Students’ feet on fire with dances of Eire

Though some students hadn’t previously experienced Ireland outside of wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day, by the end of the three-week Irish dancing interterm class, they had a repertoire of Celtic dances prepared for performance.

Freshman Kelsea Herzog took Irish Ceili Dancing in order to take a class with her roommate and experience something new. Herzog said she was nervous even though she had some prior experience with dance but was calmer when the class concluded with a performance Jan. 19 at Collins Center.

“I was really concerned about dancing in front of other people,” Herzog said. “The performance didn’t really bother me. We all bonded over the course of the class.”

Associate Professor of French Erin Joyce, who taught the class, said she puts about three weeks’ worth of classes into a single three-hour interterm session. Joyce said she had a good group who was able to learn the conditioning and dance patterns required for this type of dancing.

“We take it slow,” Joyce said. “If I see I have people that are lost, we back up a little bit. It is the same type of teaching as it is in any other class.”

As students learned about each Celtic dance, a lesson was given about the origin or story related to the dance.

“Almost all dances have a story or a historical significance,” Joyce said.

Sophomore Kyle Jones said he took the class to get in touch with his own Irish heritage.

“It is not in my everyday life to have Irish step-dancing,” Jones said.

Despite his uncertainty, Jones said the laidback atmosphere is what helped him get through the class.

“I figured it was going to be difficult learning the steps, but with repetition, you get it at the end,” Jones said. “Everyone was so laidback. If people messed up, everyone was just comfortable and had fun with it.”