I’m A Tulsa Kid: Irish Dancer Ellie McKinney
Tulsa Kid, Ellie McKinney, stands out in the Irish dance world and it’s taking her across the globe for various competitions.
Work hard and persevere is the name of the game for Ellie McKinney. Ellie has been taking the Irish dance world by storm and has become a real stand-out in competitions. With the help of mentor, dear friend and teacher KT Goode, Ellie has been able to achieve and surpass any goal she sets her mind to, all while being a student and traveling the world.
TK: Who is Ellie?
TK: Irish dancing! How did you get into Irish dancing?
Ellie: When I was young, we went to Silver Dollar City where I saw some Irish dancers. I told my mom I wanted to do that. I asked for three years if I could start dancing.
TK: How old were you when you started Irish dancing?
Ellie: I was 7 when I started at the Goode Academy.
TK: What exactly is Irish dancing?
Ellie: Irish dancing is considered traditional dancing based out of Ireland. One of the things about Irish dance that is unique is that they don’t use their arms when they dance. They keep their arms straight down at their sides. Most people recognize Irish dance from the popular shows like Riverdance and Lord of the Dance and a lot of people know who [Irish dancer] Michael Flatley is.
TK: What is your favorite thing about Irish dancing?
Ellie: I love the competition part of it! Competitions have given me the opportunity to travel a lot as well, from all over the US and Canada and now Ireland. I also just started teaching Irish dancing to the little kids at the Goode Academy.
TK: How many competitions have you been in?
Ellie: A lot! My first competition was maybe when I was 10. They were just small competitions called Feisanna. A year later I danced at my first major competition, which is regionals but also called Oireachtas. Oireachtas is Gaelic for championship. I didn’t qualify for nationals that year but I did the year after that. I have qualified for nationals four times. And this year I qualified for the world championship in Dublin, Ireland!
TK: Tell me about the World Championships.
Ellie: Its coming up in April, and it’s the biggest competition! It’s the best of the best from around the world.
TK: What advice do you have for other aspiring dancers, young and old?
Ellie: It takes a lot of hard world but it is so worth it!
TK: How do you balance school, dance, a social life and preparing for competitions?
Ellie: We have made a schedule so I know where I have to be morning, afternoon and night. I practice dancing every day approximately 2 -3 hours. It takes a lot of communication and sacrifices. I have to give up a lot of stuff, but it’s worth it.
Fun Fact: I will be spending my 16th birthday in Dublin, Ireland.