John Nolan looks for Limerick backing to make it to this year’s final of Dancing With The Stars
HE started out doing Irish dancing but now John Nolan, who has West Limerick roots, is dancing with the stars.
And this year, he has high hopes that he and his Dancing With The Stars (DWTS) partner broadcasting star Máiréad Ronan will be picking up the ultimate prize, the Glittery Ball.
The duo secured their place in the semi-final with a strong and passionate performance of the Pasa Doble on Sunday night. And this week, John, has called on everybody in Limerick to tune in for next Sunday’s programme and to text 53125 to help secure their place in the final.
John, a professional dancer and dance teacher, has taken part in all three seasons of DWTS, partnering RTE’s Theresa Mannion the first year before making it to the final last year with actor Deirdre O’Kane.
“This year has been my favourite season so far of the three,” John told the Limerick Leader. And he is absolutely convinced that Máiréad, who took her first dance steps with him last December, has what it takes to win.
“She has never danced a day in her life. This is totally outside her comfort zone but she is unbelievable,” he said. “She is such a hard worker, such a dedicated person in every aspect of her life.”
Máiread, he continued, is training for up to 10 hours with him every day, then going home to her husband and three children and building a new house at the same time. “I don’t know how she does it.”
But Máiréad has also praised her dancing partner, saying he has made the experience a family friendly one for her, starting early so she can be home for the children in the afternoon.
“We had a good start but then the last three weeks were a little shaky. But Sunday night has got us back up there. We are in the top half of the leader board which is where you want to be going into a semi-final.”.
What is certain is that John’s Limerick relations, his aunt Mary Ann Trant and uncle Denis Trant, will be watching the programme as of course will his mother Joan Trant who moved to Kilkenny as a young woman where she married John Nolan Senior.
John has warm memories of summer holidays in Ballyhahill, of playing pool in Curtins and drinking bottles of Nash’s lemonade. Even more recently, on a visit to his relations, they all turned up for a social in the local hall where John took to the dancefloor.
“When I was three I started Irish dancing and then set-dancing,” John said, explaining the background to his career choice. But then, when he was just six years old, a neighbour brought him to a ballroom dancing class. “I took to the floor and kept going ever since,” he laughed. The set-dancing and the hurling went out the window.
“It is hard on the body,” he acknowledged. “But it doesn’t feel like going to work. I feel blessed.” For a number of years, John took part in competitions himself but now his main work is as a teacher with the Exquisite Dance school in Dublin and also as an adjudicator and choreographer.
DWTS has added to his CV and given him even more exposure.