Dance! Dance! And More Dance!


Mercedes P., Arts

In many ways, Elise is just like everyone else in the eighth-grade class at St. Robert School. However, there is one thing that makes her unique: Elise is an avid Irish dancer. 

She is an Open Championship and National qualified Irish dancer and placed in the top 15 dancers in the region in her age group. Elise says that “I spend all my time focused on dancing.” This is true as she spends five days week dancing and one day helping to teach younger kids at her dance studio, Bellator in Germantown. Elise does hope though that despite her very busy dance schedule, her social circle grows saying, “a social life would be nice and I hope to have more of a social life when I join clubs and meet new people at Dominican High School next year.”

When it comes to dance, Elise has set high standards for herself as she wants to compete at the World Championships and eventually be crowned a world champion. In 2019 she placed three spots away from qualifying for the World Championships, so she is working hard to accomplish her dream. She also wants to become an Irish dance teacher when she is older. When asked about stereotypes that Elise and other Irish dancers face, she comments, “That [ people claim that Irish dancing ] isn’t a sport. We exercise and compete and fit the definition of a sport, but [it isn’t] considered one.” Elise also states that Irish Dancing is much harder than it appears to be. She says, “everyone thinks that Irish dancing is super easy and that it is something everyone can do.”  

Elise’s friends have varying opinions about Irish dancing. According to Elise, some of her friends don’t really care about her dancing and others support her a lot in her dancing. Outside of Irish dance, Elise has played the flute in the school band since fifth grade, and she also has played the piano since she was three years old. Elise started Irish dancing at the age of five when she had only been attending St. Robert School for one year and still did half days. She says, “I started Irish dancing…because Gaby [her classmate] did it, and I thought it looked super fun.” 

Elise loves Irish dance for many reasons. She says, “I love the choreography and all the sparkly solo costumes! I [also] love Irish dancing because it makes me happy, and I love sharing the joy through my dances. Winning is also a really nice feeling!” Irish dancing can also be very competitive. Irish dancers have to wear a wig and some kind of hairpiece that matches their dress. Girls over the age of eleven are also required to wear makeup. The Irish dance dresses, or solo costumes, are custom made and extremely sparkly. Elise adds, “some of the more competitive girls get spray tans for competitions.” 

Elise is a very talented dancer and student. She is excited and prepared for what is to come in her dancing career in the future and for her fast-approaching high school years. 



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