Warm memories fill my mind as I reminisce 2016 with Dunleavy. We have had growth and expansion in every form; a new dance floor, two new classes of students, two new MARO plaques to hang on the wall, twenty three new novice dancers, and we experienced countless competitions, practices, and parties together. We went above and beyond our goals for 2016 and I expect we will achieve nothing but excellence again in 2017.
My goal for Dunleavy this year is to continue to grow our programing for our teenage students so we can offer them a developmental and spiritual community. Dunleavy is a family and has always been more than just a sport to it's students. The unconditional love and acceptance among the student body creates a safe space for these young women to be their authentic selves and the support and encouragement among the classmates creates an environment where students thrive to their highest potential. Dunleavy is a place where students set a high standard for themselves and experience the challenge and reward that comes along with achieving personal excellence. Dunleavy is maturing as it's students grow and enter high school. Our goals this year is to create new programing to support developmental growth in their teenage years. I am looking forward to connecting with our dancers in this new way as I watch them become young women and the future leaders. Happy new year, Dunleavy!
I am still getting caught up after a very busy Thanksgiving in Philadelphia and I am reflecting on so many things we have to be thankful for. Our school is comprised of some of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life. Traveling out of state with 17 dancers and their families left me with so many incredible memories to cherish. I want to share with you some of my favorite experiences that truly touched me while we were at the Oireachtas.
One of our teams of 12-year olds were sharing their Thanksgiving meal together in their hotel room and realized they had an abundance of food left over. Although the girls had only been in the city for a few hours they had recognized the incredible need for acts of charity and wanted to respond in a positive way. They wrapped up individual meals with paper plates and tin foil and stepped outside onto the streets of downtown Philadelphia to hand out food to the hungry.
After the competitions ended on Saturday we had students and parents clean and transform the ballroom to to help Fr. Brian (co-founder of Dunleavy) with Saturday night mass. It was such a special experience that we were able to share together to start Advent.
The level of sportsmanship that I witnessed from our dancers was incredibly moving. Every time one of our girls performed there was a resounding cheer in the ballroom, louder and longer than all the others. Another teacher commented how much of a presence we have and was astounded to learn that we were one of the smallest schools represented at the Oireachtas yet we had the loudest and most visible presence. But that's Dunleavy, we support each other in such a strong way. There was another teacher that commented on how excited one of my students looked at the award ceremony, the dancer was jumping up and down and grinning ear to ear with pure and genuine happiness. They were really taken back when I told them she wasn't even in that competition, that she was cheering for a classmate. All weekend we had dancers literally running to different ballrooms to support their classmates, we even had a dancer who was not competing drive down with her mom to watch her classmates. Another student who wasn't dancing woke up at 5:00am every morning to help her classmates prepare with wigs and makeup for their early competition. I am always so impressed by the level of sportsmanship our dancers show to each other. The community these girls have created is so powerful it brought me to tears on multiple occasions. Dunleavy truly is a community I am honored to call my own.
Want to nourish your child's love for Irish dance? Here's our top 10 ideas for this Christmas!
10) Yoga Mat- A yoga mat can mean all the difference in making stretching more enjoyable at home. You can pick one up at Target for under $10, but my favorite is made by Lulu Lemon.
9) Lauren Early's Book- Reaching New Heights by Irish dancer and personal trainer. Lauren provides a step-by-step strength and conditioning guide for specifically improving performance for competitive Irish dance. Some other good books include; The Little Book of Inspiration for Irish Dancers by Sean Connolly, Parade of Champions by Elise Wright, and the Liffey Rivers series by Brenna Briggs.
8) Dunleavy Spiritwear- Show your Dunleavy pride in our cozy navy hoodies and sweatpants! Orders need to be in by Monday, November 28th to be in before Christmas.
7) Practice Sneakers- With practice sneakers, your dancer can jig everywhere! Rutherford Shoes offers a variety of brands and styles.
6) Dance Music- Expanding your music library is a great way to pump up your dancer's practice. Some of my favorite albums that came out this year include; Feis Music 3 by Sean O'Brien, Feis Machine 2 by Stephen Carolan, Feis Tunes 2 by Cormac O'Sé and Brian O'Sullivan is full of great music just for beginners!
5) Foam Roller- Keep your muscles long for improved flexibility for dancing by using a foam roller. My favorite company is The Trigger Point.
4) Subscription to IDM- Your dancer will look forward to each month with a subscription to Irish Dancing Magazine.
3) The ProStretch is phenomenal for stretching the calves and preventing injury.
2) Jig the Movie- Follow the story of dancers gearing up for, and competing at the World Championships in Jig. Other great movies to keep your Irish dancer entertained include; Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, Dancing on Dangerous Ground, and Heartbeat of Home.
1) Camps at Dunleavy- What better gift for your Irish dancer than more Irish dance!? Register your dancer for one of our Team Camps online at the Dunleavy store, and we will send you a certificate you can wrap and put under the tree! Stop by our Christmas Party on Sunday, December 11th from 12:00-2:00 for some other great gift opportunities.
What an incredible showing we had at the Rochester Feis!! We had 68 dancers registered, which made us the largest school in attendance, WOW! Thank you everyone for all the work you put in before the feis to make this event stress-free and enjoyable. The benefit our dancers gain from the preparations you make is immeasurable. I loved seeing our class assistants working with our beginners and our SK moms and dads helping with curlers and stage schedules. We are a community full of so many wonderful people, thank you for making Dunleavy so great! And a huge thank you to the Rochester Feis Committee for putting on this fantastic event!
Dunleavy made it into the finalist for City Newspaper's Best of Rochester!!!
This is such an honor to be among so many other local legends. Dunleavy was voted the "Best Local Dance Company" along with Garth Fagan, Rochester City Ballet, and Sirens and Stilettos. Dunleavy is currently the only Irish organization on the Rochester's Best, it would be such a great milestone for the Irish community for Dunleavy to win! I believe we can do it, but we need your vote!
Voting ends October 14th at 5:00pm. You can vote on multiple devices (phone, laptop, tablet, etc.) and you can cast vote again every 24 hours. We can do it, we can win this!!
Click this link, then click on the red text beneath the image to be taken to the online poll.
There are 100 categories, however you only need to vote for 40 for your vote to count. Don't forget to vote for Delaney from Monaghan's mom and the Black Button Distillery for #44 :) You will find Dunleavy on question #81.
Thank you for your support!
Cast your vote, fingers crossed, and may the luck of the Irish be with us!!
Welcome new students!
Start with Dunleavy at two months for the price of one!
September & October
Two months tuition on sale for $60
Our Irish Dance National Championships was held over the holiday weekend in Orlando, Florida. It's a very exciting event for dancers as it it a World Qualifying event. All the competitors train incredibly hard leading up to the Nationals and are all crossing their fingers during award ceremony hoping their number will be called in a top spot so they can continue onto the World Championships.
We would like to wish a big congratulations to Ciara's student, Joe, for winning the U13 boys competition! Joe traveled from England to participate in this event and is thrilled to have won it! Many of our Dunleavy students have met his sister, Charlotte who is an Irish dancer at Raglan Road in Disney World who was delighted to be there and watch her little brother take home the American National title. Congratulations to Ciara, Joe, and the entire Glendarragh Academy!
I am really excited with our school's decision to send more teams this year to the Mid-Atlantic Oireachtas, our region's world qualifier. We will be sending a four-person team to defend our trophy in the Under 10 age category, as well as new entries in the Under 12, and possibly Under 8 category for the first time. The dance "The Humours of Bandon" is hundreds of years old and I am delighted to celebrate a traditional dance in this way.
Entering in an Oireachtas brings exposure to both a higher caliber of dancing and a wider range of competitors. We will have the opportunity to compete with top dancers at the World Championship level, as well as schools from all over New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware. Our dancers will travel to Philadelphia over Thanksgiving to compete. They will bring back their experiences to share with their classmates which will enrich our entire school. The program at Dunleavy Irish Dance is unique and the dance community of Western New York has taken notice! I am looking forward to participating in the Oireachtas and modeling the Dunleavy values of teamwork, dedication, and good sportsmanship through the presentation of our dancing.
On behalf of the teachers, parents, and dancers at Dunleavy I would like to congratulate our 2016 Oireachtas Humours of Bandon dancers! We know that you will dedicate yourselves in representing Dunleavy in the highest form possible, thank you for your commitment and hard work.
Traditionally a feis was a festival involving a culmination of cultural arts. Today at a feis we focus primarily on the dancing, but there is still categories for baking, music, needlepoint, art, and song. Dancers from many different schools come together and dance to live music. They receive comments from an adjudicator on how to improve their dancing, and perhaps even win a medal!
I remember gazing out the car window on the lookout for other "feisheads" on the highway in anticipation as we drove to the feis with my sisters when I was a little girl. They were quick to spot of course, because the curlers at the time only came in bright neon colors. We would get really excited to see the dancers from other schools performing different steps incorporating moves we had never seen before.
In Irish dancing it is easy to get caught up into your own bubble because the majority of our time is spent at the studio where there is so much to focus on. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice bubble, I love our studio and the people who fill it! But one of the biggest reasons I enjoy attending a feis is because I get to see dancers from other schools and the fruits of their labor. It reminds me that Irish dancing is a powerful, flowing river that we have the honor of stepping into. It has been going on long before I was born, and will continue on long after I am gone. Witnessing the tradition come alive is incredibly moving.