Love of dancing eases blister pain
He donned his first pair of Irish dancing shoes at age 4 and now 12 years later Harry Bartlett is dancing on the world stage.
The young Aucklander has been training in Boston and is now in Montreal, Canada, for the North American Irish Dance Championships until July 7.
He has been training with his ‘‘idol’’, twice world champion Liam Harney from the Harney Academy of Irish Dance.
‘‘Liam said ‘ steady as she goes’ but there’s been very good progress made in the short time I’ve been here and we are both happy with the way I am dancing.
‘‘My blisters would show I am working pretty hard.’’
Bartlett left New Zealand on June 10 to train with Harney and has been working up to eight hours a day – training in the studio, doing fitness, technique drills and going to the gym every morning.
He isn’t deterred by the workload because he loves dancing.
‘‘It’s just a feeling, like when I am dancing I am another person. It’s part of who I am and something I am so passionate about.’’
Bartlett’s results show his dedication.
He was first in the Australian International Oireachtas Senior 15 Years Boys competition, which was held on the Gold Coast, Australia, from May 30 to June 1.
He was 16th in the World Championships of Irish Dance in London in April, a step up from placing 30th last year.
Bartlett has won both Auckland Regionals and New Zealand Nationals the last seven years in a row.
In 2012 he also won the Traditional Irish Dancing NZ Association Travel Scholarship.
He trains 16 hours a week with the Doyle Academy of Irish Dance in Auckland.
His top goal is to be the first New Zealand male to place in the top three in the world, and to compete on the world stage for as long as possible.
Mum Michele says she is very proud of his achievements.
‘‘As a parent you
just want your kids to find something they enjoy,’’ she says.
‘‘I am so proud of Harry’s achievements. His work ethic, maturity, humble nature and focus on something he loves so much is to be admired.
‘‘It truly is a team effort with his sister Emily his number one supporter,’’ she says.
Bartlett hopes to obtain a high performance scholarship to enable him to study dance overseas, as well as do distance learning in business management through Massey University.
First place: Harry Bartlett after winning the Australian International Oireachtas Senior 15 Years Boys competition.
Working hard: Bartlett trains hard to maintain a high standard of dancing.
Starting early: Bartlett started Irish dancing when he was only 4.