St Patrick’s Day for an Irish Dancer is truly a holiday like no other. For our community, it feels like a day where we can give the rest of the world a glimpse into our captivating (albeit rhinestone studded!) bubble; a day especially for us to share our beautiful art form with everyone worldwide. For it is a worldwide phenomenon and even as we were forced to enter into our second St Patrick’s Day in lockdown here in Ireland, our OMG family are lucky enough to be able to spread the Paddy’s Day cheer across the pond in America as we watched from our laptops, cheering on our dancers in Chicago and Minneapolis and feeling a rising sense of hope that we can still share what we love doing on our big day.
We saw the joy felt by both the public and the dancers as they laced up their shoes, blasted their reels and donned their gear-this year accompanied by the newest trend of the Irish Dancing world-our matching embroidered OMG face masks. We sensed the electric atmosphere of complete elation as people clapped to the beat and cheered and we felt pure, undiluted pride as we saw some of our youngest dancers take on their first ever live performance- there could never be a more iconic overture.
As the Chicago river ran green for the big day, the only green we could see in Ireland was the ‘start audio’ button on our zoom call. But our dancers we were determined to celebrate their day, and so, with smiles and their usual can-do attitude, they stepped into their lockdown dance spaces and recorded each of their dances; knowing that if this new age was to be defined by video calls, audio messages and social media, then as long as they had a camera, they would dance and perform for the world to see.
Seeing a virtual St Patrick’s Day evokes a feeling like none other. The knowledge that as long as the spirit of the Irish Dancing community is felt by its members, we can continue to smile and persevere in the face of these daunting times. As we see the true resilience of every single dancer from toddler to adult, we know that the future of our beautiful art form is in safe hands. We look to the future with hope, in the knowledge that when the world gives us our stage back, we will be ready to dance.
Here’s to St Patrick’s Day 2022- our great national holiday and the day the whole world will wish they were Irish.
Written by Brian Geraghty A.D.C.R.G