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Thoughts From Bolger Cunningham School of Irish Dance.

We didn’t dance at all our usual events for St Patrick’s week and other events booked in during the following months.

We couldn’t welcome our friends from Dungarvan who were scheduled to visit us at the beginning of July 2020.

We missed our chats, our laughs, our gossips, our friends, Maureen’s toast too!

And of course the children missed the actual dancing, growing in confidence, showing resilience to keep going even if a step was tough to learn, making different friends, sharing experiences and much more.

Our Facebook page and WhatsApp groups were full of supportive messages to each other, hoping everyone kept safe and wondering if anyone needed any help. Those first few Saturdays felt very strange as we knew it wasn’t just a half term break or summer holidays where you know what date you are returning.

And it went on and on.....

Our senior dancers arranged some videos of steps to help the kids stuck at home to remember their dancing, and we also did a virtual step about which went down a storm!

We watched lots of other Irish dancing videos...from the cast of Riverdance and Lord of the Dance, The amazing Gardiner brothers and my favourite David Geaney.

We hoped to get back sooner but due to various lockdowns and restrictions we didn’t start back until 31st October.

New rules in place, no parents in the building and ‘bubbles’ created for set groups of kids and teachers. We enjoyed it for that 1 day, as during the following week new restrictions came to Liverpool and we were stopped again!

But we did get back and had several classes during December which everyone enjoyed.

Different no parents were allowed in the building and classes were shortened and each group of dancers were only in for 1 lesson a week whereas usually lots of them would be with us for 2.

January meant cancellation again and many long weeks stuck at home for our young people. Thankfully being back at school now helps but still no dancing....

Our class is a family...we are one big team. Everyone pitches in when things need to be done, whether it be organising fundraising events such as the Big Breakfasts or Glow Parties, or selling cakes and raffle tickets at the family afternoons or watching each other’s children when someone has popped down to Asda during the class 😂

I recently asked how everyone was feeling and some of the parents told me ....

‘we have been going to the Irish Centre at least twice a week for the last 13 yrs and have missed seeing all the familiar faces’

‘ the kids have missed chatting and playing, eating toast and treats in the break....When I watch them I remember how much I miss it all. I miss us (parents) talking about our week and how tired we are 😂. Seeing the kids dancing and running out with their stickers’

‘Ciara says our toast is nowhere near as nice as Maureen’s and I have to agree,’

‘If I had a penny for every time she had asked me when dancing was back on, I could retire,’ 😁

‘Oh the girls will need new shoes, they’ve grown!’

‘We have missed our little dance family, really looking forward to getting back at it ‘

‘She has missed her dancing, teachers and friends. I have missed her laughter and joy, at learning or perfecting a step or routine.......I’ve missed watching them all dance and perform together......I’ve missed the real friendships I’ve made over the last 10 years, the laughter, tea and toast, the family fun days and just being in the Irish Centre itself, surrounded by our dance family.’

Now I won’t deny at all that I’ve slightly enjoyed the Saturday mornings off and no rushing on Thursday evenings ......and part of me still wants all that lovely spare time and lazy mornings.......but when I hear things like that from the parents, I realise how important it is to get these classes back up and running.

It won’t be the can’t be the same for many months yet unfortunately.

It may be September or even later when we can have everyone back in the building - have the tea and toast back on sale and allow the different groups to mix but I really can’t wait especially for that time to come.....

A young Kathleen

In the meantime, we will hopefully be starting the classes up again in April and will continue on for as long as we can.

This lockdown has been an awful time in many, many ways for so many people, but I think having a slow down and realising what is important was good for some of us too.

Little did we realise back then, that we would miss 2 St Patrick’s weeks and so many other opportunities for our dancers to show off their culture and talent.

Hopefully they will comeback with so much enthusiasm now and be raring to go when we have chances to put some new routines together and dance out at different events. ( hopefully no more virtual dances !)

Irish dancing is important. Our class is important.

Kathleen Cunningham

This lot have all grown up now...

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