While most people are preparing for St. Patrick's Day by buying shamrock decorations and planning their holiday activities, Tatiana O'Hanlon, 14, of Ashby, is doing more. Much more. She's practicing her dancing for hours every day, training for Cumann Rince dea Mheasa's (an Irish Dance organization) World Championships in Kilkenny on May 4-5.

"It's a lot of hard work," explains Tatiana. "I have to stretch daily, do conditioning, run on a treadmill and perfect my dances for the Worlds. It's been extra work for me because an injury kept me from dancing for six months. I started dancing again in January, so I don't have a lot of time to get up to speed. And I have to keep up my grades, so I don't have much free time these days." Tatiana is a student at Hawthorne Brook Middle School in Townsend.

Tatiana competed in CRDM's All Ireland Championships last June, winning fifth in the preliminary competition and 19th in the Open Champion competition.

Along with competing, Tatiana performs with her dance school, the Flying Irish. Performances happen all year round, although March is the busiest season for performances.

"Irish dance is so much fun! It requires work, but it's easy to see why Irish dance is so popular these days. The dancing is so athletic and the music is so great it's impossible to sit still when listening to it. Anyone not doing Irish dance is missing out!" Tatiana says.

To see Tatiana and the Flying Irish in performance, visit