By: Onnie Middendorf
Annie and Onnie, Celtic Festival 2011

“Annie and Onnie Celtic Festival 2011” These are close ups of the school dresses and headbands that Erickson Academy of Irish Dance wear. Each school has their own colors and designs that set them apart from other dance schools. These are worn by less experienced dancers and dancers doing traditional ceili dances.

Just like Saint Patrick’s Day is enjoyed by most who consider themselves Irish-American and those who just enjoy the festivities on March 17th, Irish Dancing is enjoyed by people with and without Irish ancestry all around the world.  Here in the United States, names like O’Brien and Sheehan appear on feis lists, but there are also names like Mueller and Kraemer and other non-Irish names.  A feis is an Irish Dance competition, and they typically have a list of all of the dancers competing as well as the dance school they attend.  One of my neighbors told me about a time when she went to see her niece dance and referred to it as a “Shirley Temple” convention because of all of the wigs.  Everyone is welcome to compete, and welcome to learn as well.  Irish Dance instructors are dedicated to preserving the Irish-American cultural tradition of Irish Dance by teaching it to people from all backgrounds, from curly Irish redheads to people like me without any Irish Heritage at all, and everyone in between.  Continue reading