Irish Dance Team blows crowd away for St. Patrick’s Day

Catherine Hamilton

Villanova’s increasingly growing Irish dance team performed its annual showcase just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

The team strays away from traditional music and dances to contemporary and atypical songs that make the dancing more interesting for everyone at the show. Although the team puts its efforts and work on display like this every year, most people in the audience and on the team would agree that this year’s performance came out on top.

“This year’s show case was even more successful than last year’s!” said co-captain Cailin Ryan. “Each year we try to improve in a different way and this year we focused our energy on marketing and publicity. We were able to fill the auditorium and everyone seemed to have a great time.”

In addition to the Villanova Irish Dance Team, talented young children from the McDade-Cara School of Irish Dance put on a couple numbers. The young dancers provided a refreshing and adorable contrast to the Villanova students.

            “I really enjoyed seeing the children dance,” said parent and audience member Christine Quinn. “They reminded me of when my children used to dance at a young age. It is interesting to realize that all the dancers on the Villanova team once started out as young children at the beginner level.”

            The team puts in mass amounts of work in order to properly prepare for the show and ensure that the team performs at their absolute best.

            “For an event as big as our showcase and the Intercollegiate Irish Dance Festival, the practices are much more intense, rigorous and demanding,” said co-captain Catherine West. “Instead of only doing one dance for a small show, we are preparing for around ten dances for the showcase. Also, the entire team is involved in the larger events so it requires many more practices since there are so many schedules to work around. Not only do we have to practice the numbers, but we also have to run the show, so that means working with the university and community to pull the whole event together. Our showcase and competitions are huge time commitments for not only the executive board, but also the committed members of the team. Although it can be a lot of work, the team’s dedication and hard work make the jobs a lot easier.”

            In addition to all of the practices and preparation involved, the dancers actually create and choreograph almost all of their dances besides the four-hand dance and the eight-hand dance.

            “This year we were fortunate to have multiple team members step up and take on the challenge of choreographing dances,” Ryan said. “We were thrilled to have two freshmen, two sophomores and two seniors choreograph their own numbers for the show. Having more people choreograph makes the show more exciting for the audience, as every dancer is able to add their own unique style and flare.”

Previous Captain of the team for three years, Rory Beglane, experienced a wonderful last showcase and looks forward to watching his team in the future.

“This year we had more team members participate in choreography,” he said. “It truly made a huge difference for our show to have a variety in dancing to display our team’s talent.”

            In addition to the Villanova Irish Dancers and the McDade-Cara school, the audience also enjoyed a quick but impressive musical performance by Irish accordion player and Fulbright Faculty member, Siobhán Murray.

            “The team looks forward to their next event, Catholic University’s Intercollegiate Irish Dance Festival in Washington D.C.,” Ryan and West said. “We are practicing four-hands, 8-hands and our fun number, Bieber Fever. Being the founders of the Intercollegiate Irish Dance Festival and having Catholic’s team always be a part of ours, makes everyone extremely excited for Catholic’s first competition on their campus.”

            Overall, the showcase started March off with a bang and reminded the crowd why they cherish and celebrate their Irish Heritage. Everyone who attended the show thoroughly enjoyed the dancing.