Nineteen-year-old Kincaid Stringer usually dances by himself, though it’s not because of rejection from cute girls. As one of the few male Irish dancers in the nation, he often performs alone in competitions. He also travels overseas to compete with English and Irish dancers whose cultures are more commonly known for the dance. Stringer grew up in a close-knit Irish family and found it only natural to take up the traditional step dance. “We’re Irish. This is what we do,” he says. The neighborhood resident is the top Irish dancer in the United States, but now he’s focusing on surpassing his foreign competitors to become World Champion. “Unless you are really into it, you can’t make it because it’s so cutthroat,” he says. Despite the intense competition, he calls the other dancers his best friends. They celebrate together at céilidhs (“kay-lees”), traditional Irish parties with food, drink and, of course, dancing. The dance requires a rigid upper body, while the legs perform the rhythmic steps (think Riverdance). One glance at Stringer’s calves reveals his immense strength. “I get a lot of attention about them, but I don’t have any other exercise routine,” he says, adding: “I go to school, and I practice and I sleep.”

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