Toni O’Shea, a student of the Alison Cronin Dance Academy. Photo credit: Eduardo Martinez
The summer may be only just around the corner but a student of a Clonmel dance academy can’t wait for September to arrive.
That’s when Toni O’Shea will begin a three-year course in performing arts with a teaching diploma at the Morea Performing Arts College in Cheltenham in England.
“I’m very excited about it,” says the 17-year-old from Piltown, a student of the Alison Cronin Dance Academy.
“I would love to make a career from dance.”
Toni secured her scholarship last October following auditions held in Dublin.
She still travels to Dublin once a month to attend classes, in addition to her classes in Clonmel.
The course in Cheltenham will include ballet as well as contemporary dance. Although she only took it up a couple of years ago, contemporary dance is said to be her forte.
The daughter of Joan and John O’Shea, Toni started dancing at Alison Cronin’s studio in Carrick-on-Suir at the age of four. Showing potential from an early age, she soon began to attend more classes in Clonmel.
“Only for the encouragement offered by Alison and her daughter Jessica Stokes, Toni wouldn’t be here today and she wouldn’t be going to England on a scholarship,” says her mother Joan.
Toni is dyslexic, which Joan says was the biggest hurdle she had to overcome. Her mother says that her achievements are an example “for all the girls out there who think they cannot do it.”
Alison Cronin, meanwhile, has paid tribute to Toni’s passion and talent for dance, as well as to Joan and Joan for all their encouragement and support for their daughter.
In Clonmel last month, Toni starred in Prism, a new concept in temporary outdoor performance experiences created by award-winning street spectacle company Spraoi and with a performance devised in and around the Prism by the Alison Cronin Dance Academy, which was her first time performing in two years.
Just before lockdown she took part in Perform, a dance convention in Dublin.
Confirming her status as an all-rounder, Toni is also a member of Kathleen Byrnes’ Piltown Karate Club and has recently earned a black belt in the sport, with the added distinction of achieving the highest number of technical points in the country.
She also competes in Irish dancing and last year finished a very creditable third in her reel at the world championships.
The O’Shea family would be very grateful for any sponsorship or support for Toni’s course in Cheltenham.
The course costs 8,000 pounds sterling a year for each of the three years. On top of that her accommodation and private health insurance also has to be paid for.
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