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Resiliency & excitement: area Irish Dancers ready for St. Patrick's Day

While the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade has been canceled for the second year in a row, two Buffalo Irish Dance schools are not letting the year go by unnoticed.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo based Irish Dance schools Rince na Tiarna and Clann Na Cara are not letting the lack of usual St. Patrick's Day parades and festivities stand in their way a second year in a row. 

Both are looking forward to sharing their talents with the greater Buffalo community again. Storm Team 2 Meteorologist Elyse Smith, a former Irish dancer herself, spoke with Clann Na Cara co-founder Mary Kate Conrad and Rince na Tiarna founder Mary Kay Heneghan heading into St. Patrick's Day. 

Even with Buffalo's second consecutive cancellation of the annual St. Patrick's Day parade, both schools have adapted to the current climate and are finding new ways to participate in the "season" this year. The primary way each dance school is doing so is through virtual performances, which are pre-taped shows, and include several dances. 

Mary Kate admits that Clann Na Cara's plan changes on a daily basis.

"As restaurants have been increasing capacity, we have been getting more requests to send small groups of dancers out which is like Christmas day for these girls and boys," Conrad said. 

Over at Rince na Tiarna, Mary Kay mentioned that some of her student's families are planning neighborhood parades, similar to that of the birthday car parades that became popular during the COVID pandemic.

She notes that "kids want to wear their costumes. ... There’s no pressure of a competition it really is just having fun. So I encourage them to take a walk in their costume, if someone might ask you to do a jig do the jig." 

Through it all, both of these instructors say they couldn't be prouder of their dancers. “These kids between school and dance and everything else have become so resilient, and it’s amazing to see," Mary Kate said.  

"The Irish spirit is very strong. People who love risk dance and music are going to continue to and wait for a day where we can all celebrate together," Mary Kay said. 

To learn more about Rince na Tiarna and how to view their virtual St. Patrick's Day show, click here

Clann Na Cara is offering an introductory class, which is special for new students who want to learn the jig. For more information, click here