EDC: Ireland – National Final on Friday – finalists revealed…

by Gavin Murray 162 views

RTÉ, the Irish broadcaster, announced that the dance duo to represent Ireland at the Eurovision Dance Contest in Glasgow in September will be selected by the viewing public, by phone vote, from a line-up of four couples on the last Late Late Show of the season � on Friday 30 May, 2008 on RTÉ ONE television.

Ireland: EDC – Irish National Final (Ireland Residents Only) click here!

Last September in the inaugural year of the competition, Ireland competing against fifteen other countries and represented by Celebrity Jigs and Reels winners Nicola Byrne and Mick Donnegan, came third in the competition in London. This year, the EBU has decided that The Eurovision Dance Contest will feature professional dancers partnered by celebrities when this year’s couples take to the stage to represent their countries on September 6th in Glasgow. The event will be broadcast live on RTÉ Television and on the web (Ireland residents only), howevertheprogramme will be available on the shows' website next week here.A live link will appear on this article just before showtime for Ireland residents.

The show will also feature Dima Bilan whose currently on the winners tour for winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2008.

Four couples have been selected by RTÉ and the Irish Dance Sport Federation to potentially represent Ireland and they are:

  • DancerDearbhla Lennon and actor Gavin O’Fearraigh
  • Dancer Susan Ginnety and actor Killian O’Sullivan
  • Dancer Danilo Forte and model Lisa Murphy
  • Dancer Kelly Smith and musician Richard Rock

Each couple will be performing a different type of dance routine from the Cha Cha to Latin Ballroom.A panel of dance experts will give their opinion on each performance then once all four have performed the phone-lines will be opened and the public will be able to vote by phone or text. They will perform live on the last of the current series of The Late Late Show, at 22:30 CET (21:30 localtime)on Friday 30th May.

This year’s Eurovision Dance Contest, to be held in Glasgow on September 6th, will once again feature 16 countries, including; Austria, Denmark , Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and The United Kingdom.

Last year’s top three countries – Finland in first place, followed by the Ukraine in second and Ireland in third – will seek to retain their positions when their dancing couples perform one freestyle number this year, as opposed to the two in the last contest.

EDC - Ireland 2008 ©RTÉ

Above (from Left to Right): Danilo Forte, Lisa Murphy, Richard Rock, Kelly Smith, Gavin O'Fearraigh, Dearbhla Lennon, Susan Ginnety and Killian O'Sullivan.


Gavin O’Fearraigh

Gavin plays the part of Conal Daly, a mischievous barman in TG4’s Ros na Rún. This is his fourth season in Ros na Rún and has also been busy modelling with Catwalk Modelling Agency for such clients as Louis Copeland.

He was the winner of RTÉ’s Celebrity Jigs n’ Reels in 2007 where he danced his way to victory in aid of Debra Ireland, his chosen charity. Previous to working on television he spent most of his time on the stage in his native Donegal. He has also been involved in pantomines in Galway with the Performing Arts School and played the Prince in their production of Sleeping Beauty last Christmas. Previously Gavin played the role of Ruairi O Donaill alongside Stephen Rea in the documentary, Flight of the Earls. He was also involved in a drama road show, which involved scouting for new talent throughout Northern Ireland for the teen drama Seacht. Gavin has recently begun a new Irish college in his home town of Gweedore called An Chead Ghluin Eile, The Next Generation.

Dearbhla Lennon

Celebrity Jigs N' Reels star Dearbhla Lennon began dancing at the tender age of two under the expert tuition of her mother, Móna Ní Rodaigh. Aged just 17, she was invited to join the original cast of Lord of the Dance, where she subsequently performed as principal dancer for over five years.

Some of the highlights of Dearbhla's dancing career include performing on The Academy Awards, performing for Prince Charles at The Royal Gala in The Royal Albert Hall, and of course winning RTÉ’s Celebrity Jigs ‘N' Reels in 2007 with her partner Gavin O'Fearraigh.
Dearbhla is currently working as a roving reporter for RTÉ’s The Afternoon Show and has also recently been involved in an Irish language series for TG4 where she learned to play the concertina!
Dearbhla is very much looking forward to taking on a new challenge and opening up her dance experience to include the intricacies of ballroom and Latin dancing!

Lisa Murphy

Lisa Murphy is a well known model from Ballinteer in Co. Dublin and also works as a beauty journalist with RSVP magazine. Lisa is also heavily involved in charity work and last year she travelled to Uganda with the charity, Zest 4 Kids. She is also heavily involved in raising funds for Scoil Triest, a school in Cork for autistic children.

Lisa got involved in this project as it seemed like an exciting challenge and she hasn’t been disappointed. In any walk of life it’s a tremendous honour to represent your country and she is very proud to be doing so.

Danilo Forte

Danilo has dancing since the tender age of 5 and began competing at the age of 13. He has specialised in Latin style dancing and over the years has trained with many of the great Latin American coaches in the world. He has represented Ireland on many occasions in countries including Russia, USA, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Latvia, Denmark, Holland, England and Germany.
Danilo and his dancing partner were Ireland’s top couple in the under-16 category and Ireland’s top Latin couple in the over-16 category for many years.
He has been teaching for almost two years months and trained three of the finalists in the All-Ireland Championships in 2007. He has have been a member of the IDSF since he started competing at the age of 13. At the moment he is working as a part-time competitive dance teacher and also part-time in his family business.
As you can tell by Danilo’s name he is Italian origin, however he was born in Ireland and has lived here all his life. He recently took part in the Lets Dance pilot show.

Richard Rock

Richard Rock is the son of Irish entertainment legend Dickie Rock. Richard was a founding member of Boyzone but left to pursue other things in 1994. In 1997 he took the lead in the Olympia's pantomine Rockinson Crusoe alongside Twink and Dustin. It became the best selling show at the Olympia for 20 years!

More recently Richard has been touring the country with the show DanceHall Q's and Hucklebuck Shoes, a nostalgic look back at the show-band scene.
Away from that side of the entertainment business Richard is a club DJ and producer, having held residencies in many of Dublins finest nightclubs over the years including U2's The Kitchen and The System. Currently he is working on electronic music for this summer’s Life Festival with his production partner Warren Kiernan, under the name Lectrosoul. He is also involved in The Kings Of Concrete urban sports festival which is on every year in Dublin’s Wood Quay.
Richard is delighted to be involved in this year’s Eurovision Dance Contest, and jumped at the chance to be involved. He said: “It’ll be nice to make amends for my Boyzone appearance on The Late Late Show in 1993 when the dancing was of questionable quality!!”

Kelly Smith

Kelly has been dancing since the age of four. She comes from a very strong family dance background and trained under her mother Elizabeth Smyth.

Kelly has won numerous titles over a competitive career that has spanned 17 years both nationally and internationally, including Republic of Ireland Champion, Irish Open Champion, Blackpool finalist, Northwest England champion and has represented Ireland successfully on an international scale.

She began teaching, coaching and choreographing eight yearsago, and her students have won the All Ireland 10 Dance Championships, Republic of Ireland Latin Championships, Irish Open Latin Championships, Diamond Jubilee Latin Championships, All Ireland Youth and Amateur Latin Championships.

Most recently one of her couples got invited to, and represented Ireland in the World Amateur Latin Championships last February and The European Amateur Latin Championships in May of this year.

Kelly is currently working for The Fishamble Theatre Company and is setting up her own company, DANCECRAFT, at the moment.

Killian O’Sullivan

Killian spent eight years playing the much loved character, Lorcan Foley, in RTÉ’s Fair City. He was the winner of RTÉ’s first Celebrity Jigs ‘N’ Reels programme in 2006 and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. As well as learning a new skill, he reached a level of fitness he previously thought he could never achieve. He and his dance partner at the time, Nicola Byrne, had the added satisfaction of being in a position to hand over a large cheque to Our Lady's Children's Hospital as a result of their efforts on the programme.

Since moving on from Fair City, Killian, while still pursuing an acting career, has recently moved into radio. He also works as a professional DJ. If chosen to represent Ireland in this competition, Killian would not only be extremely proud of the honour but will guarantee to give 100% commitment, along with his partner Susan, to representing their country to the best of their ability. It would be something of which he could proudly boast to his grandchildren about in years to come!

Susan Ginnety

Susan Ginnety has been dancing since the age of six following a long family tradition dating back to her great grandmother. Susan has studied with the renowned O'Shea's School of Irish Dance. Competing from that early age, she now holds Dublin, Leinster, All Ireland and World championship titles.

At the age of 16, Susan performed in the interval act of the 1994 Eurovision competition, which spawned the world-wide phenomenon, Riverdance. As the phenomenon took to the world so did Susan as she toured extensively throughout 26 countries and four continents as principal lead dancer. Susan was dance-captain throughout her touring, keeping performers in shape, in-line and as professional as they could possibly be.
Throughout her time in Riverdance Susan has performed to numerous Presidents and Royalty including President Mary McAleese, President Bill Clinton and the Queen of England. She has also performed at major award ceremonies including The Grammy Awards and The Kennedy Honors, and on television shows such as David Letterman, Good Morning America and of course, The Late Late Show.
Susan celebrated her ten year anniversary and retirement from Riverdance in Radio City Music Hall in New York on St. Patrick’s Day, 2005.

EDC - Ireland 2008 ©RTÉ

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