We Fell in Love With Irish Dance {And You Should Too!}

My oldest daughter is almost 11, and she absolutely loves all things music and dance. She plays the clarinet, and really any other instrument she can get her hands on. She has an ear for music and can pick out a beat better than me any day of the week. She also loves dancing, although she has struggled to find her niche.

She’s not really a ballet or tap or hip hop kind of girl.

Don’t get me wrong, she enjoys it, but it just doesn’t pull her in.

You definitely don’t have to be Irish to take Irish dancing

But we happen to be very Irish.

And we are enamored with the rich culture and tradition that comes with being Irish in New Orleans.

So when we were discussing types of dance and classes, Irish dancing naturally came up. I sat down with her and we pulled up YouTube and searched for Irish dancing. We watched one video after the next of Irish dance competitions.

Girl after girl, each in elaborately decorated dresses with white socks and black shoes, seemed to soar into the air, kicking their legs up so high their knees nearly touched their noses. Their upper bodies were stiff as boards, arms straight to their sides. Curls bounced and sequins shimmered. And it was all to the music of an Irish jig, fiddle and tin whistle simultaneously playing a tune and telling a story.

Photo courtesy of The Ryan School of Irish Dance

Then came the hard shoe dance.

Powerful yet graceful, the clicks and taps cracked in the air. They pounded their feet into the floor with perfect rhythm.  The technique and skill was undeniable. These performers were incredibly strongly and insanely talented. You could clearly see how much work and practice went into their level of skill. Boys and girls performed, equally astounding.

I looked over at my girl while she watched the videos.

She was mesmerized.

And intrigued.

She looked at me with wide eyes. “Mom. I reeeally want to do this. Can you find an Irish Dance school?? When can I start? I love the music!!”

We did some research and settled on The Ryan School of Irish Dance.

They offer their first class for free, so we decided to give it a shot. Can I just say, after approximately one class, she was hooked?!

I don’t ever have to tell her she needs to practice her steps. She constantly Irish skips around the house, and she just got her first pair of ghillies (traditional black Irish soft shoes, similar to ballet shoes) and she has barely taken them off.

My sweet Maggie in her new ghillies.

She’s learning steps to jigs and reels and is already asking about when she can move into the next level class and how long before she can compete.

She was beyond thrilled to find out her school also performs at various public events throughout the year.

Its safe to say, we have fallen in love with Irish dancing.

Bring on the Extra-Curriculars!

My husband and I agreed that we would encourage our kids to be involved in as many different activities that they (and we) could reasonably handle while keeping up their grades. With three girls in school, that means softball, band (and as many instruments as she talks me into), and now Irish dance (for whichever of our five that decide they would like to also take lessons), along with every club they decide to join this year. We want our girls to learn hard work, team work, and responsibility.

We are so excited to add Irish dance to our crazy schedule, and we cannot wait to see where this new adventure takes her.

Katy Dean
Katy has been married to her college (Geaux Tigers!) sweetheart Chris for 12 years. They live on the Northshore with their 5 daughters, 1 son, and 2 dogs, who keep their lives exciting and exhausting, and their house messy. After being relocated to the Midwest for several years due to her husband’s job, she and her family realized they missed Louisiana and its glorious heat and humidity more than they could handle and moved back home, this time for good. She loves trying new local restaurants, the four minutes a week her house is actually clean, and watching whichever activity her girls are involved in at the moment. You can usually find her dancing to classic country in her kitchen with a glass of wine, while attempting to come up with something to make for dinner.


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