Geraldine Ryan was one of the first Irish dance teachers recognized outside of Ireland.
Geraldine Ryan, a native of Melbourne in Australia, is putting people half her age to shame as she maintains a busy schedule teaching Irish dancing, something she’s done for around 75 years.
ABC Australia recently caught up with the energetic octogenarian who is teaching Irish dancers a fraction of her age.
In her youth, Ryan became a Victorian and Australian Irish dance champion and holds the distinction of being the first Australian to compete at the All Ireland Irish Dance Championships. Later, Ryan went on to become the first person outside Ireland and England to gain registration with CLRG, achieving both her TCRG teaching qualification and ADCRG judging certificate.
In 2013, Ryan was presented with the prestigious Gradam Award at the World Irish Dancing Championships which were hosted that year in Boston in the US.
Ryan continues to teach across seven different locations in Victoria, Australia at her O'Shea-Ryan Academy of Irish Dance.
When asked why she still does it, Ryan simply says: "I suppose it's in your blood, and it helps if you're mad!"
"It was always drummed into me that if you have some knowledge or some talent or something, it's your duty to pass it on. And if you have a culture, it's your duty to pass it on."
Check out 89-year-old Irish dance teacher Geraldine Ryan here, courtesy of ABC Australia:
85 years of Irish Dance. Geraldine Ryan | Back Roads
Gearldine Ryan has been teaching Irish dance in Australia for 77 years. First seen on the dance floor in 1935, the 89-year-old still runs seven classes across Victoria every week. #Backroads #VictoriaPubliée par ABC Australia sur Lundi 13 janvier 2020
You can keep up to date with Geraldine Ryan and her Irish dance school The O'Shea-Ryan Academy of Irish Dance on Facebook.
Irish Dance on IrishCentral - Are you an Irish dancer or just love Irish dance? Keep in touch with Irish dancers around the world with our IrishCentral Irish dance group.
* Originally published in Jan 2020.