The Irish Dance Ensemble Features The Claddagh Dancers


Irish dance ensemble performs their debut of The Claddagh Dancers. Photo by Lauren Finan/Spectrum.

By Lauren Finan

Staff Reporter

Sacred Heart University’s Irish Dance Ensemble presented The Claddagh Dancers on Wednesday, March 22 in the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts.

There were a total of 16 dance numbers in the event. The music was a combination of traditional Irish songs as well as songs by contemporary artists, such as Andy Grammer, Sia and Avicii.

“The show consisted of figure dancing, solo dancing for Irish Dance competitions, Highland Dancing, and a few Irish songs,” said freshman Hannah Wilson.

After being postponed due to a snowstorm, the event had a large turnout of family, friends, students and faculty members.

Freshman Nora Stevens started the show by singing the Irish National Anthem, “Amhrán na bhFiann;” otherwise known as “The Soldier’s Song.”

“My favorite parts of the show would have had to be when they danced to more of today’s music. The girls looked like they were having so much fun and it was very high energy,” said senior Kimberly Amoia.

Instructed by Pioneer Gardens and Oakwood Commons Residence Hall Director Allison Wetterauw, the 18 dancers in the ensemble practiced weekly in order to perfect their routines.

“We normally have our regular practices for three hours every week where we practice a lot of the dances we performed in the show, so our dress rehearsal was only a couple hours,” said freshman Erin Shields. “In addition to this, we were able to basically have another shorter practice the day of the show to prepare.”

The ensemble’s traditional costumes were worn for the dance numbers that were performed to traditional Irish music, while the contemporary costumes were paired with the modern-day music.

“Both their traditional costumes and more modern costumes were beautiful,” said sophomore Alexa Vitulli. “I especially loved the dresses that had all of the rhinestones on them.”

The traditional costumes were embroidered with colorful rhinestones and paired with black tights. The contemporary costumes consisted of red and black dresses and the girls wore green Sacred Heart St. Patrick’s Day shirts for the last number.

“I loved the red dresses, they were very vibrant,” said Vitulli. “I also loved all the unique dresses that some of the girls wore in the smaller numbers.”

The choreography for one of their dances, “Better When I’m Dancing,” won third place in the “Fun Number” category at Villanova University’s Intercollegiate Irish Dance Festival. Judging was based off of group synchronization, execution of dancing, creativity in the piece, and the judges’ enjoyment of the piece.

At intermission, Stevens sung an Irish ballad called “Danny Boy.”

The dance number, “St. Patrick’s Day Traditional Set,” had the audience clapping while the performers were dancing. This dance was a very traditional number.

Because of the ensemble’s prior performances, the audience anticipated a wonderful show.

“I know that the Irish Step Dancers are amazing so if I had any expectations, I expected them to be amazing,” said Amoia.

After providing the audience with entertainment through a variety of cultural costumes, music and dancing, and traditional Irish songs, the event was a success.

“I thought that the show was great,” said Amoia. “They had a great mix of traditional and modern [songs] which made it really fun to watch.”

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