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Celtic Evening offers colourful Irish dancing

Published on

Cathy Dobson 

Irish dancing has gone mainstream in recent years since big touring shows like Riverdance began attracting millions of people from every ethnic background.

But the traditions of the Irish reel, the toe-tapping tunes and the fancy footwork have always been a part of Mairin Ring’s life.

Ring, who moved to Canada from Ireland when she was 28, has been a part of the Sarnia School of Irish Dance since it started in 1997.

“The dancing we do is quite traditional,” says Ring. “It’s similar to what people see in the Riverdance but we try to be more graceful.

“Riverdance tends to speed up the music but ours is just a little bit slower.”

That being said, Sarnia School of Irish Dance frequently takes popular tunes, like Simon and Garfunkel’s Cecilia, and adapts them.

“A lot of our dancers don’t have Irish heritage. They are interested in it for the dance itself,” Ring said. “The music is very lively, very catchy and known for its visual movement.”

Each of the 40 members at the school – ages three years to adult – wear hand embroidered costumes with traditional capes when they perform.

It’s a colourful, uplifting experience, said Ring.

The school has staged an annual show for the past 16 years that brings hundreds of fans to the Imperial Theatre on Christina Street.

This year’s Celtic Evening is Saturday, May 9. Several local performers will join the school’s Irish dancers on stage including the Scottish Highland Dancers, Trevor McKinnon on the bagpipes, singer Jim Leahy, and fiddlers Caitlin Mason and Sabrina Rankin.

Special guests based out of London known as Rant, Maggie, Rant will also perform, accompanied at times by the school’s students. See http://www.rantmaggierant.com/  for details.

Sarnia School of Irish Dance is a not-for-profit organization that relies on a team of senior dancers trained by former champion Anita De Pooter of Port Lambton.  Classes are held Saturday afternoon at the Sarnia Kinsmen Centre on Lakeshore Road at Colborne.

Students perform throughout the year at seniors’ residences, nursing homes and other local community events such as Canada Day in Canatara Park. More information about the local school can be found on Facebook or by visiting http://sarniaschoolofirishd.wix.com/ance.


WHAT? A Celtic Evening with the Sarnia School of Irish Dance

WHEN? Saturday, May 9 at 7 p.m.

WHERE? Imperial Theatre on Christina Street

TICKETS? $15 (adults); $12 (children and seniors)

Sarnia School of Irish Dance members Kelsey Dentinger and Fiona Doherty perform a soft shoe reel. Submitted Photo.

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