The Irish Dance Ensemble and the Claddagh Dancers

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By Lindsey McCarthy

Staff reporter

On Wednesday, March 14, Sacred Heart University’s Irish Dance Ensemble presented the Claddagh Dancers in the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts. It was a night filled with various styles of music, a full audience and dancers dressed in simple or sequined costumes.

The show began with a dance to “Honey, I’m Good,” by American singer-songwriter Andy Grammer. The number featured eight dancers from this season’s ensemble.

“The songs they chose really enhanced the choreography,” said freshman Cara Gileau. “I liked the variety of typical Irish step and their own more modern take on it dancing to today’s hits because it really engaged the audience.”

Throughout the entire show, there were a variety of performances to traditional Irish songs, as well as modern songs by artists like Avicii and Meghan Trainor.

“Definitely one of the fun, more modern numbers [is my favorite],” said junior captain Virginia Clark. “They’re different than the more traditional dances we do, and definitely have fun aspects to them.”

Aside from the dances, the different costumes highlighted the elegance each member brought to the stage.

Members of the ensemble wore at least five different costumes throughout the show. There were traditional Irish step outfits and simple red dresses, as well as, an all-black attire with sparkly, black shorts.

“The traditional looks are really cool, because of its connection to the Irish heritage,” said Gileau. “The variety of costumes the show had really emphasized the different types of Irish step each number brought to the table.”

The Irish Dance Ensemble has been a part of Sacred Heart’s Dance Program for four years and has been under the direction of Allison Wetterauw for the past three years.

“I love the ‘Attaboy’ number with music by Yo-Yo Ma,” said Wetterauw. “I feel really lucky to have such a strong group of dancers bring it to life.”

At Villanova University’s Intercollegiate Irish Dance Festival, Sacred Heart’s Irish Dance Ensemble performed “Attaboy” and received third place overall. They also placed second place and fourth place in both the eight-hand and four-hand.

This year’s ensemble consists of 21 students, ranging from freshmen to seniors.

“This show is always one of my favorites because it’s a mix of our competition pieces, the more traditional Irish step dances and the fun pieces with modern songs,” said Clark. “It’s a showcase of all the dances we’ve done throughout the year.”

The 21 members of the Irish Dance Ensemble were joined by a local Irish Step dance group called the Claddagh Dancers.

Members of the Claddagh Dancers ranged from young kids to high school students.

“The featured group really added to the show,” said freshman Molly Hughes. “Watching kids doing something they love alongside college students really displayed how people grow into it and it shows through their dancing.”

After the performance, many audience members were in awe of how talented the group of students were.

“It’s amazing the coordination and execution they all have,” said Hughes. “Each dancer was in sync with the other and never seemed to miss a beat.”

Be on the lookout for the Irish Dance Ensemble’s next performance at the end of April.

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