Tuesday, July 27, 2021

In 2020, An Chomhdháil prepared to celebrate its 50th year. The first Executive meeting, held on 18th January 2020, took place in the Mansion House in Dublin. In attendance, were the Mayor of Dublin, Paul McAuliffe, our sponsors INEC Arena and Gleneagle Hotel, and Executive delegates. Each founder member in attendance received a commemorative medal. (Watch Video)

During the meeting, An Chomhdháil launched the Be Kind campaign for 2020. The rationale behind this was to shape our world of Irish dancing in a positive and supportive way. In today’s world, negativity seems to exist in all walks of life and with the rise of use of online social media platforms, children and young people can sometimes be subjected to more negativity than ever before. As a result, it is important that An Chomhdháil not only promotes Irish dancing but encourages and inspires everyone involved in An Chomhdháil to be positive and kind people. Each month a theme was promoted around the topic of 'Be Kind' on the An Chomhdháil social media outlets and weekly posts focused on our monthly theme.

The campaign was very well received with classes getting involved on their own social media pages, feis organisers promoting the campaigns at their events and celebrities also got involved.

#BeKindin2020 #BeKindAlways (Watch Video)

At the World Championships in 2020, some special events were planned to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of An Chomhdháil - a Golden Jubilee Ceili and Disco had been planned for dancers, a mass for all of our members from the previous 50 years who had passed away and a Golden Jubilee ball for members. An art competition had been launched at the World Championships in 2019 for entrants to design the front cover of the program for the 2020 event and this was sponsored by Hooper Dolan Insurances. The overall winner was Tiernan Caulfield from the Nolan School, Newry, who received €500 and his winning design becoming our front cover for the next World Championships. Ten runners up also received €50 each.

Unfortunately, like many events in 2020, none of the above took place due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The World Championships, due to commence on 4th April were postponed on 12th March. The world went into lockdown, physical classes and feisanna became memories and classes became virtual. A few weeks later, when the World Championships were due to take place, An Chomhdháil launched the Virtual World Championships 2020, the first and only event of its kind in the Irish dancing world.

What started as a small idea with a daily activity each day for the 8 days the World Championships were due to take place developed into a huge 8-day event with thousands of people watching from across the globe on our Facebook page. We had many sponsors and as a result were able to give away numerous prizes for the various competitions held throughout the week. On day 1, the usual opening ceremony took place and each day, one of the musicians due to play at the championships played a live practice set for dancers. Stall holders ran wig and make-up tutorials, and some members ran fitness and injury advice classes. The ‘world championships’ throughout the week included colouring, set dance quiz, funniest photo, guess the teacher, writing, share your best tips to survive during isolation and to end the week, an Invention Freestyle competition. Memories from the first World Championships were shared, as well as the video shown above including our founder members. The planned Golden Jubilee Disco and Members event both went virtual as well and our closing ceremony included many celebrities who had heard about the event. The Virtual World Championships ended with dancers sending in videos of them dancing to Somewhere Over the Rainbow and this created a ‘Dance of Applause’ video in support of frontline workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Throughout 2020, Golden Jubilee celebrations were still on hold as the pandemic continued. On 5th December 2020, An Chomhdháil held the Christmas Cracker charity event on their Facebook page. This consisted of various events which dancers could enter, and during the course of the day, An Chomhdháil gave away cash spot prizes totalling €1,000. The event was charitable to link in with our Be Kind campaign and Make-A-Wish Foundation was chosen as the charity for the event. Throughout the day, dancers, parents and members donated to the cause and as a result, An Chomhdháil was able to donate almost €5,000 to Make-A-Wish! On the evening of the Christmas Cracker event, a members reception was held online and a presentation was made to Ms Carol Carberry, Chairperson of the day but also a founder member of An Chomhdháil, for all of her hard work and dedication to the organisation over the past 50 years.