Kelly Ann Shanahan of St. Paul has been studying Irish dance for nearly 12 years, starting when she was five years old and was drawn to it by seeing dancers at Irish Fair! According to Kelly, she was already doing other types of dance “but Irish intrigued me; it was like tap and I loved making noise.” Kelly dances with St. Paul Irish Dancers, and had been one of the select dancers to dance with the Ring of Kerry Irish band. Kelly has helped teach younger dancers through the school’s summer camp program, as a “driller” – helping dancers accomplish drills, skill sets and steps, and has been part of St. Paul Irish Dancers distance learning program teaching via Skype. Kelly has also demonstrated an outstanding commitment to Irish dance in rebuilding her skills and strength following a serious biking injury.
Kelly wanted to expand her dance horizons and applied and won a place in the Riverdance Trinity College Summer School held at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. The application process for the program was extensive including an essay about her interest in dance and a video of her hard shoe steps. Being accepted into this prestigious program was exciting – but only the first step in actually getting to Ireland. Kelly used her IMDA Educational Grant for a portion of her travel expenses and raised the remainder of the funds by applying for other grants and fundraising.
The Riverdance Trinity College Summer School includes learning the choreography from the Riverdance show as well as classes on nutrition, fitness and personal management. At the end of the week, the dancers present a performance at the Lir National Academy for Dramatic Arts on the grounds of Trinity College. Kelly attended a session in July 2015.
Her teachers tell us that Kelly has “a sparkling personality” and is an enthusiastic proponent of Irish dance, energizing any class that she has been a part of and sharing her love of Irish dance both on and off the dance floor.
The Irish Music and Dance Association is pleased to help this dedicated young dancer pursue her passion for Irish dance and expand her personal horizons.