This past Spring has been a busy one for HID! We were able to catch our breath after the busy St. Patrick's Day season just in time to prepare for competitions, performances, and recitals!
The first ever competition as the Heartland Irish Dancers is officially in the books! In April, we had four novice dancers who competed at the Sunflower feis in Overland Park, KS. They looked amazing in the their school dresses and their dancing was even more fantastic. Some even qualified for solo dresses! We also had four beginner dancers that competed and it was their first feis. Each of the first feis-ers received many top placements, too. It was an exciting day and I am so proud of each of them!
tFast forward to the end of May for the In the Light Performing Arts Center's Spring Recital- We had 14 dancers who got their jig on and they shared the stage with many other talented performers from ITL's other classes. It is so great to be a part of the ITL family :-)
On to the last fun event for HID... It was a surprise performance for one of our advanced dancers! Piper and her parents attended one of the last performances of The Elders at the Lee's Summit downtown days. She was just planning to sing along and enjoy the music but when she ran into an old dance friend she got to go up on stage and dance with the band! Piper did great and was so pumped to have the opportunity to show off her signature high kicks.
Now some of the Heartland Irish Dancers are busy preparing for the KC Feis and the new Heart of America feis that will both take place at Crown Center over Labor Day weekend. So in between summer camps and vacations many of the HIDers are still coming to the studio each week to keep up their training... speaking of which... I better go work on choreographing that new Treble Jig step!
We are so very excited to be performing throughout the south KC area at parades and local venues for the St. Patrick's Day Season. It is so nice to be able to share our love of Irish dance with OUR community out south!
Keep an eye out for us at the Lee's Summit Emerald Isle Parade on March 10th, at the Martin City St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 11th and at the Belton St. Patrick's Day Parade March 17th.
What a great Christmas season we had at HID! We had fun preparing for the two performances and the dancers all did great. I am so proud of all their hard work and can't wait to see what 2018 brings us :-)
The Christmas Recital that HID participated in, along with In the Light Performing Arts Center dancers, was wonderful! It took place at Ray-Pec High School and dancers from both our Peculiar, MO and Bucyrus, KS locations danced. The girls all had their performance skirts... including the advanced dancers who received their skirts before this performance after much anticipation! The bodice piece will hopefully be ready for the St. Patrick's day season (we designed their costumes to be versatile for performances, parades, and competitions!)
We switched gears to perform at the Queen of the Holy Rosary Christmas Program a few days after the ITL recital and the dancers once again were so very impressive. Not enough time for a costume change, the dancers got to dance in their nice Christmas attire. They were a hit!
At our last classes of 2017 we reviewed our dances and got to have a bit of fun. At our last daytime Monday class at ITL our intermediate dancers learned a new movement called the Quiver. The dancers' background in other dance forms certainly paid off as the dancers picked up this move with ease. We also learned more of the St. Patrick's Day Set dance!
At our last Thursday evening class at ITL we learned a bit more of the Jig and worked on a fun performance dance to gear up for our Spring performance season!
And our dancers at QHR-Wea got to wrap up 2017 learning some fun ceili or group dances. We learned the rest of the Bonfire dance, Walls of Limerick and finished with their very favorite Haymaker's jig. And ceili dances are so much more fun with festive hats on :-)
Merry Christmas and happy new year from HID!
The HID dancers did a fantastic job in the Peculiar, MO Harvest Moon Parade and Festival this past Saturday, October 28th. It was a brisk 36 degrees to start off the parade but with a little dancing (and gloves, tights, and ear warmers!) we were able to survive the chill in the air. It was the perfect debut of our new Heartland Irish Dancers Banner and our HID beginner skirts and cummerbunds. Our four Novice/Prizewinner dancers expect their advanced level skirts in time for our next set of Christmas time performances, so stay tuned!
Speaking of Christmas... I just ordered some fun accessories for our performances. Nothing says Christmas like some Santa hats, reindeer headbands and jingle bells!! Should be a fun time for our dancers and the audience :-) I can't wait!
Classes have gotten off to a great start! We have 18 dancers at one location and 13 at the other! How exciting :-) I already have such a great and growing group of dancers and parents. While I definitely miss some of my dancers and parents from my earlier teaching days, I have to say: I am truly overwhelmed by the kindness and support of each of my current dancers, their families, and the locations where I teach currently. It is great to have a network of great people surrounding me as I start on this solo venture.
All the classes are busy learning new steps along with the basics and getting ready for our first set of fall and winter performances. It should be a fun taste of dancing on a stage or in a parade before our busy season arrives in March (It's about half-way to St. Patrick's day for anyone who isn't keeping track!!)
With performances come the beloved Irish dance costumes. Material has been picked, my design has been tweaked and we are ready for measurements to be taken next week. It all reminds me of the first time I was measured for a dance dress back in 1995... I remember being in my grade school cafeteria where my teacher held her classes at the time, I remember the mom's that were there helping the dressmaker, Aiko, this tiny Japanese seamstress, and I even remember the shirt I was wearing that day when I was measured. It's so funny the important things my Irish dancer brain remembers :-)
I'll post pictures of the dancers in their new costumes at the October 28th Harvest Moon Parade in Peculiar, MO at the end of the month, so check back! In the mean time, here are a few pictures of some of the dancers at both of my locations...
Photo taken by A. Lanier
After almost a year off from teaching Irish dance, I dabbled in teaching a few free lessons at my sons' school in Bucyrus, KS. I thought it'd just be a nice way to gear up for St. Patrick's day, give back to the absolutely AMAZING school community we are so blessed to be a part of (Queen of the Holy Rosary-Wea), and give the students who participate some volunteer and performance opportunities at local nursing homes in Louisburg, KS.
Well, I accomplished all three of those goals (check, check and check!) which is great! There's nothing like accomplishing all the things you set out to do :-) But what I didn't expect was the fire for teaching Irish dance to reignite inside me...
When I "retired" from teaching last spring I felt like I made it to the end of a long road. I danced, performed, competed, or taught Irish dance for nearly 25 years of my life and it was time for me to focus on my family and my other professional endeavors. Irish dance provided me with a sense of being grounded and rooted when I felt like my life was often spinning out of control. It was the rock in my life when I tackled the many obstacles thrown at me... losing loved ones, moving away, growing up, getting married, having kids, moving again :-) It gave me a way to connect more deeply with people who I cared for and who cared for me. People who weren't family by blood but family through this community of dancers and families.
But all good things come to an end and so I thought "it's time to move on".
And I did... or so I thought!
Over this past year that I was away from teaching Irish dance, I kept in touch with many of my former dancers and their families (well, the ones who like me the most!!) and I kept tabs on how my good friend was doing carrying on the torch of teaching in KC. The torch that my dance teacher handed to me in 2010 when she moved back to Ireland and I shared with him for a few years before entrusting him wholly with the job. I gradually phased myself out from teaching... five days a week, down to two days a week, then just one day a week, and finally none. It was hard to finally leave and walk away. But it was so freeing to have that time away to focus on my family and my health.
I also needed this time to realize the things I missed about Irish dance... "ceilis" (also known as Irish dance parties), parades, summer camps, theatrical Irish dance, traditions, community, friends... The break also allowed me to pinpoint the things that pushed me away from this activity that I once loved so much... political community junk, pushy participants, and cut throat business tactics.
Having figured this all out, I was better able to appreciate my time back in the teaching hot seat this past St. Patrick's day season at my sons' school. I saw that it was in fact possible to have a group of dancers and families that come together in this shared activity of Irish dance not because of some competitive goal or cultural community status but because they want to try something new with friends. The pressure was off. The kids were trying their best... I was trying my best... And the parents were sitting back- simply proud of the effort and commitment of their kids. Nothing more, nothing less.
And just like that, the smoke turned to embers, and with some encouragement it's now a full flame!
I'm ready to teach again... this time on my terms and with my own style!