Saija started Irish dance in Turku in autumn 2007. Heini Pollari, Anu Rekimies and Therese Rooney are some of the teachers she has had during the years. In addition, she has taken part in various Irish dance courses in Finland and abroad with teachers such as Ronan McCormack (ADCRG, Riverdance), Dr. Breandán de Gallaí (Riverdance, Noctú) and Zara Curtis (TCRG, Riverdance). Since January 2015 her teacher has been Tereza Bernardová (TCRG).
The first experience in competitive Irish dance for Saija was Nordic feis in Stockholm in 2011 with the result of two third placements. Since then she has taken part in many competitions both in solo and ceili dancing, in the Nordic countries and around Europe. Despite the later first and second placements in various Nordic feiseanna, she considers her best achievement the 2nd place in traditional set dance category in Mainland Europe Feis in 2013. The most memorable events are from springs 2014 and 2018 when she participated in Worlds in London and Glasgow as one of the dancers in Turku ceili team.
Saija has been active in a Turku based Irish dance association Dragún Irish Dancers ry since summer 2011. With Dragún she has been in several performances, the biggest one being a show by Dragún ”Vihreä saari – matka irlantilaisen tanssin maailmaan” (The Emerald Island – a journey into the world of Irish dance) in Turku in November 2013. Saija has taught Irish dance already in 2009-2011 in Sastamala adult education and in Dragún she has been teaching in various courses like beginners and ceili classes since 2012.
In addition to Irish dance Saija has another loosely Irish dance related hobby, namely, to construct her own violin, since January 2011. At the moment this project is on hold, but if that project is someday completed, the next challenge will be to learn to play it as well!
When Laura tried out Irish dancing for the first time in 2012, she immediately knew there was no return. Since her childhood she has been doing different dance styles from ballet to jazz dance. However, little by little Irish dancing superseded everything else, including any additional free time. Laura was attracted by the discipline of the dance and the possibility to outdo herself in every single practice. In the end the elegance of the dance fascinated her; even though the hands don’t move, she felt she was able to diversely express herself through the dance.
Earlier Laura’s teacher in Finland has been Therese Rooney (TCRG) and now she is practicing with Tereza Berdanová (TCRG) in InSpiral Dance Company. In addition, Laura has gained a lot of experience from abroad by dancing in different schools. In 2016 Laura danced under London school Maguire O’Shea with Deirdre and Michael Maguire (TCRG) as her teachers. In 2017 Laura danced under Elaine Kavanagh (ADCRG) in Dublin. During her time abroad, she has had the change to practice with some of the best dancers in the world, which has been an eye-opening experience.
Laura has been competing regularly from the very beginning of her Irish dancing career, reaching Open level in only a few years. The biggest achievements in her career have been 1st place in Nordic Feis (2015), 1st place in Ramstein Feis (2016), 2nd place in Mainland Europe Championships (2016), 12th place in Irish Nationals (2017) and 1st place in Helsinki Feis (2017). Laura was also the first Finnish solo dancer to compete in the over 21-year-olds category in the World Irish Dancing Championships (2017). Besides competing Laura has been an active member of Dragún Irish Dancers association based in Turku. That has given her experience in teaching as well as in performing.
After returning to Finland Laura wants to pass on all the experience she has gained during her time abroad so that everyone would be able to outdo themselves and achieve their dreams. Laura wants to foster the joy of dancing in every class and encourage her students to give all they have got. There is no shortcut to success but hard work, positive attitude and strong team spirit will bring you far.
Laura will come to Turku to give the intermediate level classes.