Music in Motion student by day, world renowned Irish dancer by night

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Caleb Grignon will soon be leaving for Irish dancing regionals in Chicago

Caleb Grignon will soon be leaving for Irish dancing regionals in Chicago

Courtesy of Caleb Grignon

Courtesy of Caleb Grignon

Caleb Grignon will soon be leaving for Irish dancing regionals in Chicago

Julia Schwartz, J1 student

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Ranked number two in the region, number seven in the nation and number ten in the world, Solon High School senior Caleb Grignon is taking the Irish dance scene by storm.

“I just love the feeling of showing people different types of dancing styles,” he says. “It’s really cool to get up on stage, that amazing feeling you have when you are going all over the stage and jumping all over the place.”

Grignon has been Irish dancing ever since his original dance studio started offering the program eight years ago. Since this monumental event eight years ago, he has been dancing at a new studio, Brady-Campbell Irish Dance School located in Avon Lake, ever since.

“I’ve seen [Caleb] start at not knowing how to Irish dance and move himself all the way up to being ranked in the world,” said dance teacher Patrick Campbell. “If you are not talented there is no way that happens.”

Whether it’s taking a Chinese class, teaching himself how to do a backflip from a YouTube video or beatboxing any rhythm when asked, Grignon sets his mind to the task at hand.

“He works so hard, you just give him a task and he put his effort in 100 percent,” Campbell said.

While focusing his efforts on Irish dancing, Grignon also participates in the competing SHS show choir, Music in Motion. He has been both a singer and dancer in the award-winning group since his freshman year at SHS. His work ethic and dance experience is evident in those around him, especially his skilled peers in MIM.

“He has a lot more experience in dance than anybody else in the group,” said fellow MIM member and junior Jeremiah Egolf. “The way he was brought up to do Irish dancing gives him a different predisposition to knowing how to dance than everyone else.”

While expressing his talents, Grignon also offers knowledge that most people don’t have. He knows a lot about Irish culture and dancing styles through the time he spends perfecting his craft.  This is a unique thing that not many people can say for themselves, said Egolf. However, Irish dancing has rewarded Grignon with more than just medals, skills and knowledge. It has also developed him as a person.

“It’s definitely given me a lot more confidence,” says Grignon. “It’s also taught me a lot of determination because you have to be dedicated to this to be at a high level of performance. I’ve been really trying to keep that dedication and determination going forward.”

This confidence follows him on stage when he performs for an audience and gets an obvious response from the crowd.

“It’s just a great feeling when you get that encouragement from the audience,” says Grignon. “You can tell when someone likes you, they will clap pretty loud for you.”

In less than two weeks, Grignon will be leaving for Oireachtas, regionals, in Chicago.  This is a major competition which consists of three dancing rounds.  The first two rounds consist of a hard shoe dance and a soft shoe dance being done in front of the judges. The hard shoe, a heavier shoe made of fiberglass, could be one of three styles of dance including; hornpipe, treble jig, and set. The soft shoe, a lighter shoe made of black leather, could be a reel, light jig or slip jig dance style.

After judging, the dancer could be asked to perform again, known as a recall, moving the dancer into the top half of the competition. This would be another hard shoe dance performed in front of the judges. Only in the recall round can the dancer advance to the awards ceremony.

“I am really hoping to win regionals this year,” said Grignon. “ I know I can beat the competition because I have done it before. I have been really practicing as hard as I can to get there.”

Recently, in practice the dancers have been doing exercises to build up strength for regionals. These practices, lasting one to three hours, consist of varying types of exercises that will focus on building a specific skill, such as working on stamina for regionals..

Grignon has an immense amount of support as regionals approaches. He is coming off an amazing competition year that creates high hopes for him from himself and others.

“We are hoping that he wins this,” said Campbell. “We hope that he comes away standing on top of that podium, being our first ever Mid-American champion.”

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