MISSOULA - The Carroll-Henderson School of Irish Dance is hard at work practicing for the Fáilte Montana Irish Festival in the basement of the Masonic Lodge in Downtown Missoula.
Since starting the school last year under the instruction of Anna Grussling, dancers had competitive success, including top-ten placements at the 2022 Western Regional Championship and the bronze medal at Ballet Beyond Borders.
“The kids who are return students were so thrilled to come back and see their friends," Grussling said. "And some of them made it into different groups and are now learning different things, and they are just so excited to get back into dancing.”
For Grussling, the most important lesson for her students was teaching the history of Irish culture through dance.
“Most of them had never experienced any sort of Irish culture or Irish dancing, so it's been exciting to teach them some of the traditional forms of Irish dancing like our ceilis, which are traditional group dances.”
Will Grob reflected on his experience enrolling in the school last year and said that the immersion into Irish culture was initially eye-opening.
“At the beginning, it's really hard and sometimes frustrating to learn the steps, but once you have them down, it's really fun to put yourself out there.”
With the new year of Irish Dance underway, there also came an opportunity to build upon the program
“We’re expanding our program to teach three to four-year-olds," Grussling said. "It's called Ceilis Cubs, and we're gonna start reaching out to the youngest of little dancers and start teaching them.”
Dancers from the Carroll-Henderson School of Irish Dance will perform at the Fáilte Montana Irish Festival in Caras Park on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Visit https://www.chirishdance.com/registration For more information on enrolling your child in the Caroll-Henderson School of Irish Dance.