. “He’s someone I’ve at all times looked as much as.”

An Irish dancing profession that began in Cape Coral

The March championship marked the culmination of a dance journey that Urbanek, now 22, began as a young girl. Her dance journey began on the annual Cape Coral Irish Festival almost 20 years ago. Urbanek was there together with her Irish parents and have become captivated by the Irish dancers onstage. “I will need to have been 4 or 5,” Urbanek says. “I didn’t know what I used to be doing. I used to be just bouncing up and down within the audience. I feel that is probably my earliest memory: Just being a tiny little thing with red hair and a shamrock dress, bouncing up and down.”

She began watching and dancing along to DVDs of Irish step dancing shows like “Lord of the Dance” and “Riverdance.” “My grandparents were like, ‘She has to go to a category,'” Urbanek says. “She has to learn learn how to do that.” So she began taking dance classes at age 5 at Fort Myers’ Kellyn Celtic Arts Irish Dance and eventually ended up at Estero’s Aisling S.R. Irish Dance.

Her Estero dance teacher was present when Urbanek won first place in freestyle Irish dancing. It was a major moment for each of them. “I used to be very proud,” Geraldine French says. “She did extremely well, and I’d have been very surprised if she wasn’t considered one of the highest finalists.”

Urbanek choreographed the step-dance routine herself to original music by Australian musician and former Irish dance champion Stephen Carolan, which included a little bit of The White Stripes song “Seven Nation Army.” She wanted a robust routine to match the subject material, the traditional warrior Boudica, a Celtic queen who battled against the Romans.

The treble-reel-style piece featured loud, full-foot stomps done in hard shoes, a departure from the soft-shoe pieces most girls do. Urbanek desired to create a dance that showcased quite a lot of rhythmical pieces, performance points, and left a long-lasting impact.

Her meeting with Michael Flatley, her hero from Irish dance

Urbanek admits she was a bit nervous before hitting the dance stage in Glasgow last month. The audience full of fellow dancers, and the presence of her hero, Michael Flatley, added to her jitters. “I used to be side stage just attempting to focus and never freak out,” she says.

But once the music began, the whole lot else faded away. “I just type of blacked out,” she says. “I used to be portraying a personality. Once the music began, I felt like I wasn’t myself anymore. I used to be Boudica. I used to be the person I used to be portraying. I just zoned out.”

The raucous applause and an ideal rating from the judges were unexpected to Urbanek, however the win is already resulting in latest opportunities, including a tour with the Irish dancing show, A Taste of Ireland, within the Midwest this May.

Urbanek’s profession as a dancer and her future plans

Urbanek, a senior at FGCU, plans to work as a physician’s assistant in pediatric orthopedics and hopes to develop into a dance teacher. She acknowledges that the skilled tour with A Taste of Ireland is a major step in her dance profession and is happy concerning the opportunities it could bring.

For more details about Urbanek and to look at videos of her dancing, seek for @meagan.emilee on YouTube and Instagram.

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