The 2017 New England Oireachtas (or Irish dance championship) is coming to our home city of Hartford from November 17-19th. Over the Oireachtas weekend, competitors from all six New England states will gather to compete for titles and placements in three main disciplines - solo championships, traditional set, and ceili.
Our solo championship competitors will be vying for positions within the top 50% to earn placements and medals at the evening award ceremony. From there, competitors will also look to earn berths to the 2018 North American Championships in Orlando, FL and/or the 2018 World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. Our solo championship representatives are Colleen Williams of Amston, CT & Isabella Jensen of Somers, CT in the Girls Under 11 category, Emma Feeley of Springfield, MA, Emily Messier of Glastonbury, CT, Emma Magnani of Springfield, CT, Kayla Purcell of Hebron, CT, and Mackenzie Richards of East Longmeadow, MA in the Girls Under 14 category, Tara Lynch of Cheshire, CT in the Girls Under 17 category, Lindsey Hoffman of Columbia, CT in the Girls Under 18 category, and Rebecca Kall of Farmington, CT in the Ladies Under 22 category. Lynch, Hoffman, and Kall are already pre-qualified to attend the 2018 North American Championships.
Our traditional set dancers are preparing to compete in the solo championship category in the future by showing mastery of their technique, timing, and musicality in one of the seven traditional set dances. These dances stem from the dance masters that would travel from village to village or county to county in Ireland teaching steps to men, women, and children. Various versions were passed on and preserved and are still prominent in the dance tradition today. Representing SRL in various age groups include Isabella Robinson, Jane Carty, Nora Carty, Mairi Carchrie-Leigh, and Irelyn Lash, all of South Windsor, CT, Cara Williams of Amston, CT, Ciara Doyle and Abby Quinby of Windsor, CT, Audrey Miner of Tolland, CT, Paige Miele of Westfield, MA, Katelyn Hall of Manchester, CT, Cassidy Thompsen of Ellington, CT, Lilly Bluestein of Broad Brook, CT, Ellie Diver and Gabby Gorman both of Farmington, CT, and Kelly Beyus of Harwinton, CT.
In the ceili category, dancers compete on teams of 4, 8, 16, or in Dance Drama. The 4 and 8 hand ceilis are another passed down, traditional aspect of Irish dance. A book of 30 dances must be mastered as part of the teacher certification process and features in the competitive repertoire to preserve historic pieces of Irish dance. The 16 hands and Dance Drama competitions represent the more modern interpretations of Irish dance with new, innovative, teacher generated choreography. SRL has three four-hand ceilis; our U8s featuring Isabella Robinson, Jane Carty, Nora Carty, and Cara Williams, our U10s featuring Michael Jensen, Mairi Carchrie-Leigh, Ciara Doyle, and Angelina Mundo, and our U12s featuring Isabella Jensen, Colleen Williams, Irelyn Lash, and Audrey Miner. SRL also has a eight-hand ceili in the Under 15 section featuring Gabby Gorman, Kayla Purcell, Emily Messier, Lilly Bluestein, Ellie Diver, Paige Miele, Cassidy Thompsen, and Mary Gombos.
Competitions will be held at the Connecticut Convention Center all day November 17, 18, and 19. Admission is free for spectators and we would love your support!
Back to school is coming! Along with the paperwork, getting those back to school supplies, and the settling those first day of school jitters, it’s time to start thinking about after school activities! Most parents want to expose their children to a variety of activities while they’re young to see what their natural talents may be, allow them to experience different communities, and fill up that after school time while the homework load is light.
If you’re considering Irish dance as an activity this year, you’re probably also weighing up the risk of your picky, finicky, young one rejecting your choice. It's a common predicament, kids really can be so fickle when it comes to activities. To help with your decision, here are some popular archetypes of kids who end up loving Irish dance:
Do you know someone who fits into one of these categories? Send them this article and see if Irish dance is an activity they'd consider for this year!
SRL qualified four dancers to compete at the 2017 North American Championships in New Orleans, Louisiana from July 4 - July 9. To qualify for the North American Championships dancers must advance to the top competitive level of Irish dance, "Open Championships," or place highly enough at the regional qualifying event.
Our 2017 North American Championship qualifiers were: Rebecca Kall (Farmington) in Ladies U22, Lindsey Hoffman (Columbia) in Ladies U18, Tara Lynch (Cheshire) in Girls U17, and Colleen Williams (Hebron) in Girls U11.
Our qualifiers trained tirelessly through the spring and early summer to put their best foot forward on stage. They made our entire school so proud and the experience gained by our qualifiers has benefited both their personal growth and the growth of their classmates who hope to qualify themselves this November.
Channel 3 News was there to catch all the action on Friday for SRL's performance at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks. Passengers arriving and departing from Bradley were treated to Irish dancing in Terminal A!
Check out the live video here:
We visited WWLP in Springfield, MA this St Patrick's Day to teach co-hosts Seth and Lauren a few steps!
Check out the video here: wwlp.com/2017/03/17/irish-step-dancing-live-in-studio-one-a/
Practice is an integral part of ensuring continuous, steady progress for dancers at any level. Almost all dancers know they should practice, some actually do it, but many struggle with how to practice effectively. Whether you’re a new beginner or a seasoned champion, here are some ways to maximize your practice time:
SRL students have access to practice sheet templates and practice journal templates in our member’s area. Make sure you’re using them each week to be the best dancer YOU can be!
Have you heard the news?
From now until St Patrick's Day, SRL is including a chance to win 2 RT tickets to Dublin on Aer Lingus with every car magnet purchased from our online store! The winner (to be drawn 3/18) and a guest of their choice will receive 2 economy tickets to fly from Bradley to Dublin and back to be used on dates of their choice (some blackout dates apply). If Dublin isn't your destination du jour, you can add a ticket to almost any destination in Europe for a nominal fee. The same applies stateside if Bradley isn't your local airport; you can add a connecting flight on partner airline JetBlue to make your dream vacation to Dublin a reality!
How do you enter? Visit our online store and purchase your desired quantity of magnets (each magnet purchased = 1 ticket into the draw). We can mail them to you or have your favorite SRL dancer deliver it to you by indicating their name in the notes section. By placing your order, we will have all the contact information we need to notify you should you be drawn as our lucky winner!
Our last blog was about how dancers can make their dancing both in and out of the studio. However, a motivated and enthusiastic dancer is only part of the puzzle - for a dancer to be truly successful they need to the support of both their parents and their teacher. Today we’ll explore the role of the parent in a dancer’s training and how you can help them along the path to greatness!
Each dancer has different goals for their dance education and their goals may change over time. Your goals for the dancer may be different than the goals they set for themselves, and that’s okay too. Some dancers have the goal of making friends in class and attending the St Patrick’s Day parade. Other dancers want all of that plus making the top competitive rank of Open Champion. No matter what your dancer’s goals are or what your goals for them are as a parent, here’s how to foster and encourage them throughout their training:
Dancers, do you want to impress your teacher(s), make steady progress, or become the best you can be? Here's 5 ways you can make your teachers say WOW!
Do you want to help your tot become more confident, coordinated, and social in just 30 days? Irish dancing is a great solution for some of these worries parents frequently have about their preschoolers!
Whether your dancer is already a social butterfly or stuck to you like glue, activities that are structured as formal classes can help your youngling develop the social skills they need to tackle longer preschool days like a pro! Through structured classes, dancers learn how to respect their teacher, interact with their classmates, and behave in ways that get them noticed in a positive light.
The physical component of class puts your dancers through their paces to develop their balance, strength, flexibility, and coordinating the right and left sides of the body. And don’t forget the brain - Irish dancing is just as much of a work out for the brain! Dancers develop their pattern recognition and memories just by learning simple steps as well as improving their musicality, understanding of rhythm and timing, and the mind-body connection within us all.
The upbeat and energetic nature of Irish dancing keeps classes fun and exciting even when there’s all this learning going on! Dancers feed off this energy from week to week and improve quickly, giving them increased confidence and sense of accomplishment. This 3-5 age group soak up knowledge like sponges, are generally fearless, and love to move, making them the perfect age to start an activity like Irish dancing.
At SRL, our pre-beginner program is open to ages 3-5 in 30 minute classes. Dancers work through exercises to increase their physical coordination, balance, and strength as well as learn the basics of the reel and light jig. At the end of each class, we end with a cool down stretch to help calm their energy levels and work on flexibility. Our pre-beginners get to participate in our end of year recital, a milestone that even the shyest student can accomplish by the spring!
If you’re interested in helping your child grow more confident, coordinated, and sociable, email SRL today to come in for a free trial class!
Upon reading the title you're probably thinking one of three things:
Adults CAN take up Irish dancing even as a 20, 30, 40, 50-something, or beyond! Even studios with competitive programs for children can have recreational programs for adults too!
Irish dancing is such a great form of exercise (with adults burning up to 400 calories an hour!) that is also enjoyable and socialable. Why let the kids have all the fun?!
At SRL, our adult program is made up of students who are first time learners, "boomerangs" who danced as children, and even moms of former/current Irish dancers. These men and women range from 20 somethings to over 60, so there's room for anyone of any age to learn.
Classes consist of a mixture of styles including solo step dancing, ceili and set dancing (group dances), as well as old style sean-nos dancing so you're guaranteed to find something you love and never get bored. If you decide through your journey that you wish to pursue Irish dancing at a deeper or competitive level, we have programs for that too!
Ready to try it yet? Come along for a free trial class and see for yourself! Our adult classes are on Tuesdays in Farmington from 8-9pm and Thursdays in South Windsor from 8-9pm. Hope to see you soon!
The 2016 New England Oireachtas was held in Providence, RI from November 18-20 so New England's top dancers across three divisions could go head to head. SRL took 13 dancers and 1 team after many months of preparation, hard work, and sacrifice. Our dancers brought their best to the stage from our little first timers to our championship veterans. We had 4/5 soloists make the cut for top 50% of their age group with 3 qualifiying to the North American Championship to be held over the July 4th holiday in New Orleans, Louisiana!
Our traditional set squad consisted of almost exclusively first timers to the Oireachtas stage and their performances made us so proud! We had 3 dancers make the final cut for awards on stage with some fantastic results!
Our final division of competitors was our first ever ceili team! Our girls 4-Hand are the trailblazers for our school's ceili/teams program that will only grow from here. Teams are such an important part of Irish dancing and we hope to have all dancers experience this side of dancing in the coming years. Our team did not make the cut for awards, but they were pretty close to the recall line for a team that has only been together for a short time. Well done girls!
Next year the Oireachtas comes to our home city of Hartford! We plan to include even more first timers and teams to allow our hardworking dancers to opportunity to compete in front of a home crowd.
Our annual summer camp was Olympic themed this year, with dancers placed on teams and competing for points awarded for good sportsmanship, effort, enthusiasm, and challenge wins. Dancers worked on their dancing technique and skills, learned new steps, and participated in yoga, nutrition, and speed masterclasses. At the end of the week, dancers nominated others for individual awards such as Best Effort, Most Spirited, and Best Overall Performance. We also presented the winners of the team challenge.
Camp is every July and August with day camp options for returning students and evening options for new beginners! Save our 2017 dates - July 24-28 and August 7-11!
During the month of March, SRL dancers performed all around CT at different events, schools, libraries, media outlets, and even your local Whole Foods Market!
Among our favorites this year were NBC Connecticut on the morning of the Hartford St Patrick's Day Parade, on the ice at the Hartford Wolfpack game, on CT Style at their New Haven studio, and at Bradley International Airport as part of their Aer Lingus service to Dublin campaign.
The New England Oireachtas is the regional championships for dancers living in the six New England states. It serves as a ranking competition for dancers in all categories and for dancers who place highly enough to earn places in the 2016 North American Championships and 2016 World Championships. Dancers can compete in one of two divisions - traditional set or solo championships. In the traditional set division, dancers in the intermediate levels compete one round on stage to gain experience on the large stage to compete at the championship levels in the future.
SRL sent three traditional set dancers to the 2015 New England Oireachtas. All three placed in the top 50% of their competition to earn awards on stage. In the 17&Over age group, Siobhan Delorey of Falmouth, MA/Springfield MA placed 6th. In the Under 11 age group, Lilly Bluestein of Broad Brook earned 26th place. In the Under 9 age group, Colleen Williams of Hebron danced her way to the top of the podium earning first place!
In the solo division, where national and world qualifying places are up for grabs, dancers compete two rounds before a final cut is made to determine the final places. All three SRL dancers recalled to the final round and were eligible for awards (in most competitions, this includes the top 50% of competitors). In the Under 19 age group, Rebecca Kall of Farmington, CT recalled and ranked 9th to earn a berth to the North American Championships in Orlando, FL this July. In the Under 16 age group, Lindsey Hoffman of Columbia, CT placed 38th and will join Rebecca at the North American Championships. In the Under 15 age group, Tara Lynch placed 45th and is eager to join Kall & Hoffman in Orlando.
In May, SRL held our first spring Showcase at the Irish American Home Society in Glastonbury, CT. The Showcase included performances by all SRL dancers, dinner & dessert for our families and friends, some ceili dancing, and fabulous raffle prizes donated by sponsors in our local community and the Irish dance community. The Showcase also served as a major fundraising event for the SRL Parent's Association which supports our dancers by providing stipends for costumes, competition, travel, and equipment. We are already looking forward to next year's event!
After the Showcase, dancers finished the final classes of the year before a well earned summer break. For some of our dancers, these classes were the final push before departing for the North American Irish Dance Championships held in Providence, Rhode Island. The NAIDC is an international major competition that serves as a qualifier for the World Championships in 2016. Dancers compete against the best from the USA, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, UK, Australia, and further afield for qualifying positions. Two SRL dancers represented us at the 2015 NAIDC, Brigid Cazzetta and Lindsey Hoffman. Brigid placed 16th and qualified for the World Championships and Lindsey danced beautifully at her first major debut. We are so proud of them and can't wait to see how Team SRL does at the upcoming New England Oireachtas in November.
St. Patrick's Day is our Superbowl of performances! We perform at dozens of locations around Central CT for various audiences to spread our love of Irish dance with our community. A very special performance this year was at Bradley International Airport where dancers performed for arriving and departing passengers and handed out green carnations in the spirit of the day. There to catch all of the action was FOX CT News, the Hartford Courant, and Channel 3. In case you missed it, here are some of our media features:
FOX CT News: http://foxct.com/2015/03/17/on-st-patricks-day-bradley-airport-steps-up-for-the-irish/
For some December is a time to start winding down in time for Christmas, but at SRL we were busy spreading some holiday cheer! Dancers performed at Waxy O'Connor's Restaurant & Pub in Plainville for the launch of weekly Irish nights, held on Tuesday evenings. For many dancers at our Farmington location this was their first ever public performance; while there were confessions of a few nervous butterflies prior to the show all the dancers came off stage buzzing with excitement, adrenaline, and pride!
Next we headed to the Avon Public Library where we performed a holiday themed finale after a great showcase of talent from our smallest to tallest dancers. We had a large group of dancers performing and their performance skills & confidence continue to grow with each new experience dancing in front of an audience!
We have added a class for new beginners on Fridays from 6:00-7:00pm! This class will begin following our Winter Break and run through June 26. To request more information or register, please contact Courtney at Scoil Rince Luimni.
Dancers at Scoil Rince Luimni have been off to a fabulous start to their 2014-15 year! Here are some highlights from the first 12 weeks of classes:
SRL is so proud of our beginners who danced at their first competitions this fall. Each dancer who danced in the Beginner category this fall won all of their dances for a total of seven firsts over three competitions. We can't wait for the rest of our beginners to dance at their first competitions this winter.
Sporting the red, white, & Black:
We were all very excited to receive our new SRL merchandise this fall! Students proudly sport their red, white, and black in class and around town in a selection of tops, jackets, & hoodies!
Performance is an integral part of the student experience at Scoil Rince Luimni. Students gain experience and confidence while giving back to their local communities when performing at events, demonstrations, and festivals. If you want to catch our next performance, get on our email list for all of our upcoming appearances!
Summer is over, kids are back in school, and now we're back to dance! The 2014-15 season of Irish dance classes at Scoil Rince Luimni has officially begun! Last week SRL welcomed new students and caught up with returning students to kick off the new year. The year is still young and SRL will allow open enrollment for any of the beginner classes offered in Farmington or South Windsor until we're full. Free trial classes are offered in both locations to new beginners, but please email or call to arrange your trial class prior to your arrival. Prospective students can request an information pack at any time, no strings attached.
SRL hopes to see you soon!
SRL wants boys to give Irish dancing a try to see just how fun and physically demanding it can be! Still not convinced?
A former Irish dancer has written a great article on his blog about why Irish dancing (or any dancing for that matter!) is a worthwhile activity for boys and men.
His experience in Irish dance taught him that it's masculine and athletic. Irish dance in particular is very physically demanding, on par with your typical sports, but is also a very manly form of dance. Male Irish dancers must dance with strength, sharpness, and power. The author also learned many skills beyond steps and technique, just as I try to do at SRL. He says that Irish dance taught him chivalry, confidence, cultural awareness, and self-awareness. These are important skills for any young man to discover, and what better way than an artistic sport? He also acknowledges the many opportunities Irish dancing affords young boys and men. Due to the smaller ratio of boys to girls in Irish dancing, boys often move up the competitive ranks faster, have more opportunities to tour with shows like Riverdance and Lord of the Dance, and are always popular with the female dancers later in life! Irish dancing also gives both young men and women the chance to travel the world, the country, or your own backyard and make lifelong friendships.
So why not give Irish dancing a try this year? Your first semester is free, so you have nothing to lose! I hope to see you soon at SRL!
Article full text: http://theirishatheist.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/ten-reasons-to-let-your-boy-dance/
On July 1, the Avon Library hosted Scoil Rince Luimni's launch event to "Kick Off the Summer in Irish Style!" The event was well attended by library patrons who enjoyed our sounds and steps. This event also coincided with the start of the "Fizz, Boom, Read!" summer reading challenge. All attendees enjoyed a performance featuring Courtney Jay, the owner and teacher of SRL Irish Dance Academy. Our audience members were then invited up to learn a step with us, enter our raffle, and enjoy some SRL strawberry skewers!
Fun was had by all and I hope to see some of you in class this fall!
Find all of our latest news on our Scoil Rince Luimni Facebook page!