Healthy Irish Dancing by Kathleen M. Madigan
Touching hearts with sign language and Irish dance
Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 08:00 AM
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The other day, I had the privilege of performing my signature dance, “Book of Days,” which I discussed in my last post, at an Italian festival. Several people commented on how it had touched their hearts and souls. I know of two people in the audience who had tears in their eyes.
My instructors, Dawn and Jacque Parker of the Irish Stars Parker School of Irish Dance, and I recently re-choreographed a few sections to incorporate a deeper sense of my journey and my thankful heart for having Irish dance in my life. With so many people doing hand dancing to help memorize steps, we thought it would be a good idea to incorporate sign language into my routine.
There is a point in Enya’s song when I simplify my steps and focus more on my hands as I sign “Thank you God. Thank you for my journey. Thank you for my dance.” While we all know hands aren’t supposed to be used in the traditional form of the art, I feel as though my entire being is drawn into a place of peaceful wholeness with my new choreography.
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That day, I saw my dance as a gift not only for me, but also for all those who told me I had touched them in a special way. I heard words such as “calm,” “beauty,” “peace.” All of which are very important to me. After all, aren’t we all here to touch the lives of one another in a special way? I am so fortunate that it can be through Irish dance.
Have you tried incorporating sign language into any of your Irish dance choreography? Share your experience in the comments below.
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