At Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, students have an opportunity to pursue Irish dancing in their college education.  The Irish dance program, headed by Kathleen M. Flanagan, Ph. D., is part of the dance minor offered in the school’s theater and dance department.  Any student can take individual classes, or pursue career in Irish dancing.

            Flanagan, who is also a certified Irish dance teacher (T.C.R.G), suggested to the department that they include a few courses in Irish dance. “The intention was to provide an opportunity for Irish dancers who wanted to continue Irish dance while at university,” Flanagan says. “Our goal was to offer a comprehensive look at Irish dance using the requirements of the T.C.R.G. exam.”

Kathleen Flanagan, Ph.D., T.C.R.G

            Originally from the Chicago area, Flanagan took dance from legendary teacher Pat Roche and obtained her T.C.R.G in 1976.  When she moved to Minnesota she decided to continue teaching in order to foster an appreciation for Irish dance and culture. “I always say that I have been doing ‘evangelization work’ in southern Minnesota," Flanagan says.

            Students who wish to continue their Irish dance education can find what they are looking for at Saint Mary’s University.  The dance department offers 3 ceili classes, two courses on Irish dance pedagogy, and classes on traditional and contemporary sets and music.  Students are encouraged to take other courses offered in the dance minor, including dance history, composition, anatomy & kinesiology, and nutrition.

            To date, three students are involved in the “irish track”, and there are more than 25 others who have entered the program because they want to stay involved with Irish dance and may consider teaching in the future.  Flanagan notes,  “Even though we have not had a tremendous response in terms of enrollment numbers, we plan to keep the program in place, at least for the next several years.”

The Irish dance program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota gives dancers a chance to continue their Irish dance education. Students who complete the program will be fully prepared to take the Irish dance teacher examination (T.C.R.G. exam). 

For more information, go to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota's website

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