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Taking steps in the right direction

© St. Petersburg Times
published May 24, 2002

[Times photo: Stafenie Boyar]
Emma Hudson has been taking Irish step-dancing lessons for two years at the Butler School of Irish Dance, so far winning two silver and two bronze medals in competitions across the state.
Teenage tycoon
A scholar, athlete and volunteer
Pennies and pictures for patients
It happened one day at an Irish dance, called a feis. Emma Hudson heard the clackety-clack-clack. The Celtic cadence of dozens of acrylic-soled feet immediately won her passion.

"The sound was cool," the 9-year-old Anderson Elementary student says, beaming. "And I wanted to do that, too."

For the past two years, Emma has trained her tiny feet and, consequently, her bouncing blonde curls to perform the beat that echoes of Ireland's rich culture. Now her feet have stepped precisely through four state competitions. She boasts two bronze and two silver medals.

Dance has taught her perserverance.

"If you fall, you just want to give up, and you can't," she says. "That's how you learn."

She studies under Irish step-dancing instructor Sheila Duffy and spends at least 90 minutes a week perfecting the percussion of her moves.

Her mother's only request:

No stepping on the ceramic tile.

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