Junior Chloe Herrmann took advantage of her time studying in Rome in a unique way this past weekend: competing in and winning the Mainland European Irish Dancing Championships in Austria. Competing against representatives from countries across Europe, including Germany, Russia, and Poland, Herrmann’s incredible performance also earned her a coveted qualifying spot for the World Championships in Dublin, which will be held this coming spring.
Herrmann has been Irish dancing for the past 13 years, making it an important aspect of her life. Every year, she has competed in the Mid-Atlantic Oireachtas — one of the Irish dancing regional qualifiers for the World Championships — but sacrificed her latest opportunity in order to study in Rome with Christendom this fall. To her surprise that sacrifice instead opened up a different opportunity for Herrman: the chance to compete as an Italian student in the Mainland European championships.
“Aside from Christendom, Irish Dancing is the biggest part of my life. I’ve been dancing for so long that I couldn’t even imagine giving it up for the few months that I would be in Rome. So, when my dance teacher told me that he had a friend with a dance school in Italy, I jumped at the chance. I contacted them, paid my entry fee, and have been attending weekly practices with them since the beginning of semester. I also live on the ground floor at Christendom’s Residence Balduina, which was extremely providential, since it provides me with my own private patio for daily practices,” said Herrmann, still coming off her excitement at winning the championships.
In between enjoying life in the Eternal City and classwork, Herrmann practiced relentlessly for her new chance at a World Championships qualifier, leading up to this past weekend. With her passport in hand, Herrmann made the short trip to Vienna for the Mainland Championships, taking on other girls in her age group from across Europe. Each prepared for years for such a moment, making the competition fierce for Herrmann. In the end, however, she took her place at the top of the medals podium, victor of the Mainland Championships — an experience she will never forget.
“Dancing in Italy has given me the opportunity to meet so many more people than I ever would have expected. Not only have I made new friends with the Italians at my dance classes, but also I’ve met dancers from all over the world at the competition in Austria. I never imagined that I would ever have a chance like this, and not only did I end up winning, but I also qualified for the World Championships in Dublin this Spring, which is the most amazing feeling. The Rome program’s free weekends couldn’t have gotten any better!” said Herrmann.
During every student’s semester studying in Rome, they have the opportunity to travel on “free weekends” — weekends that do not have any coursework or scheduled tours of Rome. Many take advantage of these weekends to travel to Paris, London, Munich, and other nearby European cities, enriching their experience abroad.
For Herrmann, these free weekends opened up an unexpected, but joyous, opportunity — the chance to use her God-given talents on the stage and wow Europe in the process. In just a few short months, she will next wow the world as well.