April 19th 2013April/May Calendar Announcements for The Heartworks and Renaissance Schools Read More
Irish Dancing at Heartworks Shelburne
With sequins sparkling, hair bouncing, and high kicking feet, three members of the Higgins family danced around the room at Heartworks School in Shelburne in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. The spectacularly costumed trio entertained the appreciative audience of preschoolers and teachers with three traditional Irish dances; The Hornpipe, Reel and Jig, showcasing the tremendous artistry they have learned through a combined total of nearly eighteen years of study with the McFadden Academy of Irish Dance.
Fiona, age 15, Maeve, age 13, and Seamus, age 10, are the siblings of Heartworks student Deirdre Higgins and were invited to perform for the whole school as part of the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Wearing hard soled shoes, the three dancers opened the show to the strains of traditional Irish dance music with the intricate and high-flying steps of the Hornpipe. After a quick change into the softer footwear of a second type of Irish dancing, Fiona, Maeve and Seamus thrilled their audience with two more amazing dances full of twirls, kicks, leaps and taps which were met with cheers and applause.
They, as well as their mother, Jen Higgins, happily answered the children’s questions at the end of their demonstration. When asked about the amount of practice time it takes to achieve such a high level of expertise the dancers responded by saying that they will practice as much as thirty minutes each day in addition to the two to three weekly classes of an hour and a half each. Extensive training and time is involved to prepare for any dance competitions or performances in which the children participate, and costuming is equally important in the overall presentation of their craft. Once students of Irish dance move into the higher ability levels they are given the opportunity to change out of the standard studio outfits and to design and wear their own individual, highly ornate, performance costumes, complete with long curly wigs for the young women.
The dancers then invited the preschoolers, and teachers, to try their own fancy footwork with the light and lively steps of the Irish Jig. With an enthusiastic “I’m going to try!” coming from one excited audience member, everyone got up and gave it their best effort, with the careful step-by-step instructions from the Higgins children. The event ended with the dancers giving each child a sparkly green shamrock sticker to wear as they jiggity-jigged their way down the hallways and back to their classrooms.