The Girl Who Jumped And Touched the Stars


Ava Goren

Somerset’s Irish dancing star has struck gold again! Sixth grader Callie Gryzbeck won first place twice at last weekend’s open championship in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. An “open championship” is the most prestigious and difficult regular competition a dancer can compete in. Callie won gold both days and as she describes it, her win on the first day boosted her confidence for the second day when she demonstrated an improved performance.


Dedicated Irish dancers came from all over to compete in the Open Championship in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but in the end Callie took the gold. Still, good sportsmanship is put into practice here. “Everyone’s nice. We say ‘congrats’ when another person wins.”


“No one’s style of dance is the same.” Callie said. She explained that it’s hard to pinpoint why she won. “I think most soft-shoe girls have to be good at jumps, and of course, mine [her go-to jump] is the bird.” Besides this, Callie believes her turn-out, stage presence, clean stance, and no lack of smiling may have been part of it.


Her performance was a graceful ode to a plethora of songs. In total, she competed in three rounds each day. For the first round, the music she danced to was a “Reel” made of different versions of pop songs mixed to the same speed. Then, she danced to Pipe music for the second round, and the third round was set to “Drunken Gadger” a song any seasoned Irish Dancer would recognize.


As an already experienced Irish Dancer who’s only in the sixth grade, the pressure is on. However, Callie declares that she’s learned not to let it affect her that much. . “[I’ve improved because I realized] I should just go out, try my best, and have fun. I went into last weekend’s competition with this mentality and, well, I won! I guess it worked!”


Callie’s looking forward to competing at the Irish Dancing World competition in Montreal, Canada next. Let’s wish her luck!