Leaping around like a bunch of lively leprechauns, the young dancers always enjoy their training sessions at the Casey O’Loughlin Academy of Irish Dance in Calgary.
“It’s really intense,” 10-year-old Gabrielle Gauvin said. “But it’s really fun!”
The dancers are now having more fun than usual, as they prepare for a major appearance on St. Patrick’s Day.
They’ll be performing at Calgary’s Jack Singer Concert Hall, backed by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.
The dancers will also be sharing the stage with the Calgary Fiddlers and veteran Canadian singer-songwriter Heather Rankin.
“It’ll be a really cool experience!,” Gauvin said.
For most of the dancers, it’s their first time performing for such a big crowd.
“I’ve been to the Jack Singer and it’s huge,” Andrea Mihai, 10, said. “So I’m a little nervous, but I’m super excited!”
They’re also looking forward to being able to share the celebration with family members who’ll be attending the show.
“It’s really cool for my grandparents,” 13-year-old Abby Mullen said. “For St. Patrick’s Day, when (we do) shows they get really excited.”
Irish dancing on a World stage
“We’re looking forward to meeting all the famous musicians like Heather Rankin and the fiddlers and the orchestra,” Eryn Willis, 13, said. “We’re so pumped!”
Which is a familiar feeling for their instructor, Cara Casey-O’Loughlin, who spent years touring North America dancing in Riverdance productions.
“Dancing in big theatres, it’s just really so much fun,” Casey-O’Loughlin told her dancers. “It’s really the best thing we get to do all year, so I just hope you enjoy it. You guys are going to be fantastic!”
The dancers will be performing as part of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra’s St. Patrick’s Day Concert.
Called A Celtic Celebration with Heather Rankin, it starts at 3 p.m. on Sunday March 17, at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in downtown Calgary.
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