The Divine Providence Village Rainbow Irish Step Dancers are eagerly awaiting their first public performance. It’s hard to tell who is more excited, the nine amazing developmentally challenged women who make up this extraordinary group, or myself, their instructor.

Since I started volunteering to teach Irish dancing to these women last January, I have watched them grow in ability and confidence. And now, thanks to Dawn and Jacque Parker, owners and instructors of the Irish Stars Parker School of Irish Dance, where I am a student, these amazing women will have an opportunity to perform. Dawn and Jacque very graciously invited them to be a part of our Christmas recital on Dec. 11 in Bethlehem, PA.

Words can’t describe their excitement. They know they are dancing in Santa hats and can’t wait to wear them. They don’t know where Bethlehem is, but they can’t wait to get there. And they’re so enthusiastic at all of the practices we are already having for the show. For these ladies, Dec. 11 can’t come fast enough.

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When I changed the music from the traditional reels we use for practice, to “Christmas in Killarney,” they lit up like Christmas trees. As usual, their excitement brought tears to my eyes. Because of their disabilities and challenges, their steps will probably never be perfect. But these ladies will show all who are fortunate enough to see them, that dancing doesn’t just involve the feet. It also takes a whole lot of heart and soul.

I will be taking plenty of photos that I will share after the recital and have no doubt you might find a tear or two of joy in your own eyes when you see them.

Even though Halloween hasn’t even happened yet, check out this Bing Crosby version of “Christmas in Killarney” to start getting you in the holiday spirit…

Are you preparing for any special holiday Irish dance performances? Share in the comments below.

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