Irish Dance Provides Cultural Connections

By J1 Reporter Sophie Ortmeier

Irish Dance is a group of traditional dances that originated from Ireland, both solo and group performances. Irish Dance originated from the Celts around the time of the eighteenth century. The first Irish Dance class in Nebraska was held in the Fall of 1996. It eventually spread to other parts of the state. Junior Campbell Piotrowski described Irish Dance as, “similar to ballet and tap because of the shoe.”

Dancers begin at level one and can move up to levels as they develop. Within each level they gain more and more options for items like wigs and dresses. Wearing wigs is one of the unique things about Irish Dance. Dancers wear wigs so they can all look similar, and they can have the wig color match their natural hair. In addition to the wigs, each dancer gets a unique dress that they wear until it doesn’t fit. 

One of Irish Dancing’s main events is performing on St. Patrick’s Day. Since Irish Dance goes back to Ireland it is an important event. Irish Dancers have performances on St. Patrick’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day weekend. They perform for multiple groups of people and at different venues. 

Sophomore Madison Terranova started Irish Dancing at 8 in Illinois. Her cousin, who also Irish danced, influenced her decision. She danced at Mayer School of Irish Dance before moving to Omaha. She continued to grow as a dancer and eventually moved up levels. 

She danced in many St. Patrick Day performances, competitions in the regular season, and made it to nationals. Her nationals were held in Minnesota one year. Terranova said, “My favorite moment of dancing was competing at regionals.” She also enjoyed learning new dances that were more difficult and moving up levels.

Pitrowski’s all time favorite memory is St. Patrick’s Day. Dancers go around to numerous places to perform for different people. “I enjoy getting up early, getting ready, and dancing at multiple places,” said Piotrowski. Piotrowski has made lifelong friends because of dance and is continuing to grow as a dancer. 

Similarly, Piotrowski got involved with Irish Dance at a young age. She began dancing at 4 years old because of her mom’s friends. She dances for Craoí na Tíre in Omaha. Piotrowski has been dancing for more than 10 years now and enjoys every part of it. 

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