Student Returns to Campus With Irish Dancing World Championship
April 6, 2002– Student Returns to Campus With Irish Dancing World Championship
Jersey City, NJ – Saint Peter’s College freshman Timothy Kochka (Clifton, NJ) won his first world title at the 32nd World Irish Dancing Championships in Glasgow, Scotland’s Clyde Auditorium on March 29. Kochka beat 25 others in the under-21 age category.
This was Kochka’s fourth visit to the World Championships. He finished second in 2000 when the competition was held in Belfast. The event was not held last year because of Hoof and Mouth disease fears in the United Kingdom.
“This was a dream and a longtime goal,” Kochka said just a day after returning from Scotland. “I worked many hours a day for years to attain this goal. It seems like I’ve had this in my mind forever. I keep looking at the trophy. I say to myself, ‘Is it really there? Is it real?’ This is the Olympics of Irish Dancing.”
Kochka, who began Irish dancing at 13, was part of Broadway’s Riverdance dance corps from July 2000-to-August 2001. He has also put together an impressive string of titles at the major international competitions. Along with a new world title, he has captured two-straight All-Ireland titles and became the first American to win the prestigious Championships of Great Britain in October 2001. He also won the 2001 North American Irish Dancing Championship.
Kochka, who majors in history at Saint Peter’s, qualified for the World Championships by winning the United States Eastern Regional tournament in November 2001.
In the preliminary round in Scotland, each participant performed a hard-shoe jig, a dance made famous by Riverdance, and a soft-shoe “reel.” Kochka joined 12 others called back for a final “set dance” which he performed to The Downfall of Paris, a traditional Irish song.
Kochka was awarded 796 points out of a possible 900 in the three dances to earn top honors from the nine judges.
“I was sitting with my family and teacher and fellow dancers from my school (Davis Irish Dance Academy in Clifton, NJ) when the results were posted,” Kochka said. “When I saw I won, I basically flipped out. We were jumping up and down. I couldn’t believe it. I’m honored to have won. There are so few Americans who have ever won a world championship. I’m so happy.”
Kochka will now attend July’s United States Nationals in Boston and then begin his quest for another world title.