EHS students dance their way to St. Patrick’s Day

Ana McMahon, Sports Editor

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, so do the many Irish activities that are celebrated along with it, including Irish dance. Throughout the metro area there are over 15 Irish dance schools, with some dancers of these schools going to Eagan, including Julia Amerongen, a junior and Cece Hodges, a sophomore.


Julia Amerongen is a junior at EHS and is also an Irish dancer, currently dancing with Mulhern School of Irish Dance. “My favorite part is definitely having the hard work pay off at competitions,” Amerongen said. “There isn’t a better feeling than having your goal accomplished.”


Amerongen is a competitive Irish dancer who has been dancing for almost 9 years. She competes in competitions called feises, dancing in both solo rounds and team rounds. “There are both team and individual aspects of this sport. In solo dancing, you must have power, grace, strength and agility. In teams you must dance in time with everyone else which is always a challenge,” says Amerongen.


Throughout the Irish dance community many schools can either be competition based, performance based, or both. Amerongen is with a competition based school. “My biggest accomplishment would be qualifying for the Open Championship level, which is the highest level a CLRG* Irish dancer can be,” Amerongen said.


Meanwhile, Cece Hodges, a sophomore at EHS sees a totally different side of Irish dance, being a dancer at Rince Na Chroi, a performance based school. Hodges has been Irish dancing for 10 years. “My favorite part of Irish dance would be performing because it’s really cool to see dances come together on stage and see all our hard work pay off,” said Hodges. “I also really like our costumes and wigs because it’s not like any other type of dance and it’s what sets us apart,” Hodges added.


“The biggest misconception with Irish dance is probably that it is the same as Riverdance/clogging. While it is similar, it is comparing apples to oranges,” Amerongen said. Hodges continued with the same idea, saying “many people think Irish dance is just like Riverdance, because that’s usually the only thing people have heard about.”


“Another misconception is that Irish dance isn’t as hard as other sports. I would argue that Irish dance is just as hard if not harder than other sports,” Amerongen added.


The Irish Music and Dance Association will help many celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with its 35th annual Irish celebration and day of Irish dance on March 16 and 17 at the Landmark Center in St. Paul. There will be Irish music, dance, free children’s crafts and a marketplace. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6-18 and seniors. Kids 5 and under get in for free. If interested, find more information at Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

*CLRG (Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha): the oldest and largest governing body for competitive Irish step dancing globally.