CSC Grad Places In Prelims Of U-S National Irish Dance Championships

By Tena L. Cook, CSC Marketing Coordinator

 Chadron State College alumna Amber (Peterson) Gurley placed fourth in the U.S. National Irish Dance Championship preliminaries July 6 in Phoenix.

Of the 3,000 total dancers in the competition, more than 200 were in Gurley’s division of age 22 and over.

A native of Marquette, Nebraska, she enrolled at CSC in 2001 and earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with a minor in Criminal Justice in 2005.

While a student, she danced at the International Food Tasting Party and other campus events.

She has been a forensic scientist for 16 years, starting her career at the Nebraska State Patrol Crime Lab after graduating from CSC.

Although she doesn’t have Irish heritage and wasn’t able to take formal dance lessons during her childhood, she became intrigued by Riverdance when she was 13.

Once her passion for Irish dance was ignited, she was self-taught a good portion of her life.

“It still amazes me how far I have come in my dancing from being self-taught to making it to the championship level,” she said.

She moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming, six years ago for a forensic scientist position with the Wyoming State Crime Lab.

Since then, she has danced with the Avoca Irish Dance Academy in Longmont, Colorado. Currently, Gurley is training for the Western Regional Irish Dance Championships in Phoenix this November.

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