I have created this page because I am proud of my heritage. My ancestors came from
Ireland, as well as England, Scotland, and perhaps other countries as well. However,
my family is involved mostly in the (rather large) Irish community here in Calgary. My
younger sister and I belong to an Irish Dancing school here called Ard Na Greine
(Gaelic for "The height of the sun") which is under the direction of Sally
Houston and Kim Kinash (nee Houston). As well, my entire family enjoys Celtic music,
and my parents even help to co-ordinate a local show called Celtic Folk, which
is put on several times each year and features local amateur (and one or two
professional) celtic groups.
In my opinion, the most interesting aspect of Irish culture is the dancing, which I
began studying and competing nearly thirteen years ago, when I was six years old. My
sister and I have had the opportunity to travel to Irish Dancing competitions ( in
Gaelic a competition is called a Feis, pronounced FESH) throughout North
America, and in April 1996, I competed in the World Championships in Dublin, Ireland.
I was a member of an eight-person team that placed seventh in the Senior Ladies (16 and
older) category. We received a medal, a feat which we think had never before been
accomplished by a Western Canadian team.
More recently, I competed in the 1997 North American Irish Dance Championships,
which were held in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. I danced in an eight-person team that
placed second in the Senior Ladies category, equalling our performance at the 1996
North American Championships in Boston. I was also a member of a sixteen-person team
called a Teacher's Choreography, which placed first in the Senior Ladies category. The
majority of the dancers in our choreography had never been a part of a winning team in
this category, so it was definitely an exciting and memorable experience. At the 1998
North American Championships in Orlando, Florida, we managed to defend our title, which
was also a thrilling experience.
Recently, the world has been exposed to Irish Dancing through the Riverdance
and Lord of the Dance shows. The success of these shows has been phenomenal,
and both currently have troupes touring the world. The Riverdance began as a
cultural presentation at Eurovision, and starred Michael Flatley and Jean Butler. The
presentation was so popular that a full-length show was developed, and began to tour.
More recently, Michael Flatley left Riverdance to form Lord of the Dance,
which has also been incredibly successful. Both shows are wonderfully entertaining,
and well worth watching (or buying, if you want to watch them again and again). The
dancing in Riverdance and Lord of the Dance has also been instrumental in
creating a worldwide awareness of Irish Dancing, so people finally know what I'm
talking about when I say I 'm an Irish dancer.
This is my team at the 1996 World Irish Dancing Championships in Dublin,
Ireland. I'm in the front row, at the far right.
Disclaimer: This page is a project undertaken by Dianne Smith, and has no
affiliation with Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, or anyone else mentioned herein.
This page is not intended to infringe upon properties held by any of the above
individuals or organizations. This is a personal web page and as such is not intended
to make a profit in any way.