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Armagh Dancer Leaps to Success

University of Ulster student, Turlough O’Neill, is set to take centre stage after graduating from the Magee campus today.

The talented Dromintee dancer has been offered a coveted full-time position with the Monica Loughman Ballet Company in Dublin.

Monica Loughman, who is Ireland’s only Prima Ballerina, wasted no time in making Turlough an offer to join the Company after seeing him perform for the first time during an open audition.

His new position will see him dance in productions such as Swan Lake, the Nutcracker and Giselle in venues across Ireland.

Turlough said: “I was absolutely over the moon when I heard the news that I had been accepted into the Monica Loughman Ballet Company. When I found out about the auditions I wasn’t even going to go along as I’m a contemporary dancer, even though I have ballet technique.

“I worked really hard at ballet during my time at Magee and Monica has already helped me improve my technique even further.”

Turlough discovered his passion for dancing when he was 16, and a local teacher asked him to take part in a set dancing team. Despite having no previous experience, Turlough soon discovered that he had a natural flair.

He decided to take Dance for one of his A Levels at St Paul’s, Bessbrook, and from there progressed to the BA Hons Dance degree at the University’s Magee campus.

Course Director, Sophia Preston, said it was no surprise that the talented student has been snapped up.

She said: “Turlough worked so hard throughout the three years of his Dance degree programme with us that he made really remarkable progress and deserves all the recognition he is now getting.

“Despite having no formal ballet training he has taken on the fundamentals from his classes at the University. He is a quick learner and obviously has a natural flair and passion for dance.

“We wish him every success in his exciting new venture with the Monica Loughman Ballet Company and look forward to seeing him perform.”