Rutgers Irish Dance Club performs at Spring Showcase
Rhythmic tapping could be heard upon walking into Trayes Hall in the Douglass Student Center on Sunday. They came from the performers of the Rutgers Irish Dance Club (RIDC), who were dressed in sparkly dresses, shirts with ties and of course, tap shoes.
In their Spring Showcase, the group kept the tradition of Irish dancing alive. The members performed various dance numbers that they had learned throughout year on-stage on Douglass campus.
The RIDC is an organization that provides a community for students with an interest in Irish dancing. Students are able to discuss, debate and socialize over the love of the dance.
The organization also offers classes that teach interested members the basics of Irish dancing for performance, competition or just for fun. They provide a social network of practice buddies for competing students and allows students to compete with other dance clubs at an intercollegiate level.
Shea Shovlin, a senior in the School of Arts and Sciences and the president of the RIDC, helped co-found the club two years ago.
Shovlin said Irish dance is unique in its characteristics, partially because there is a lot of turnout in dancer's hips and toes with a stiff upper body and quick and precise movements of the feet.
Pittsburgh born and raised with half Irish roots, Shovlin’s parents owned an Irish dance studio and she has been dancing since she was young.
“There is a lot of rhythm and technique (in Irish dance) that requires a lot of practice,” she said. “Our beginners did great today, though. I am so proud of them.”
Shovlin also organized the showcase. It was the first event for the organization and there were a lot of unknown logistics in the planning, but Shovlin said she had great support from the rest of the members.
Alexia Ciarfella, a junior in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, was at the RIDC showcase to support a friend.
With a bouquet of flowers for in her hand during the showcase, Ciarfella said she was really happy to come out to support her roommate.
“I think it’s important to show the traditions of different cultures,” Ciarfella said. “It is important for the dancers to keep the traditions alive but also important for the people watching to learn about new and different traditions.”
Meghan Corr, a senior in the School of Arts and Sciences, said she agrees with the importance of keeping the tradition of Irish dance alive, saying it displays Irish heritage.
Corr was the event coordinator for the performance, and also the MC, who introduced every act before they performed. She has been a member of the club since she was a first-year and is also a dancer.
“We’ve all spent so much of our time — hours and hours of practice for two minutes on stage. We’re all really happy to perform for our friends and family,” she said.
Corr explained how Irish dance is different from other styles of dance.
“The phrase goes ‘ice of body, fire of feet,’” she said. “In a college like this, showcase we can have a little more fun with it. We use our hands a little more.”
Tickets sold for $5 and the audience was filled with loved ones eager to watch the hours of hard work and practice. During intermission, they sold Irish soda bread and other refreshments.
The showcase also featured some guest performers aside from the dancers in RIDC. Some of those performers were the Heritage Irish Dance Academy, Rutgers Performing Dance Company, Sean Connelly, Miss Central Coast 2017 and Miss Cape Resort 2017.
Those performances from guests ranged from solo and group dance routines to music from the bagpipe.
“RIDC is a really great way to spend time with friends,” Corr said. “A lot of these girls have been dancing together since they were little, but a lot of them are beginners as well. This is a really cool way to get together and share our passion with everyone.”
Jillian Pastor is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.