Teaching my First Masterclass
This week I got to do something a little different. I had the opportunity to teach my first masterclass which I was really excited about.
A masterclass is were we meet with a local dance group or school. We teach the group some Riverdance steps and we get to chat with them and answer their questions. The event is arranged by our promoter weeks in advance.
Dancers Lauren, James and I arrived at the Toyota Centre in Kennewick, Washington and we were greeted by two dance schools. Dance Connection with their teacher Miss Wendy and The Dance Class with their teacher Miss Patty -About 50 people in total.
We began with a short introduction and then a warm up to some pop music. Next we taught the iconic Riverdance number that everyone is eager to learn! The dancers were aged from 6 to 50 years old, all from the local area and were trained in Tap and Jazz – so their style was a little different to ours.
Traditionally Irish dancing has very little movement of the body from the waist up and arms are held straight by our sides. In most other forms of dance the arms are loose and free flowing with more movement and twist in the upper body. It was interesting to see how the dancers adapted to our style. Everyone wore their own dance shoes which differ slightly from our Irish dance shoes. Our heavy shoes have tips and heals on them that are generally made from fibreglass. Their shoes had what seemed to be a tap show tip and heal but the shoe itself looked like our shoe.
We taught the Riverdance number, first slowly, then a little bit faster…. then to the full speed with the music. You don’t realise how fast we actually dance the number until you put the music on, and it’s FAST! We arranged everyone into two long lines to preform the dance as we do on stage, in a straight line and holding hands. Everyone had fun and seemed to really enjoy it with a lot of people asking ” How do you guys dance it so fast?” and ” Do you ever kick each other?” The answer to the second question is Yes sometimes but not intentionally” It’s actually a good thing because it means our cuts are nice and sharp and up to your waist! Although not good for someone that gets a tip from the heel of your shoe! Ouch! Hehe!
The session finished with a question and answer session. Some really good questions were asked and a really innocent question too! One from a little girl who asked ” Have you always had your Irish accent?” We all had a little laugh at that one but it was all good cause she said that she loved our accents!
I really enjoyed teaching the class. For us, dancing is our passion and something which we have dedicated our lives to doing. It is great to be able to share our experiences and skills to not only younger Irish dancers but also with dancers from other dance forms who are trying Irish Dance for the first time.
The masterclass students came to the show at the Toyota Centre, Kennewick that evening. They certainly seemed to enjoy the show! – We could hear all their cheers from the audience!
Thank you for taking part and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!
NBC were at the Toyota Centre to record the class and an interview with me for the local news!
Ambition Performing Arts Studio, Calgary
Last week Brendan and Ciara also held a master class at the Ambition Performing Arts Studio in Calgary and I’ve got some really cute photos of the day!