I, like most Americans, was introduced to this dance-style when "Riverdance" swept New York in 1996. It was a theatrical performance that caught America's eye and generated huge enthusiasm. For most of us, it was our first look at traditional Irish dance. Soon afterward, I saw the star of the show, Jean Butler, perform in person at a concert by The Chieftains, a famous traditional Irish music band.
Mary Lou's daughters' lives revolve around dance and they compete at the national level. They travel far to dance-competitions and study with famous instructor, Donny Golden.
Mary Lou invited everyone in our building to see one of her daughters dance at a local exhibition. I was the only person who showed up. The dancing was incredible and equally as amazing were the costumes. Mary Lou said the dancers try to stand out by wearing the best costumes. Her daughter's dress cost $2,300. The costumes are made by hand and some go up to $6,000. When you see the pictures below, you'll believe that.
Have you ever heard of Irish stepdance? Have you seen "Riverdance"?
I have always admired people who can do this. I wish I had some kind of talent ... HA!ReplyDelete
Oh how cool! I do know what Irish Stepdancing is, but I haven't seen Riverdance. The girls costumes are beautiful, especially that black and neon green number! Wow. I love all the knot work.ReplyDelete
I love the preservation of traditional cultural practices, and your support of your coworker. Thanks for a glimpse into the elite performance / competition level. Holy smokes are those costumes incredible!ReplyDelete
I see a lot of Irish dancers at Chicago events and parades, St. Patrick's Day especially! :) Those little girls can DANCE.ReplyDelete
So great that you were able to go and show support to this young lady. I've always been amazed at this style of dance.ReplyDelete
I have seen riverdance. It looks gorgeous, but the "King of Dance (the blond dude with a band on his head who used to be famous) was so pompeous that I just lol'd no matter how awesome the show was.ReplyDelete
But seriously, it looks great and it is difficult. I have practiced it (I have been acting when I was younger and I was in an irish musical and we had to do know some of it, and it was very difficult.)
awww! I love Irish dances!ReplyDelete
I know what it is but have never seen it in person. That sounds like an awful lot of money for costumes, but those dresses are gorgeous. I can see where the detail would command such a high price tag. I'm glad you went. What a shame that no one else took advantage of the invitation.ReplyDelete
Wowee, those costumes are amazing! I especially like the green and orange one. I've see Irish dancing and I love how precise and energetic it is.ReplyDelete
I have cousins that do this, but I've never met them, and don't even know their names.ReplyDelete
It's so wonderful to see kids have a passion and develop discipline, resilience and patience as a result of sustained study. I also just appreciate it because I am terribly uncoordinated and am in awe of more-coordinated folks!ReplyDelete
The green and orange costume with the oversized sash is my favorite - stunning! Seems like you'd need to take up a second job or learn to sew if you needed such intricate costumes. ...
As a former Irish step dancer, I can tell you first hand the dedication and passion for this art form is just as vigorous and competitive as a ballerina. Back in my days of step dancing, (1970's) we hand made our costumes (dresses) and hand embroidered our emblems. You could tell which school of dance you were trained from by the costume color and insignia design. (The young blonde in your first picture is from Donny Golden's school - he trained Jean Butler.) It was also the school my sister's and I attended. He was the toughest guy around. Most of the Riverdance performers were former Donny Golden students.ReplyDelete
So much has changed over the years. We curled our hair with sponge rollers in ringlets for bounce, but only the older girls wore mascara and a hint of eyeshadow. It's so much more show-girl now than it was back then.
The camaraderie and competition made for some great memories. My mother still has our costumes somewhere. I must ask her for them.
If you would ever like to come to a Feis for a day, please let me know. I'd go!
Thanks for the info, Debbie.Delete
Gorgeous! Some of the technique looks similar to quilting appliques.ReplyDelete
When Kiddo was young we went to see Lord of the Dance (the tickets were a gift to myself and my ex) and brought home a VHS tape for her. When she got a bit older (2 or 3) she got obsessed with that video and insisted on watching "the tippy tap man" - Michael Flatley - nearly every day.
I tap danced in my tween years and hadn't heard of Irish dance at the time, but I would have liked to do that!
I love Riverdance! I could watch it for hours on endReplyDelete