Two of the best Irish dancers on the planet talk of their success

JPCT 231112 Line dane champions. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 231112 Line dane champions. Photo by Derek Martin

Two Horsham schoolgirls have danced their way to success - dominating European and world championships to bring home some of the best rankings on the planet.

Katie Duffin, 14, earned the position of number four in the world for Irish dancing for her age group.

And at just eight-years-old, Amelia Knight is ranked number two in Europe in her age category.

The positions, sashes and trophies, which have been won at World Irish Dancing Association competitions this year, only adds to the girls’ impressive haul of awards which are spilling out of cabinets in their homes.

“We’re running out of space,” said proud dad Matthew Duffin. “It’s amazing, they obviously love it. As a parent, seeing your daughter on the podium for her achievements is really nice.”

The girls have both enjoyed Irish dancing since the age of four.

They pour hours of training into their week, and travel all over Europe for competitions, as well as studying at school.

Katie, a pupil at Millais Girls School, became passionate about the dance after getting through every DVD in the house.

“I was so bored I watched the dancing on TV, and that really inspired me,” she told the County Times.

“I really enjoy it, it’s really fun, but it can be really dangerous because you can do so many things by accident.”

The modest teen said friends are amazed when they see the amount of trophies littering her home.

Mum Gwen says the duo, who train with Ace Academy in Crawley, ‘spur each other on’.

Young Amelia said that, while she gets ‘butterflies’ before performing in front of the hundreds of people at competitions, once dancing she will ‘block everything out’ and ‘have fun’.

Father of the St Mary’s pupil, Paul Knight, said: “The girls get a huge amount of discipline from dancing and a lot of confidence from performing in front of hundreds of people.”

Gwen Duffin added: “I’m really proud because some of the dances are very complicated and they’re still very young.

“And the fact that they only get one chance as well is really, really amazing.”

The parents paid tribute to the teaching at Ace Academy.

To find out more about Ace Academy and how to become a member visit their Facebook page at