Garet Zagorski, acclaimed Irish dancer and world traveler
Eight-year-old Warrenton resident, Garet Zagorski, has been to Scotland three times and England twice. While he enjoyed Buckingham Palace, he preferred Edinburgh Castle because he was able to go inside. Maybe someday, he will dance before the King and Queen of England and if he does, he doesn’t think he will be nervous. That’s because Garet is already the Champion of the All Scotland Irish Dance Championships held last year in February. He ended 2017 by winning the Great Britain Championships in October and the Regional Championships in Orlando in December, along with many other accomplishments.
Garet has been an Irish dancer since he was 15-months-old. His mother, Kristin, an Irish Dance teacher, brought him into the studio as a baby when she taught. “It wasn’t long before Garet began mimicking the dancers, so I enrolled him in a class,” she explained. Kristin has been teaching dance for over 15 years. She began Irish dance when she was four: “Although neither of my parents are Irish born, both embraced the culture when they heard Irish music. After seeing the Chieftains in concert, they decided their children would all dance.”
Kristin and her two older siblings all danced throughout their youth. Her sister stopped dancing and so did her brother, although he now plays Irish accordion music for dance competitions. Her parents were also involved in the competitions: “My mother made costumes and my father still sells Galway Crystal and Belleek for the awards.” Garet’s younger sister, Ciara, age 3, began Irish dance just a few months ago.
Unlike her siblings, Kristin never stopped dancing. She performed internationally with Michael Flatley, of Riverdance and Lord of the Dance fame. Kristin danced until she was 25 years old and then became an instructor. Immediately she recognized Garet’s talent: “He quickly grasped right versus left and began performing the steps.” He was four years old when he first competed. Kristin knows how to push Garet to encourage continual improvement: “He has to compete with dancers who are winning; this will make him perform better.”
When Garet and another Great Britain Champion, a year older than him, went head to head in Pittsburgh in December, Garet took second place. Kristin was quick to enroll him in another competition in Columbus in January with the same boy. This time, Garet won and proudly displays the nearly three-foot-tall trophy he has to prove it. During competitions, Garet dances beside up to two other dancers within his age group. Although the dancers perform to the same music, separate dances occur simultaneously. With no rehearsal opportunity, each dancer must be mindful of one another, and focus on their individual routines.
Today, Garet dances in the studio at his home in Warrenton, and at Progressions Dance Studio. He practices in his own classes, as well as those his mother teaches. And when they aren’t in the studio, Garet dances around his house. He loves to dance. Although this second grader at P.B. Smith Elementary School is focused on Irish dance, he isn’t limited to it. He is enrolled in Ninja Gym classes at Bull Run Academy of Gymnastics (BRAG), wrestles at Kettle Run High School with the Cougar Club Team and even takes piano lessons. On the more subdued side, Garet enjoys Tablet Time at school, “I like all the games we play using a tablet.”
In the Spring, he will stop Ninja Gym in order to participate in soccer. But still he won’t give up dancing. “I like dancing because my mom is my teacher,” he says. He also enjoys all the trophies and ribbons he brings home. “Garet has raw talent,” observed his mother. “Who knows how far he will go; the World Championship is the biggest competition in the sport. Garet will be eligible to compete in this event in 2021, and needs to qualify in December 2020.”
Until then, Garet focuses on “local” competitions; anywhere in North America. Kristin may enter him in a competition in Alicante, Spain for the European Nationals in May, where he may even be able take home another title and trophy at this event, and add another stamp to his passport. Garet plans are to continue dance and hopes to become an instructor himself one day. He would also like to visit Ireland: “I’ve been to the airport, but never outside of it.” The local community has the opportunity to see Garet perform in person at Molly’s Irish Pub in Warrenton, on March 17.
Feis definition: Feis is Gaelic for festival, but it is a cultural event where dance, music, art, and soda bread competitions take place.
2016 Preliminary Competition Results
First place in the Ceim Oir Feis (England)
2017 Preliminary Competition Results
First place in the Chesapeake Winter Feis (MD), McGrath Feis (VA), Feis at the Beach (NJ), Hurley Feis, Heritage Feis (NJ), Delaware Feis (DE), Hooley Red Rose Feis (PA), Baltimore Feis (MD), Teelin Feis (MD), and the Academy Championships (OH).
Second place in the Maryland Winter Feis (MD), O’Rourke Feis (NY), McGough Feis (PA), and Pittsburgh Winter Feis (PA)
Third place in the Lavin Cassidy Blackout Feis (WI), Lavin Cassidy Feis (WI)
2016 Major Competition Results
Second place in the Great Britain Championships and Southern Region Championships.
Fourth place in the All Scotland Championships and North American Championships.
2017 Major Competition Results
First place in the All Scotland Championships, Great Britain Championships, and Southern Region Championships.
Second place in All Scotland Championships.
Third place in the North American Championships.