Somerset’s Reigning Dancing Queen


Ava Goren, Staff Writer

 Sixth grader Calliandra (Callie) Grzybek earned 3rd place in the 11-12 year old division in last year’s North American Irish Dancing Competition. The competition was held in Montreal, Canada in July of 2022 and lasted five days. 

  Irish dancing has its origins in Celtic and Druid culture. Before Ireland was colonized, these native peoples expressed their spiritual beliefs through the art of dancing. One common arrangement of the time was people surrounding trees or other people and dancing in a circular fashion. These traditional dances combined with traditional Norman pieces created a unique style of dancing that we now know as “Irish Dancing”.

   “Callie” Grzybek is a seasoned Irish Dancer who has been practicing this art-form for seven years now. It is a time-consuming commitment that takes up her week-day afternoons and Sundays. “It’s difficult to hang out with friends because classes are mandatory to stay a champ.” Callie informs me. And indeed, that is exactly what Callie is. She says her 3rd place reveal at last year’s continental competition was really pressuring, but exciting too. “[I felt] lots of pressure to stay on the podium.” Calle explains.


    Callie’s success at last year’s tournament has only added to her momentum. Callie says her future dancing goals include “…[Dancing her] best in every competition and winning first place at the World level.” 

   Callie’s favorite Irish Dance move is called the “Bird”. According to Callie, it is when her back foot moves up and back while the other leg is lifted up towards the sky. Irish Dancing is a distinctive dance form that requires a certain character to be incorporated into each move. “You have to have stamina, a lot of stamina” Callie continues, “and [you] have to move your feet really fast. Core strength is also a big part of it.” 

   “[When I dance], I feel happy and like there’s a weight off my shoulders.” Callie expresses. She is currently practicing for the International Irish Dancing competition that is being held over Spring Break in the same venue as the North American competition.