Meet IDM's top 14 men of 2017 and read their coplete stories in the December 2017 issue of IDM!
MOST INSPIRATIONAL - Jamie Hodges: Jamie Hodges understands the idea of giving back to society more than any Irish Dancer we have encountered. At any point in time you may find Jamie taking on a major project to help others. In September of 2017, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, raising £3000 for the charity Dig Deep which provides clean water and sanitation in the poorest regions of Kenya. Recently he performed in Kazakhstan whilst working on a project detailing the background of Irish dance in the region. Jamie understands the personal and emotional rewards of such trips and for him that is what drives him to get up and live every day to its fullest. But perhaps his biggest contribution to date is the extremely effective Create Not Hate social media campaign that he launched with Fusion Fighter’s Chris Naish in February of 2017. Create Not Hate videos have had hundreds of thousands of views and have made a positive difference to many charities all over the world.
MOST CREATIVE - Thommy Wilson: Melbourne Academy's Thommy Wilson has had a banner year competitively, a result of focusing his abundant energy on his dancing. His highlight "reel" for 2017 includes performing in the opening ceremony for the 50th Anniversary of the Australian Nationals, traveling to New Zealand to take his first dance workshop, winning the All Scotland’s, and coming second at the North American Nationals!
BEST ROLE MODEL - Aaron Wolf: A top student in his Pennsylvania high school, Aaron graduated this past May in the top five percent in a class of close to six hundred students. The recipient of a music and academic scholarship, he is currently a freshman at DePaul University in Chicago. This multi-talented musician and dancer tells IDM, "Starting at the age of four, I never thought that it would be my niche, my purpose as an artist, dancing a traditional form on a such a competitive level. However, I absolutely fell in love with all of it: competition, travel, wins, and losses."
BREAKOUT STAR - Luis Ignacio Sanchez: A native of Mexico, Luis had his first "aha" moment at thirteen, when he attended Lord ofthe Dance in Las Vegas with his grandmother. This experience was to start him on an astounding journey of perseverance in pursuit of excellence in Irish dance which shows no signs of slowing down! "I could not close my eyes for a second since the moment the little spirit walked on stage to the very end of the show. After I graduated from high school, I decided to move to Ireland. I was eighteen years old when I took my first Irish dancing lesson in the basement of an old Georgian building on the iconic North Great George St in Dublin, Ireland. That’s where Inis Ealga was located and it was run under the direction of Aoibhinn ni Miolaideigh."
MOST DEDICATED - Jack Quinn: Jack Quinn is one of the most successful competition dancers in the Irish dance world; with seven consecutive World titles under belt, it’s refreshing to know that he doesn’t take anything for granted. ͞It’s often said that you’ll never forget your first love. I certainly have not, and that just so happens to be true because my first love was definitely dancing. I can honestly say that Irish dance has shaped my life and opened up an infinite number of doors for me. Dancing provides me with a great sense of fulfilment which can often be very difficult to come by."