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Student Spotlight: Mary and Terrence Gorman

Writer / Peyton Gigante
Photography Provided

irish danceSiblings Mary and Terrence Gorman are hard-working, driven and talented kids. One of their unique talents lies in competitive Irish dance.

Mary, an eighth-grader, and Terrence, a sixth-grader, were introduced to the highly demanding style of dance by a family friend who soon became their coach.

“One of our teachers, Ms. Liz, is a friend of the family, and we heard about her dancing and I thought it would be cool,” Mary says. “She took me to the studio in Tipton and it was a lot of fun.”

Both have been dancing since they were each in the first grade, Terrence following in Mary’s footsteps when he reached that age. Though Terrence started dancing to be competitive with his older sister, he fell in love with it, just like Mary.

The Gorman kids dance for The Richens/Timm Academy of Irish Dance in Tipton, one of their six locations.

Mary and Terrence have both qualified to compete at the preliminary champion level, which is one step below the highest, open champion.

“They take lessons three times a week,” their mother Catherine says.irish dance

They both try to get in an hour of dance per day.

With different kinds and variations of dances included in the sport, Mary and Terrence have their fair share of accolades between them.

Though there is only one Irish dance competition in Indianapolis, the activity has allowed the family to travel all over the Midwest.

“I qualified for my solo dress at the St. Louis Feis, and that was a really big accomplishment for me,” Mary says.

The term “feis” refers to an Irish dance competition.

In 2020 Terrence also achieved a milestone. He competed as a soloist at the Oireachtas event in Indianapolis.

“I didn’t exactly get the position I wanted but I’m still happy that I got to dance this year, especially with COVID,” he says.

The Oireachtas is held annually, and it is a significant feis event.

“That’s where you qualify for nationals, and ultimately one day, if you’re hopeful, for the world championships,” Catherine says.

The two have been dancing since a rather young age, and they are passionate. Because of all the travel, both kids have made friends all over the Midwest.

“You’re learning steps along with amazing people who you are fortunate and thankful to call your friends,” Mary says. “Working hard for an award feels so successful.”

The siblings have high aspirations and are wise beyond their years. The lessons they have learned do not only apply to dance.

“It’s taught me resilience and how to take the not-good results humbly,” Mary says.

Terrence says the endeavor has taught him to lower his expectations.

“Don’t expect a certain result,” he says. “At my first Oireachtas in 2019, I thought I would be top 10, and I ended up getting nineteenth. I was devastated, but I thought to myself, ‘Next year.’”  irish dance

Mary and Terrence both have big dreams, and at ages 14 and 12, the two siblings are already accomplished youngsters. However, they do dip their toes in other waters.

“I am in the show choir at Westfield Middle School, and I’m also in the Indianapolis Children’s Choir downtown,” Mary says.

For Terrence, a career in comedy seems to be on the horizon, or a career in law, writing or teaching.

As far as their dance goals, Terrence would like to compete at the world championships, and Mary would like to dance at the Oireachtas as a soloist.

Wherever their dance pursuits take them, it certainly seems that these funny, driven and charismatic kids will go far in life.

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