Eye on KELOLAND: Dancing around the globe


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – When you think of the word Irish, you probably think of Ireland, shamrocks, or even the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. But what about Irish dancing? For some Sioux Falls dancers, it’s something they dedicate a lot of time and effort to.

“Irish dance is a lot of hard work,” dancer, 14 years, Stella Larson said.

Hard work that these Celtic Steps dancers take seriously.

“Training constantly, doing everything we can to improve, Lauren and I, and Ellie, Rylie, and Stella, we do a lot of stuff at home like core, excercises to build our strength and stamina,” dancer, Grace Swain said. “Basically we devote our lives to this sport, it’s really fun, it can be frustrating sometimes.”

Lauren Swain is the studio lead and a lead teacher for the group.

“What’s different than all the other types of dance is we don’t use our arms so they stay by our sides really tight,” studio lead, lead teacher, Lauren Swain said.

But that’s not all, the dancers also wear special shoes.

“We have a hard shoe which is clunky and makes a lot of noise so that is kind of similar tap because we are making a bunch of beats on the ground and making it really loud, and then we have shoes called soft shoes which is more like ballet, so it’s kind of light and flowy,” Lauren Swain said.

Along with this fancy footwork, you’ll also see a number of tricks.

“We do a lot of tricks, so we will do where we kick our legs up or we leap really high, or we do a lot of pieces where we spin, you twist your feet a lot, things like that,” Lauren Swain said.

These are just a few of the moves that the dancers practice weekly to get ready for feises, or competitions.

“The reason we practice so much is to get ready for these feises where you go and compete against dancers from other schools, and then it’s just like any other dance competition where you get a placing and then an opportunity to move up to higher levels,” Lauren Swain said.

And all that work is paying off. Four local dancers have qualified for the world championships in Dublin.

“They are among the top dancers in their age groups and they all qualified at regionals, so among the best dancers in that region, there are some of the best that get to go compete,” Lauren Swain said.

Those four dancers are Rylie Brison, Ellie Maddox, Grace Swain, and Stella Larson.

“I’m practicing almost everyday and I only take one rest day during the week, but I’m not only dancing, but I’m also doing exercises and stuff to get stronger,” dancer, Rylie Brison said.

“I try to practice every single day and if I need to I will take a day off for rest and I just try to perfect my dances,” dancer, Ellie Maddox said.

And through countless practices, these dancers consider themselves more than just friends.

“It’s like a big family that you get to dance with and have lots of fun and share lots of memories,” Maddox said.

“I would encourage other people to start Irish dance, it’s fun, and like I said it is a lot of hard work but yeah it’s fun and you meet a lot of new people and get to go to a lot of different places,” Larson said.

And dancing is something the girls see themselves doing for years to come.

“It’s a lot of fun and I know I’m talking about that it’s a lot of hard work but it is also so much fun and I wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t fun,” Brison said.

“It’s really fun, I really enjoy it, I think it’s a part of my life now that I think if I would stop it would feel like something was missing,” Grace Swain said.

To learn more about Irish dancing and Celtic Steps, click here.

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