Fourth-graders at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School kicked up their heels on St. Patrick’s Day, thanks to a local radio station and teacher Michael Dawn Blackwell.
Ms. Blackwell said she heard about US101 sponsoring an online contest which would have radio personality Kelley Bradshaw come to a school and teach kids how to Riverdance, a traditional Irish dance step. OLPH was the lucky school selected.
For an hour on this fine St. Patrick’s Day morning, Bradshaw _ an accomplished dancer who danced competitively for a number of years _ patiently attempted to teach some rudimentary folk steps to the kids.
“We thought it would be fun thing to do for St. Patrick’s Day,” said Bradshaw. When asked about her Irish heritage, Bradshaw said she was definitely Irish, as her mother’s maiden name was McCullouogh.
Bradshaw began with a demonstration of some dance steps.
According to one source, Irish dancing is called “step dance” because each move in Irish dance is called a step. Put enough of them together for the right amount of beats of the music, and then reverse them and do the same thing on the other foot, and you’re Irish dancing. Some of the more common “steps” are beats, cuts, overs, lifts, and sevens.
The students were delighted when it was their turn to get up on the makeshift dance floor in the school’s cafeteria and show their stuff.
Bradshaw dialed up the station’s morning host, Daniel, and allowed the students to “go live” on the radio. Because they were all wearing soft shoes, the clitter clatter of the Riverdance was hard to discern over the airwaves. However, the children were delighted to have been on the radio.
Savannah Scarboro worked up something of a sweat as she went through the dance steps that she had never before done. But the little girl, who has taken two years of dance instruction from Ginger Brown Academy, pronounced it, “Cool, but hard.”
The girls all danced together in an impromptu competition against the boys. When it was all said and done, Ms. Blackwell conferred with fellow 4th grade teacher Ann O’Brien and pronounced the girls where “just a little better.”
Young Luke Berry sat quietly away from the dancing with several of his classmates. Asked if they were going to participate, Berry said, “I don’t dance.”
A young girl sitting with him gave a more detailed explanation: “I look stupid when I dance.”
US101’s Bradshaw said this is the first year that the station has held such a contest.
Cissy West, OLPH’s Director of Development, said the school typically celebrates with “the wearing of the green.”
“Being a feeder school for Notre Dame High School, they consider us ‘baby Irish,'” West said.