Lily & Willa
Lily & Willa

Harrogate Grammar School Students Dance to Top of the World 

21 October 2022

Harrogate Grammar School students Lily Cowen and Willa Crowton have achieved great success at the recent OPIDF (Open Platform Irish Dance Federation) World Championships 2022 in London.

The year 7 students, who have only been Irish dancing for under two years, started their journey when their dance teacher, who was also their Teaching Assistant at Western Primary school, introduced them to the sport. Both Lily and Willa tried an introductory session at school and immediately enjoyed it. In a short space of time they started to compete.

When asked how they feel before competitions, Lily said she was usually, ‘excited but also a bit nervous.


However, they didn’t let nerves get the better of them at the World Championships, with Lily being crowned World Champion for one of her routines, Primary – Treble Reel and also attaining 8th place, Primary – Solo Championships – Reel & Hop Jig. Willa achieved an impressive 5th place, Novice, – Solo Championships – Reel & Light Jig and 6th place, Novice – Treble Reel.

On being crowned World Champion for one of her competition categories, Lily said:

I really did not expect that result, I was so shocked and happy. It means a lot to me, being crowned World Champion will always be an amazing memory that stays with me.

Their proud dance teacher, Una O’Connor, from St. Aelred’s Irish Dance School, said; ‘it has been an honour to guide them on their journey, playing to individual strengths and leading them to such a high level of success at such a young age.’


Headteacher at Harrogate Grammar School, Neil Renton, said:

We are delighted for Lily and Willa, these are truly remarkable achievements. They have trained hard and it’s fantastic to see their talent recognised.’

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