Clonmel to London: Tipperary teenager plans UK transfer to become dancing star

Clonmel to London: Tipperary teenager plans big move to become dancing star

Tipperary’s Rachel O’Shea wants to get a ‘taster’ of dancing stardom in London

World dance champion Rachel O’Shea is balancing her Junior Certificate studies at Gaelcholáiste Chéitinn, Clonmel, with striving for more glory on the dance floor.

Rachel, who is the daughter Miranda and John, currently holds three world medals. Her family, friends and dance teachers at On Your Toes feel the sky’s the limit for the talented 14-year-old, who dreams of moving to London for transition year to pursue her passion.

“I was never interested in hurling and football when I started school,” Rachel tells

“Dancing was different, and I started dancing competitively when I was five-years-old and knew this was what I wanted to do. I trained hard over the years, and I got to travel Romania for the Dance World Cup in 2015, which is the biggest dance competition in the world. We had gone to the two previous competitions as spectators, and it became my dream to dance at the Dance World Cup. I invented a performance called ‘Dream’ and I won my first gold medal,” the  contemporary and lyrical dancer fondly recalls.

Rachel and her teammates at On Your Toes Dance Academy proudly represented Ireland at the 2017 Dance World Cup finals in Germany, taking a silver medal back to Clonmel after impressing with their ‘Playground Bully’ masterclass.
Rachel then completed a trio of world medals at the Dance World Cup finals in Braga, Portugal, last year when she won bronze.

Following a 2019 which also saw Rachel receiving a European industry award for best lyrical dancer, in addition to claiming a slow dancer of the year award at a freestyle competition in Mayo, she has recommenced a rigorous training programme with a dream move to London in mind.

“You get knock-backs in dancing but you have to push through them. Dancing isn’t recognised as a major sporting event, but dancers have to train constantly. I have had to put a lot of work into my physical fitness in the gym to be a dancer, which is something I don’t think people realise. Circuits, core work and cardio fitness. Gillian Hewitt-Fitzgerald and Majella Forte at On Your Toes have been very, very supportive over the last 10 years and make sure I’m ready for every competition,” she says.

“Moving to London would give me a taster before I go and commit to being a dancer full-time when I finish school,” she adds.

Videos of Rachel dancing are on our school Youtube here.