As the lyrics of Meghan Trainor’s hit song “Better When I’m Dancing” blasted through the speakers, junior Kathryn Wolf danced on to the stage and stunned the audience with her elegant costume and talent. Her Shirley Temple-style curls bounced up and down as she performed a traditional Irish tap dance to the upbeat music, wearing a huge smile throughout the entire performance. Alongside her, three other fellow Mercy students shared the spotlight. Backstage, she wiggled out of her heavily bedazzled, elaborate Irish garb. The dress was a made of a soft pink and black satin and embellished with diamond studs and beautiful black lace.
“It’s handmade, they can be quite expensive,” Wolf said with a laugh.
Wolf has been Irish dancing since she was 6 years old. Coming from a proud Irish family herself, Wolf could not wait to celebrate her culture and heritage by performing a traditional Irish dance on the Mercy stage during this year’s annual Ethnic Bazaar.
“My grandmother came from Ireland, so doing this [dance] meant celebrating her heritage and background,” Wolf said.
The dance that Wolf performed is a very important part of Ireland’s history. During the great war with Britain, dancing was banned in Ireland. However, the Irish people kept the festive tradition alive by gathering in barns and dancing with their feet only, so that the soldiers passing by would not catch them.
“That’s actually why we hold our hands down by our sides and only use our feet,” Wolf explained, “ There is history behind certain dances, which is what we are celebrating.” Wolf said proudly.
Outside of school, Wolf competes in Irish dance competitions. Even though these competitions are a quite relaxed environment, Wolf takes every opportunity she gets to celebrate her heritage, history and culture through dance.