Performing at Gaelic Park has always been special, has always had an extra hum of energy around it. The crowd, the music, so many dancers in the building from so many different schools. Part of the excitement stems from the love of the dancing so pervasive throughout all in attendance; at Ireland on Parade, it isn’t dancing at a party – dancing IS the party.
Ireland on Parade is a constant in the history of Weber Irish Dance. Each March, our dancers look forward to the performance and have been for 49 years straight. After dancing at Gaelic Park for all these years, you can’t help but reflect on all the fond memories.
One in particular that has always stood out in my memory is lining up the 8-hand Jig at about 10 years old. My mom was sitting further back while my dad crouched down in front with the camera. When I saw him, I let go of my partner’s hand for just a second to pantomime “I love you” with my hand. The woman sitting next to my mom leaned over to her and said, “Oh wow, that girl is deaf! She must feel the rhythm through the floor.” My mom was quick to correct her.
But I think she was right about one part. We all feel the rhythm at Gaelic Park, not just through the floor but through the air, through the smile of one dancer to another, through the grip of your partner as they take your hand. That rhythm continues to call dancers back year after year making Gaelic Park a place of reunion – a place where former dancers return with their families to share their love of Irish dance with the next generation.
Some of our other dancers reflected on their experiences at Gaelic Park throughout the years:
“For me, what’s so inspiring, especially as a more veteran dancer, is seeing the younger students who are a bit nervous beforehand – maybe it’s their first performance, maybe it’s their first Gaelic Park – and they channel that nervousness into this excitement on stage that’s really unparalleled and just spreads this energy and keeps everyone going from the top to the bottom of the set list.”
“I remember the first time I went from the little kid sitting under the velvet ropes to the kid dancing up on his toes right in front of them. It was a pretty powerful moment. To look back at that and then see us now and how far we’ve come … it makes me have a lot of hope and excitement for the future of Weber.”
“I remember the time Andrew Fick accidentally kicked his shoe off and caught it in mid air and kept dancing with it in his hand. There are so many memories from Gaelic Park!"
“Gaelic Park was always my favorite place to dance- and my family loved watching us there! I loved the atmosphere."
This year at Gaelic Park was no exception. Our dancers put their best foot forward and put on a fantastic show, even dancing to the live music performed by the Irish Musicians. Congratulations to all our dancers on a job well done. Check out some of the highlights below!