Sheila Stevens, TCRG/ADCRG established the Shamrock School of Irish Dance in 1977, when her daughters' Irish dance teacher moved out of State to Florida. In 1980, Sheila secured her official certification as both a TCRG and ADCRG, with the Coimisiun le Rince Gaelacha, the certifying board in Dublin,Ireland.
Sheila is very active in the New England Region, having co-chaired several New England Regional Oireachti, as well as serving on the executive board as Regional Director. She is also a member of the IDTANA (Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America), has served as past President of that organization, and has co-chaired three North America Championship events.
Shannon Barry, TCRG started her Irish step dancing experience at age four (4). Shannon was a very successful competitive dancer throughout North America , winning consistently at the New England Regional Championships and at various solo and Preliminary Championships. Shannon has been teaching with her mother at the Shamrock School for the past 29 years, giving the full measure of her talents to the Shamrock School dancers. In October 2000, Shannon secured her TCRG, with the Coimisiun, in Dublin Ireland , the certifying board for Irish Dance teachers.
Caitriona Johnson, TCRG certified with the Commission in Ireland, Caitriona is an accomplished dancer. She has placed consistently in the Open Championships, and has placed in the National Championships and Worlds. Caitriona is part of the Shamrock School as a part time instructor.
A Little History of Irish Step Dancing
By many accounts, the modern form of Irish dancing dates back to the appearance of Dance Masters about 1750. Forerunners of today's Irish dancing teachers, they typically traveled within a county, teaching their repertoire of dance steps and participating in competitions with other Dance Masters. Each step is eight measures or bars of music, hence the term step dancing.
Beginning dancers first learn the soft shoe dances. Girls and women wear soft shoes, or gillies. Boys and men usually dance the soft shoe dances in shoes with hard soles. All dancers use hard shoes with a sort of tap on the toe and heel for hard shoe dances.
Students soon learn two steps for the reel and two more for the light jig. Both women and men dance the reel to music in 4/4 time. As students advance and learn more complicated steps, the dance takes on lots of kicks and leaps. The light jig, and another soft shoe dance, the single jig, are danced to music in 6/8 time. The graceful slip jig, danced only by girls and women, is in 9/8 time. In the tradition of the dancing masters, each Irish dancing school develops its own steps to be used in each of the dance types.
After a student has mastered several soft shoe dances, s/he moves on to learn hard shoe dances such as the hornpipe, treble jig, and traditional set dances.
Competition is a major component of today's Irish dance world. A competition is known as a feis (pronounced "fesh", plural feiseanna, "fesh-anna") and usually sponsored by a local dancing school or Irish cultural association. Dancers advance to participate in regional competitions known as Oireachtas(pronounced "o-rach-tas") and at the highest levels to the World Championships in Ireland (Oireachtas na Cruinne). While competition among the young dancers is keen, the bottom line is that for each of them Irish dancing is FUN, and a link to their Irish heritage
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