Michael Flatley is a world-renowned Irish dancer who skyrocketed to fame following the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, at which he, and a troupe of talented dancers following his choreography, performed ‘Riverdance’ for the first time. Jean Butler, co-star to Flatley, also gained recognition for her remarkable talent. If you don’t know who either of these dancers are, I’d recommend that you stop reading this blog and Youtube them right now. Although there are many, Riverdance is a logical place to start before you fall down the rabbit hole of endless spectacular performances.
So, you’ve watched the videos. Impressed? I thought so.
You could be the next Michael Flatley, or at least Sheffield’s newest Irish dancing superstar. The University of Sheffield’s Irish dance society runs weekly classes for students, teaching both forms of traditional Irish dancing. If you didn’t know that there are two distinct styles, again, I’d recommend opening Youtube at soon as you can. You’ll quickly notice the difference between the spritely dances, comprised of multiple leaps and turns, and the noiser dances that use loud shoes – known as lights and heavies, respectively. Both are equally fun.
Whether you are eager to join a new society and commit to learning a new dance style or would prefer to just dip your toe in the Irish dancing pond, the society welcomes all students to try their classes. The sessions, which run every Monday throughout the academic year, cater to beginners as well as intermediate and advanced level dancers, through their different classes. And, the society is about more than just classes: it organises performances and multiple socials throughout the year, including the ever-popular film nights and an annual St Patrick’s day night out.
Why am I telling you this? I think it’s something you should know about. I’ve been a member of the society for the last two years and have made many friends and memories because of it. In truth, I love our Irish dance society. My personal highlight would definitely be performing in City Hall at the International Cultural Evening, where we performed to a cheering audience of over a thousand people. It was really enough to make you feel as if you were Michael Flatley. It’s an experience that is not to be missed. So, although the society calendar isn’t likely to involve performing at the Eurovision song contest next year, there will be plenty of other fun performance opportunities that you could and should get involved with. You can find out more about the society by visiting its page on the Student Union’s website, its Facebook page or its stall at the Activities Fair in September.