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RAID in the News


PHOENIX, ARIZONA: Eleven-year-old Linden Gawronski of Penfield, NY won CLRG United States National Irish Dance Championships on July 10, 2021. Linden, who dances with the Rochester Academy of Irish Dance in Penfield, travelled to Phoenix with twenty-eight other champion level dancers from Rochester Academy for the annual National Championships this past week. After three rounds of competition with over 88 other eleven-year-olds, Linden became Rochester’s first National Irish Dance Champion. “Linden is a dedicated and hardworking student,” said Rochester Academy co-owner and teacher Rachel Burke. “We are extremely proud of her accomplishment.” Linden is not only a talented dancer but a gracious teammate and friend. During the Nationals award ceremony Linden congratulated all of the other dancers.  Her Rochester Academy teammates note that at practices she is the first to offer words of encouragement during difficult drills. Linden just complete 5th grade at St. Joseph School in Penfield and is the daughter of Kelly and Tim Gawronski.  She will represent Rochester and the United States at the upcoming 2022 Irish Dance World Championships in Belfast, Ireland with Rochester’s other world qualified dancers, Annabelle McGinnity, Ava Gaudieri, Carly Hoy, Cassie Lang, Maggie Broomfield, Nate Lynch, Payge Merritt, and Sophie Grey.

March 14th, 2019-Fox Rochester

March 14th, 2019-13 WHAM

Rochester, N.Y. - Some Irish dancers from our area will be competing on a global stage in a few weeks.


Twenty-two dancers from the Rochester Academy of Irish Dance will be in Greensboro, North Carolina in April for the Irish Dance World Championships.

Some of the boys and girls that are going have been dancing since they were four or five years old. They practice up to five hours a day, six days a week.


"It's a lot of, not only just dancing and going to class, but also cross-training out of class," said dancer Sophie Gray. "My whole family does Crossfit, so I would do that to get in shape for dance."

"It is a lot of work...but in the end, it is completely worth it, and I love the fact I have something I'm so passionate about to put that work into," said dancer Carly Hoy.

Only the top 15-20 dancers from previous qualifying competitions make it to the world championships.

13WHAM's Ashley Doerzbacher spent the morning with the dancers on Good Day Rochester. You can watch all of Thursday's segments here.

Local Irish Dancer to Dance to Join Trinity Irish Dance Company-Press Release

Rochester, NY- Abi Graham-Luke, a senior at Pittsford-Mendon high school, is joining the cast of the world-
renowned Trinity Irish Dance Company. Graham-Luke’s Irish dancing journey began at age six when she saw Riverdance for the first time. She fell in love with the rhythms and intricate steps she saw on stage and soon enrolled in the Rochester Academy of Irish Dance. Graham-Luke’s hard work and love of dance has allowed her to enjoy a very successful competitive career competing at the highest level of Irish dance. She has qualified for the World Championships five times and has placed highly at national and regional competitions. Graham-Luke credits her teachers at
Rochester Academy for preparing her to dance professionally, “besides all of the
stamina practice, drill-work, and techniques that Kathleen, Rachel, and Paula have
enforced throughout the years, they have also constantly reminded me to emphasize my individual style—what makes my dancing unique.” Graham-Luke always dreamed of joining a professional company one day and was
drawn to audition for Trinity because of their artistic vision. “The pieces they create are stunning; each is its own artistic masterpiece, built upon a singular idea or rhythm or beat. No process is the same, and there is a constant flow of creative ideas and visions from company members. They are some of the most amazing
people,” shares Graham-Luke. She created an impressive audition video that caught the eye of artistic director Mark Howard. On January 12th Graham-Luke traveled to Chicago, the home location of the company, to audition with the cast. At the end of the audition she was about to leave when Howard congratulated her and welcomed her to the company. “I was caught completely off-guard,” remembers Graham-Luke. “I’m pretty sure I blacked out for a second. I was definitely in complete shock and overwhelmed with happiness”. Trinity’s tour
schedule will also allow her to fulfill another dream of pursuing a college degree as a full-time student. “The entire RAID family has encouraged me to pursue my passion. I am so incredibly thankful for their endless amount of support and love. I am so excited to become part of the Trinity Irish Dance Company.”

To watch Abi’s audition video please visit:
To learn more about the Trinity Irish Dance Company please visit:

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