Christy: Do you have any fun or comical stories about Irish dancing together?
Jair: We got into swing dance because we did an Irish dance exhibition at a swing dance event and fell in love with that style. There is a cabaret division in swing dance competitions so when we started competing in swing, we always entered an Irish choreography in the cabaret division. One competition had a crazy competition where you put together a spontaneous group, and in 3 days choreographed a number to perform. We took about 15 swing dancers and did a number from Riverdance. In 3 days we taught them how to Irish dance, made costumes and put on a great show, brought the house down - and won the competition. Never had more fun!
Christy: What advice can you give to a beginning Irish dancer?
Jessica and Jair: Embrace the whole culture - the music, dance, history, and the older generation. Listen to all the great Irish bands, and learn to play an Irish instrument. Even if you don't become an Irish musician, play some kind of drum so you become really good at rhythm. If you ever get a chance to take a class with Colin Dunne - do it! He will take your dancing to a whole new level. Baby your feet and try to avoid injuries.
Some parting thoughts from Jair:
One of our family goals in Irish dance and music is to bring back the social element. Live music with social ceili dancing is so much fun and very few competitive Irish dancers ever get the chance to do it. Last year our band played at the North American Irish Dance Championships in Chicago each evening before awards. It created such a fun atmosphere that dancers spontaneously got up on stage and started dancing. There were probably close to 100 dancers on stage at once. We hope to inspire Irish dance events to include social dancing opportunities for all the competitors and their families. Dancing should always be about meeting other people and having fun!
The Willis Clan Dance Drama at World Irish Dance 2013:
The Willis Clan premieres June 27 at 8p/7c on Great American Country (GAC).
All photos courtesy of Great American Country channel.
Readers: Are you an adult Irish dancer or a dance school, competitive or not, with a story to share? Would you like to inspire others to feel your passion for Irish dancing and culture? Do you have a question about Irish dancing? Please visit www.christydorrity.com.