By Lauren Schiavone
Hometown Weekly Reporte
Needhamites donned their green and attended an afternoon of Irish tradition at the library. Under the guidance of Clare Sullivan, the Sullivan School dancers aged 6-18 performed multiple Irish step dances for a gracious and festive audience.
“This is the fun part, it’s like the Christmas of our season!” Sullivan shared. “This is my 35th year teaching in Newton, believe it or not. The kids get all kinds of skills [from performing]. Standing up in front of a crowd, confidence, being in a team, and learning how to memorize.” Many dancers have been performing for half their lives, and only hope to continue to spread joy through dance. Sullivan noted that the dancers are comprised of two teams and both follow a competition schedule.
Dancers entertained by exhibiting traditional reels, jigs, slip jigs, and hornpipes dances. Hard shoes tapped across a wooden surface in incredible rhythm. Each dancer shared their passion with the audience and brought an authentic sense to the work. Even with thirteen performances under their belt from the previous day, the two teams were as motivated and present through the weekend.
The Saint Patrick’s Day tradition set was one of eight traditional dances that have been around since the early 1800s. After the conclusion of the namesake, Saint Patrick’s Day dance, Sullivan allowed time for each dancer to confidently introduce themself to the audience. The team then invited members of the audience to learn three basic steps in a treble reel. The engagement, participation, and devotion to one another, the viewers, and the Irish culture were abundant as the Sullivan school dancers stepped into the NFPL for a Saint Patrick’s Day show.