Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Irish dance traditions come to Panama City - The News Herald

Celtic Choice (by Fays) Irish ghillies
PANAMA CITY — The music, language and traditions of Ireland are being passed on to younger generations in downtown Panama City through dance.
“I love passing on the traditions and love of Irish dance that I had growing up,” Teresa Kane said. “The love of the music and sometimes in class I’ll speak the Irish language, so they know a little bit of the language. I’m so far from home; I miss it. … It makes me feel connected to home.”
Kane has been teaching Irish dance to children and adults for 10 years at the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance, Panama City, and she’s not the only one happy to share the knowledge. Bobbi Lindsey said you don’t have to be Irish to appreciate the dance or the music, but for her, it’s heritage.
“Up north you have neighborhoods defined by nationality, and here we’re such a military town; people come and go,” Lindsey said. “This keeps our traditions and our nationality alive through the music. It’s important to me that she can keep and learn the Irish traditions.”


Lindsey’s daughter, Maura, dances in the school and said although they find themselves moving their feet to the music, even in academic classes, the dance provides an outlet.
“It’s a sport, in the dance form,” Maura Lindsey said. “It’s like you’re in a whole different world here; you can get away from school, from work. You can just come here and let go and dance.”
Irish dancing is a high-energy dance that focuses on the feet, and many people are more familiar with Riverdance, which is based in Irish dancing, but is not the traditional dancing Kane’s students learn.
“It’s a type of dance in which you move your feet very fast, and there are two different kinds of shoes, hard and soft, and we keep our arms pretty still,” Maura said. “Irish dance and Lord of the Dance are two different things; Irish dance is a lot harder.”
One of the dances they perform is the Treble Reel Special, which is Ada King’s, 9, favorite.
“It’s a hard show dance and everybody gets up either in a line or half-circle; then, one by one, they each have their own dances,” Ada said. “I like it because you get to see all kinds of different people do their different dances.”
Kane recently took six students to the Atlanta Feis and the Celtic Rose Feis, two national competitions; the competitions included 750 students, and the six Panama City kids took home 58 awards.
“Watching their faces when they win the prize is priceless,” Kane said. “When they win medals at the competitions and the mommies and dancers are crying and hugging each other … you just can’t buy that.”
The group will perform locally Dec. 7-9 at the Emerald Coast Fellowship Church in Lynn Haven during their Celtic Christmas celebration. They will join Eddie Rackley, conductor of the Panama City Pops, with a choir and orchestral music.

Irish dance traditions come to Panama City - News - The News Herald

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