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Harney dancers step into St. Paddy’s 

By Lauren Schiavone
Hometown Weekly Reporter

In case there was any doubt about Walpole being a festive Irish community, it was reinforced the week before St. Patrick’s Day at the Council on Aging. On Friday, March ninth, festivities took place in the Murphy room. 

The Junior Women’s Club of Walpole showed kindness to seniors and brightened their day with an ice cream social. The JWCW served sundaes with a “choose any topping” sundae bar. Seniors piled hot fudge, whipped cream, and other tasty toppings on top of ice cream to their heart’s desire. 

Soon after, another sweet treat was also in store. Dancers from the Harney Academy of Irish Dance made an afternoon appearance in celebration of St. Paddy’s. In traditional-inspired garb, the dancers performed in groups of two or three, and by class. Beginners to advanced dancers had all eyes on them as they performed four different traditional styles. 

Dancer Emerson Graham beamed after the performance, “I’ve been performing for over 11 years.” She spoke of the costumes, receiving great admiration for the effort gone into the appearance as well as the careful steps of each dance. “The costumes are on the newer side, but they’re a spinoff of older costumes.” Outfits included mesh long-sleeved dresses embellished with vibrant sparkles. Even shoe buckles sparkled as dancers performed their jig. 

Harney dancers showcased a variety of soft shoe and hard shoe dances. “There are jigs, reels, hornpipes, and slip-jigs. Slip-jigs and reels are soft shoe dances and hard shoe dances are hornpipe and jigs,” Graham explained. Dancers also performed the classic “Saint Patrick’s Day” dance that each dancer learns early in their training. 

Seniors enjoyed themselves and took great pride in seeing the younger generation showcase their culture. The Council on Aging will also host a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast before the town parade on Friday morning. 

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