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Freshman celebrates Irish culture, customs

Dance builds work ethic, connections

Freshman+Emma+Tight+dances+%28center%29+at+the+Landmark+Center+in+St.+Paul+on+St.+Patrick%E2%80%99s+Day+2016.+Tight+last+danced+at+the+Irish+Fair+this+past+August%2C+and+will+be+dancing+Thanksgiving+weekend+in+Chicago.
Freshman Emma Tight dances (center) at the Landmark Center in St. Paul on St. Patrick’s Day 2016. Tight last danced at the Irish Fair this past August, and will be dancing Thanksgiving weekend in Chicago.

Freshman Emma Tight dances (center) at the Landmark Center in St. Paul on St. Patrick’s Day 2016. Tight last danced at the Irish Fair this past August, and will be dancing Thanksgiving weekend in Chicago.

Photo used with written permission from Emma Tight

Photo used with written permission from Emma Tight

Freshman Emma Tight dances (center) at the Landmark Center in St. Paul on St. Patrick’s Day 2016. Tight last danced at the Irish Fair this past August, and will be dancing Thanksgiving weekend in Chicago.

Alex Balfour

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How long have you been Irish dancing?
Nine years.

How often and where do you practice?
I practice at a studio in Edina called Corda Mor. I practice on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and two classes on Saturday and on Sunday. So typically five days a week.

Why did you decide to start Irish dancing?
I used to dance at Victoria Dance Productions (VDP) and (Irish Dancers) rented out a studio at VDP and I just decided to switch. I was like five and it looked really fun.

What do you enjoy about Irish dancing?
It is really good exercise and it always gives me more energy after I am done dancing. It is a lot of fun seeing my friends.

How did dance bring you closer together with your teammates?
When I started I did not have any friends that did (Irish dancing), but I do have a lot of friends in my class now that have been doing it for a while with me. It is really hard and we all encourage each other when we are dancing, especially when it is a competition it gets a lot harder so it is nice to have friends there and support you.

How does Irish dancing compare to other types of dancing?
It is basically like a different language from all the other dances so it is really different. We have similar dance moves but they are called completely different things so talking about it with someone who does Ballet versus talking about it with someone who does Irish dance, it gets really hard to explain stuff. Also, we have shoes sort of like tap shoes but they are made out of leather and make a lot of noise.

What do you wear in competitions?
We wear dresses. They are long sleeved, they go down to about your thighs and they have tons of rhinestones and sequins so that you stand out. Each one is handmade in Ireland and they are called solo dresses because they are all different and you have to earn them by getting a certain amount of first places in your competitions.

Where have you performed in the past?
There is this thing in August called the Irish Fair and we always dance there. On St. Patrick’s day we do shows at Southdale or Knollwood and some schools during the week. I like dancing at Southdale because there is a big crowd and a lot of levels they can see from and that is a lot of fun.

What are the challenging parts of Irish dancing?
Not being able to move your arms is really hard. We do this thing called a leap where you jump off of one foot into the air and you have to hold yourself up there and it is hard not to move your arms then.

What do you incorporate back into your life from dancing?
Well I was not really good at dance, I used to like it and I was okay, but I was not actually good at it until last year. I think it taught me to work a lot harder for stuff that I want because before I did not really care all that much. I got this drive and I moved up two levels and now I am going to regionals.

What are your upcoming competitions?
There is the Mid America Competition, which is regionals over Thanksgiving weekend in Chicago. If you get recalled you get to dance again and then if you make it to the top 10 you get called to Nationals and then World, which is usually in Ireland or somewhere near there. We have mock regionals in two weeks and one in (Minnesota) this spring.

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Freshman celebrates Irish culture, customs