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The Influence Of Irish Dance In Other Sports & Hobbies

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Ally Giannini is an Open Champion dancer for the Lenihan School of Irish Dance as well as a student at Fairfield University. She loves keeping updated on all things Irish Dance. For more from Ally, follow her on twitter @ally_geeniee019.

I am sure many of us have seen Jason Brown’s long program from the 2014 US Figure Skating Championships. Just in case you haven’t seen it, here it is. Jason performed to an iconic song from Riverdance that we all know so well,  “Reel Around the Sun.” When I watched his fantastic performance, I was reminded of the first time I saw Riverdance when I was five years old. By some twist of fate my mother got us tickets in the fourth row and I fell in love with Irish Dance and begged her to sign me up for lessons the next day. Now, fifteen years later the infectious music of Riverdance has captured the hearts of people in America again. Jason Brown’s synthesizes beautiful figure skating with some nods to Irish Dance steps, such as his heel click, which I do in my hornpipe!

Irish Dance has also been integrated into Zumba, a very popular fitness dance style. Over the summer I performed at a festival that had many different booths promoting businesses around the city. One of these booths was for a Zumba class. As my dance friends and I walked by this booth in our wigs and dresses, the Zumba instructors stopped us and told us that they had an Irish Dancing song that they often use in their class. We ended up doing an impromptu performance near their booth to their Zumba reel. Also, recently one of my college friends purchased a Zumba game for her Wii U that has several Irish Dance/Zumba routines which is pretty cool.

These are just a few examples of how Irish Dancing is spreading and influencing other sports. It makes me so excited when I hear stories like this because I feel that it gets people outside of the Irish Dancing world interested in the Irish Dancing. This helps people understand why we do what we do. Where else do you see the influence of Irish Dance?


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