A passion for dance

Keenan thrives in the Irish step dance community



Tessa Keenan, senior, has been step dancing since the fall of 2010, when she was 10 years old.

When she was younger, Keenan tried to partake in different activities and Irish Step Dancing was the one she was drawn to the most. As she looks back on it, Keenan said she is glad she continued with step because it has shaped her into the person she is today.

“It was a different and unique sport that most people did not participate in. I thought it was fun and so I decided to keep it up!” Keenan said.

Irish Step Dance continues throughout the winter which is when most of the performances are, but there are also many camps that are available through the summer. Keenan said she has gone to a few camps during the summer which help her work on her techniques and stamina.

Keenan said she hopes to continue dance throughout her college career, but she is unsure about where she will go from there. She said she appreciates all the life lessons dance has taught her, including how to step up and be a leader.

“It has taught me to be true to myself and how to step up to be a leader,” Keenan said.

Although some people have stage fright, Keenan does not have this problem, in fact she said she enjoys performing. She said she hopes to pass along the love of dancing to her kids because it has taught her so much.

“I love performing because I most often perform for children or elderly people and I love to see their faces light up everytime we walk onto stage,” Keenan said.

For her senior project, Keenan choreographed and taught two dances to a group of ten girls between the ages of nine and ten who were already part of her studio. She said her goal was to improve her leadership skills and her teaching skills.

Although she practices for at least five hours every Sunday, Keenan said she never wants to have her own class. She said she loves her class and she is willing to be a sub for her teacher at any time.

“I do love the girls and teaching, but it is not a smart idea to start my own class at the same time as starting my first year at college,” Keenan said.

Keenan said dance is her favorite thing to do because the atmosphere makes her happy and she is able to be herself. She said, she loves dancing because it allows her to be immersed in the Irish culture even if it’s for a few hours at a time.

Keenan said she likes going to dance because she can be silly without being afraid of being judged by others. She said the atmosphere she is surrounded by during her dance classes makes her very happy.

“Dance is one hundred percent my favorite thing to do because the atmosphere there is just so happy and nice and I can be myself,” Keenan said.

Keenan said she wants people to know that Irish dance is not at all what people see in the movies. It is a sport that takes a lot of hard work physically and emotionally

Irish dancing is a competitive field, but Keenan said she only likes to perform with her troop and does not go to competitions because she likes to dance for fun. She said she loves being able to perform with her friends while live Irish music plays for them.

“I definitely will pass all of this along to my kids, I want them to feel the love from the school that I have and feel what it is like to be a part of a team that is not about competing, but is about bringing happiness to other people,” Keenan said.

Keenan said Irish dance looks like it is graceful and might be easy to learn, but it is hard on the feet. It is a harsh world to live in, Keenan said, because there is no one to hide behind so you have to learn all the steps.

“My dance school is such a family environment all of the dancers are comfortable and I love seeing them grow and come out of their shells,” Keenan said.

Irish Step Dancing is a sport that takes a lot out of people, physically and emotionally, but it can lead to lifelong friends and leadership skills.