Irish dance showcase at Warwick High School

By on March 15, 2017
A group of young would-be Irish dancers work on their steps at the Hooley School of Irish Dance in Brownstown. They are (left to right) Arabelle Page, Lancaster; Nora Nephin, Manheim; Eleanor Cavanaugh, Lancaster; Penelope Sheaffer, Lancaster; Harper Whalen, Lancaster; and Arabelle Myers, Denver. (Photos by Art  Petrosemolo)

A group of young would-be Irish dancers work on their steps at the Hooley School of Irish Dance in Brownstown. They are (left to right) Arabelle Page, Lancaster; Nora Nephin, Manheim; Eleanor Cavanaugh, Lancaster; Penelope Sheaffer, Lancaster; Harper Whalen, Lancaster; and Arabelle Myers, Denver. (Photos by Art Petrosemolo)

For generations, young girls have taken dance lessons and loved it. Ballet and tap, classes with yearly recitals, and frilly dance costumes are all part of many young adults’ and parents’ memories.

But who would have guessed here in Lancaster County with its strong German and Dutch heritage there is a popular dance alternative? Irish Step Dancing — made popular by Michael Flatley and the Riverdance craze he started in the mid-1990s — has become popular here, and the Hooley School of Dance in Brownstown is the place to learn it.

Some 150 male and female students train under the leadership of Hooley founder and head instructor Crystal Glick Carper, an accomplished Irish dancer, and her professional staff. The studio has recently moved from Ephrata to a new studio in Brownstown. Crystal’s sister, Angelina, is one of the school’s most accomplished students, competing twice in the world championships, and now serving as a certified instructor at Hooley.

Grace Spinetti and Alex Gooding, center, practice the two hand reel with Elena Shih and Marie Ireland (left) and Kenna Jones and Haviah Spinetti (right)

Grace Spinetti and Alex Gooding, center, practice the two hand reel with Elena Shih and Marie Ireland (left) and Kenna Jones and Haviah Spinetti (right)

Dance students range in age from four to adults, and watching the young ones learn the steps will put a smile on anyone’s face. Many of the dancers have gotten inspiration from Riverdance performances and have an eye on possible careers with Irish dance groups as young adults.

Hooley will hold its annual showcase, “Rise Up and Dance!” at Warwick High School on March 25 with show times at 2:30 and 6 p.m. The show is open to the public. Advance tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children ages 5-12.

For more information and tickets visit Hooley’s website, hooleyirishdancebooster.blogspot.com.

Art Petrosemolo is a freelance feature writer and photographer who recently retired to this area from New Jersey. He welcomes reader feedback at artpetrosemolo@comcast.net.

Natalie Raff, 8, of Leola, who has been dancing more than two years, works with Hooley School of Irish Dance director Crystal Glick Carper.

Natalie Raff, 8, of Leola, who has been dancing more than two years, works with Hooley School of Irish Dance director Crystal Glick Carper.

 

Marin Davis (red shorts) with (left to right) Emily Stauffer, Ashley Page and Reagan Bradley, dancing the four hand jig.

Marin Davis (red shorts) with (left to right) Emily Stauffer, Ashley Page and Reagan Bradley, dancing the four hand jig.

 

Young Irish dancers Grace Spinetti, 13, Ephrata; and Alex Gooding, 12, Stevens.

Young Irish dancers Grace Spinetti, 13, Ephrata; and Alex Gooding, 12, Stevens.

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