DORSET'S only Irish dance academy has made history as its members have qualified for the Irish dancing World Championships.

O’Leary’s Academy of Irish Dancing, based in Bournemouth, has seen 11 of its dancers qualify for the championships, which is the first time that any team from Dorset has qualified.

The youngest dancer from the academy to be heading for the championships, which will take place in Dublin in April, is aged just nine.

Bournemouth Echo:

Principal teacher at the O’Leary Academy of Irish Dancing, Kate O’Leary, said: “As a dance teacher I am so proud of my dancers & the unbelievable hard work and dedication they have put in to qualifying and putting Bournemouth on the map at the Irish dancing world championships this year.”

The academy is the only qualified Irish dance academy in Dorset, and it has dancers of all ages and abilities. It holds classes in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Ferndown, open to anyone over the age of four.

The academy was founded in May 2018, and has expanded from seven dancers to more than 60, with more than half competing regionally, nationally and internationally.