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Head over heels in love with the art of cheerleading

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Lifestyle – Jessica Thompson meets members of the Irish Cheerleading Team and finds a determination to banish pom-pom image

When we think about cheerleading, we think long legs, short skirts and pom-poms, thanks to the clichés that are American high school movies which often place cheerleaders on the sidelines of major sports events.

But the reality is that cheerleading is an official sport, with major sports events of its own, and is possibly far more thrilling, dangerous and energetic than football or basketball.

In fact, there are even World Championships in Cheerleading and the Irish Cheerleading Team is travelling to Florida to compete this month.

“You have to be incredibly fit and strong to do the tumbles and stunts,” said Fiona Collumb, manager of Team Ireland, who founded Ace High Cheer in Tuam a few years ago.

“We don’t use poms; there’s choreography but we’re trying to break through the barrier,” she added, stressing that cheerleading is far from the cliché we see in the movies.

The Irish Cheerleading Team travelled to Florida on Tuesday to compete in the International Cheer Union (ICU) World Cheerleading Championships this weekend at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Team Ireland formed in May 2013 with the intention of travelling to Florida to represent Ireland in the world championships and to build and develop the sport of cheerleading within Ireland. The team will compete against the likes of Team USA and Team England who have been training for years.

“Cheerleading is underestimated. It’s overlooked as more of a playful pastime than a serious sport. Cheer is very physically and mentally challenging and is a lot more difficult than it looks,” said 15-year-old Galway City native Anna Clarke, who will be competing in Florida this month.

“When stunts and tumbles are attempted without proper training, you are most definitely at risk. It involves a lot of personality, attitude, fitness and endurance.”

Anyone can get involved with cheerleading and the Galway organisations currently facilitate people of all shapes and sizes.

“There are men and women, aged as young as three and a half to cheerleaders in their forties and fifties. It doesn’t matter about shape or size. Everyone has a place in cheerleading. Shape, size and weight are not an issue,” said Miss Collumb.

There are currently around 15,000 cheerleaders in the various cheerleading groups in Ireland, with each squad training regularly to move from level one to level six in skill, with the latter being the most difficult.

The World Championships in Florida are level five and Team Ireland has been training hard to meet the incredibly high standards they will face at the end of the month. Training currently takes place in Galway every Saturday and Sunday and the team members travel from across the country to practice.

There are numerous cheerleading organisations in Galway at the moment, according to Fiona. The Galway City Cougars are based in the city; Ace High Cheer is based in Tuam. There are also teams in Headford and Claremorris.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Ceramic artist who found her creative home in Galway

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Tatiana Dobos...creative space in Galway.

A ceramic artist who made her home in Galway a decade ago is one of twelve creative pioneers to feature in a new series of abstract short films available for viewing on the TG4 Player.

Samhlú Croí Cruthaitheach is a season of twelve commissioned abstract short films featuring artists and creatives – among them Moldovan born Galway-based ceramic artist Tatiana Dobos.

Tatiana was born in 1982 in Bujor, and studied all kinds of ‘numbers’ till she was 27, when she discovered clay accidentally while doing sculpture in an art studio.

She describes it as being like arriving home for the first time. She had to quit my job, erase everything she studied and start her forever journey with clay which, since then, is a constant learning and discovering process.

She came to Ireland in 2010, and Galway felt like home from the first walk on its streets.

“Ten years later I can say that Galway is the true and only home to me,” she says.

“My studio is located in Knocknacarra, very close to the sea where I cycle almost every day for refreshing swims, and also close to Barna Woods, a place for reflection and reconnection. It feels really inspiring to be so close to Connemara and Burren, places that invite to rediscovering oneself,” she adds.

From her little studio, Tatiana creates ceramic artworks inspired by human emotions.

She seeks to materialize in her works the mechanisms of the inner battles, at the same time exploring the anatomy of the aftermath.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Land, Sea and Mind at heart of Kinvara show

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Some of the works from a new exhibition by Patrick Kenneally, set for the KAVA Courthouse Gallery in Kinvara

An exhibition of new work by artist Patrick Kenneally opens at the KAVA Courthouse Gallery in Kinvara, on Saturday week and runs until Sunday, August 8, from 10am to 4pm daily.

Of Land, Sea and Mind is a new series of oil paintings by the artist which is inspired by the mind’s adaptation and reaction to the restrictions placed on the mind and body by lockdowns over the past year.

“As an artist, being in and with the landscape is a vital stimulation for the creative process. You listen to the silence and vastness of the Burren. You take in the salty air of the Atlantic breeze,” he explained.

“The mind, without the direct stimulation of the environment you are so used to being in, will stitch you a new patchwork of colours, compositions and perspectives based on memory, thoughts and feelings. These “mindscapes” allow me to revisit the places that are restricted to me,” he added.

The paintings are a reflection of the self in isolation; a boat on the horizon, a windswept tree in the Burren, a single cloud in the sky, a rolling wave. The self is not present in the landscape but is present with the landscape.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway-made box office hit returns home to Film Fleadh

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Galway hit…a scene from Two by Two Overboard!

A Galway-made animation movie which outshone the big-budget studios at the box office is making a homecoming of sorts this weekend – in the open air.

Two by Two Overboard!, produced in Galway by Moetion Films, was the number one film at the UK box office in November 2020.

The film has also proved a big hit at home with top three spots in all Irish cinema during Christmas 2020.

This weekend, Galway audiences will be treated to a special showing during the Galway Film Fleadh on Saturday at noon, in the specially constructed open-air cinema located in Father Burke Park.

Distributed by eOne Entertainment, the film opened in multiple locations across the UK in late October 2020 – but now as restrictions ease, it is set for release in France, Spain, Germany, Norway, Denmark and Estonia and elsehwere.

Made in 3D animation, the film tells the story of young Nestrian Finny and his best mate Leah, a Grymp, who accidently fall off Noah’s ark and are swept out to sea.

Adrift on a flood, the two misfit castaways struggle to reunite an unorthodox family, out-run a volcano, and negotiate a peace deal on a creaking Ark.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

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