Collegiate adult Irish dancers Rince Diabhal at Duke University
in North Carolina
Photo: Flickr/RinceDiabhal

In 2009 a group of Irish dancers began Rince Diabhal, an Irish dance and culture club at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. "There's no reason Irish dancing has to end in college even though many people have to leave their respective dance schools," says Hannah Gold, one of the founders and Rince Diabhal's president, "Rince Diabhal's founders did not want to give up Irish dance, so they brought it withthem."

Megan Tisdale serves as the collegiate club's coach. Tisdale, who often performs with the group, began her own dancing career in 1981 with the late Ann Richens, ADCRG (certified Irish dance teacher and adjudicator) and competed for the Richens-Timm Academy of Irish Dance.

Rince Diahbal means "dancing devil" in Gaelic and as the name implies, these dancers are a whirlwind on campus. They are in high demand for dance showcases at the university and are fast taking on performances off campus. Gold says, "Our performances are received extremely well, and interest in our dance team has grown exponentially." The group enjoys working with a talented musician group for their practices and performances and collaborating with other dance clubs for varied choreography. See for yourself in the unique Irish/Indian fusion dancing video below.

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Dancers in Rince Diabhal range from never-danced-before newbies to competitive open champions. A few of the dancers attend a certified school and participated in Oireachtas (a regional Irish dance competition) in 2011. All of the dances are choreographed by the members of the club. Currently, Rince Diabhal are only extracurricular, but may expand to offer for-credit classes in the future.

Rince Diabhal adult Irish dancers
Photo: courtesy Kyla Casey

"Full inclusion, but no requirements," is the dance club's motto, meaning that all members are invited to perform if they feel comfortable but are never required.

Coach Tisdale encourages all adults to try Irish dancing: "We invite anyone with an interest in Irish Dance and Culture to check out a school or a club in your area. You will find amazing people and unlock talents you didn't even know you had!"
Irish/Indian fusion by Rince Diahbal
Photo: Flickr/RinceDiahbal

For more information about the Rince Diabhal dancers, please visit them on the Rince Diabhal website.

Readers: Do you attend a collegiate Irish dance club? Does the option of having an Irish dance program influence your decision when choosing a college?

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