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This top-ranked Irish dancer won the chance to dance on stage with Justin Bieber


Maya Alvarez-Coyne never imagined her first concert would find her on stage with one of her favorite artists. But that’s exactly where the dancer was as she performed alongside Justin Bieber last summer during the Orlando, Fla., stop of his Purpose World Tour.

“It was the best performing experience of my life,” Maya said. “Just like Christmas. I’ll never forget it.”

Being on stage is nothing new for Maya.

The versatile teen is a top-ranked Irish dancer in North America and ranked No. 8 in the world in her age group, but she also has a love for other styles of dance: hip-hop, jazz funk and contemporary, all genres she gets to explore daily as a student in the commercial dance conservatory at Orange County School of the Arts and a member of the Millennium Dance Complex Junior Professional Program.

Her Irish roots drew Maya to the rhythmic style of Irish dance. She watched an Irish dance group perform at her church when she was 2, and by the age of 5 she had begun lessons.

Now dancing with the Butler-Fearon-O’Connor School of Irish Dance in Laguna Hills, Maya has competed all over the country and around the world, including at the All-Ireland Irish Dance Championships and the North American Irish Dance Championships, which were held in Orlando in July.

And that’s where her Justin Bieber encounter comes in.

Knowing she would be in Orlando at the same time as the pop star, she submitted an entry through a social media contest to dance on stage with him.

Her submission incorporated both the required choreography and some Irish dance improvisation, which Maya is certain gave her an edge.

Joining three other young dancers on stage during his song “Children,” Maya was positioned next to Bieber as she danced in front of thousands of screaming fans.

“I’ve been a true ‘belieber’ since ‘Baby’ came out,” she said. “I was pinching myself the whole night.”

She is preparing for the 2017 World Irish Dance Championships, to be held in Dublin, Ireland, in April.

But her interests aren’t limited to dance. The straight-A student also has a love for science, having represented OCSA on its first-ever team at the Science Olympiad regional competition last year. But no matter her path, it’s certain to involve dance.

“I love the feeling of the bright lights,” Maya said. “I love dancing my heart out and putting it all out on the stage.”

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