The weeks around St. Patrick’s Day are an Irish step dancer’s time to shine, and as we approach the beloved holiday, the students and teachers of Clann Lir Academy of Dance are preparing to put their best feet forward.
The three-year-old school, which has locations in Middletown, RI and Hingham, MA is led by Anthony Fallon, Academy Director, former Principal of “Riverdance,” and a four-time World Champion. To celebrate the season, dancers from both schools perform in a variety of venues, from nursing homes and pubs to museums and special events. The highlight, of course, is marching in Newport’s famous St. Patrick’s Day parade, followed by a performance at “The Hut,” on March 14, 2020. The can’t-miss event earned the group the coveted Best Dancers Award from the City of Newport in 2019.
“We are honored to be building such a strong program here in the Newport area, where there is such a passion for Irish heritage,” says Fallon. “It’s such a wonderful place to perform for audiences and to build our program.”
Clann Lir has seen tremendous growth over the past few years, with increasing enrollment for dancers from age three through high school. This month, the school will also host its first “feis” (pronounced “fesh”), or Irish dance competition. The Leap Year Feis will be held on February 29, 2020 at Gurney’s Resort & Marina in Newport, and will bring close to 1,000 Irish dancers, along with their families, to participate. Live musicians will accompany the performances and elite judges will come from across the United States, Canada, and Ireland. Saturday’s Leap Year Feis will be followed by the New England Regional Feis, also hosted by Clann Lir, on Sunday, March 1 at the same location. While these competitions are not considered spectator events, they underscore the growth of the sport in the region, and Clann Lir’s commitment to Aquidneck Island.
Students of Clann Lir Academy will make several public performances in February and March, including the following:
Mar. 8th, Irish Dinner (time and location to be announced)
Mar. 14th, 10 a.m., Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade, followed by performances at the Newport
Recreation Department’s “The Hut” and White’s of Westport (times to be announced)
Mar. 17th, 5:30 p.m., Portside Tavern, Bristol