Laura O’Dwyer, Cappamore; Lorraine Hastings, international examiner; Maura Ryan, Cappamore; Ashling Hughes, Corbally
DOWN Syndrome Ireland promotes a message of inclusivity, ability and beauty and Maura Ryan could be their poster girl.
The 27-year-old’s moves went viral on social media last year after she danced on stage with Imelda May at a concert in Killarney.
And while the Cappamore lady received plaudits from the crowd that night, her dance moves have now been officially recognised.
Maura, a student at the Dance Academy in Castletroy, successfully passed her two minute tap dancing solo exam in front of Lorraine Hastings, examiner from the International Dance Teachers Association.
Maura is pictured with Ms Hastings, Laura O’Dwyer, also Cappamore, and Ashling Hughes, Corbally, who were taking the third module in their ballet teacher exams.
Maura will receive a medal for her talents. Afterwards, a thrilled Maura paraphrased the words of Barack Obama, “Yes I can”.
Her sister Caitriona and mum Mary said they were delighted that Maura achieved this and it was a “very happy day”.
Caitriona describes Maura’s teacher at the Dance Academy, Stacey Booth, as a “shining light in Maura’s life” and “an inspirational woman”.
“From a teaching viewpoint she has made huge progress. She has a more of a sense of herself and a pride in what she is doing - she has studied ballet, jazz and tap dancing.
“For the examiner she did a solo tap dance plus a few little additions of her own which were lovely. She is great fun and we have great fun together. In the dancing school we always try to make sure that all the students get a chance to express their talents.
“For example, the other two girls in the photo are becoming ballet teachers. We try to get everybody involved at whatever level is best suited to them,” said Stacey.
But there will be no rest for Stacey or any of her proteges as the next big project is coming up fast.
“In November, we are putting on Peter Pan in the University Concert Hall with full costumes,” said Stacey.
And Maura can’t wait to get back on stage and strut her stuff like she did with Imelda May.