Irish Dance in Bucks County Pa…

With the world-wide success of Riverdance and more recently Lord of the Dance, Irish dancing schools in Ireland and North America are filling up with young students wanting to learn the dancing styles that brought Jean Butler and Michael Flatley international fame.

Brittany Schmid saw Riverdance when she was four-years-old and fell in love. Her mother signed her up for classes, she went on to compete and win and now her dream of opening her own dance school is coming true!

Riverdance the final performance

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The Sweeney Academy will open later this month in Huntington Valley, Pa.

Blog Post Irish Dance 3

Interview with Brittany

What do you know about the history of Irish Dance?

 Irish dancing started around the 18th and 19th century. Dance masters would travel to Ireland to teach. Due to the lack of space, they were limited to dancing in small areas. Because of this, they had to keep their arms by their side. This is why Irish dancers don’t move their arms. The British also banned dancing, so the Irish would actually close the bottom part of their door and take the top part off and dance on it. When soldiers would walk by, they couldn’t tell that they were dancing since they were only using their feet, not arms.

What is the history of Irish Dance in America?

When the potato famine hit Ireland, many immigrants came to America. When they came, they taught Irish dancing to the communities.

What interested you in learning to dance?

 Michael Flatley’s Riverdance came out when I was 4 years old. I would dress up in my Irish dance costume and dance to it and quickly fell in love. My mom signed me up for an after school enrichment program for Irish dance and I’ve been doing it ever since.

Michael Flatley – Lord of the dance finale

Michael Flatley’s best performance

How old were you when you started? How old were you when you first competed?

 I started dancing when I was about 4 years old and did my first competition at the age of 7. I ended up competing for about 17 years. I would have loved to have danced a little longer, but I had to retire due to injuries that required surgery.

Blog post Irish Dance Brittany

Brittany

 

What was it like when you competed and what were your achievements?

 When I was younger, it was more traditional. I did the St. Patrick’s Day parade every year in Philadelphia and many performances around the area. I loved competing though. Even when I was younger I loved improving and moving up levels at competitions. The older I got, the more I realized how much of a sport it was. I would practice 6-7 times a week and had a notebook to write down any corrections I was given at class that was a tremendous help.

I went to the Broesler School of Irish dance and had amazing teachers who believed in me and helped me achieve my goals. I was 5th two years in a row at the Mid-Atlantic Region Oireachtas, 14th at the North American Nationals, 12th at the All Irelands and 17th at the Worlds which was the 3rd highest ranking among all North American dancers in my age group.

Will you teach competition level?

My goal is to have a competitive school. In order to have a competitive Irish dance school, you must take the T.C.R.G exam (Teastas Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha). This is a test run by the Irish Dancing Commission (An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha). Once you past the test, you are then allowed to have your school compete at feisanna (competitions).

What has been the most challenging part of opening your business?

The most challenging part has been getting students. It can be difficult to get parents to sign up for classes when you are a brand new school. Being persistent with advertising and reaching out to people has definitely helped.

What has been the most fun?

 The most fun part of opening the school, has been seeing it actually become a reality. I’ve had this in my head for such a long time now and even had a notebook of everything I wanted to do, so seeing it unfold has been amazing.

For more information…

The school website is www.thesweeneyacademy.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thesweeneyacademy

Email Address is sweeneyacademy@gmail.com

There are currently 2 specials. If they register now, they get their first class free and if they refer a friend who registers, they get one month of classes free.

We are currently having classes at 1964 County Line Road, Huntingdon Valley, Pa 19006. Our phone number is 215-944-8954

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I met Brittany through her Dad, Author  D.P. Curran. For more Irish awesomeness check out his author page:

https://www.facebook.com/DanielPatrickCurran/?pnref=story

 

 

 

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