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High-kick into gear

The St. Joe's Irish Dance Club after its first competition (Photo courtesy of St. Joe's Irish Dance Club).
Written by Erin Duffy

St. Joe’s Irish Dance Club steps on


St. Joe’s Irish Dance Club competed in its first competition in the club’s young history on Nov. 4 at Villanova University and took home three awards.

The Intercollegiate Irish Dance competition included 13 schools from across the country. The morning focused on traditional dances such as the four-hand (four dancers) and eight-hand (eight dancers). The afternoon focused on what is called “fun number,” dances that can use non-traditional music and steps.

The Irish Dance Club placed fourth overall in the fun number, choreographed by Delaney Coppola ’20. The team placed third in a group traditional dance, and Patrick Hegarty ’19 won fourth in a solo treble reel, a traditional dance performed with reel music.

“I obviously didn’t know we were going to do well, but I think when a great group of people come together, and everyone tries really hard, it’s always great when they do,” Coppola said.

The Irish Dance Club was founded last year by co-presidents Coppola and Stephanie Crispell ’20. Before coming to St. Joe’s, the women had belonged to Irish dance schools which had competed against one another. When they discovered they were both going to attend the same college, they decided to bring Irish dancing to St. Joe’s.

Last year, the club had about eight consistent members. This year, it grew to about 15 members, with others who have recently reached out to join.

“We want to share our love for Irish culture with everybody,” Crispell said.

Emily Turilli ’21 joined the Irish Dance Club years after quitting  when she was eight years old. She said she is quickly picking up all the steps she once learned, and is excited to continue dancing.

“I’ve always loved Irish dancing, but just never stuck with it,” Turilli said.

Crispell and Coppola have big plans for the future of the club. They performed at the Miracle Network Dance Marathon on Nov. 11, and also plan to compete in other Irish dance competitions soon. They also want to become more involved on campus and aspire to perform at events, such as basketball games and Relay for Life.

Coppola said she hopes more people will take notice of the club after winning awards in a serious competition.

“We are just trying to get recognition that we are a club,” Coppola said, “and for all the hard work the dancers put into their dances.”

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Erin Duffy

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