Irish dance club takes first for choreography at Villanova

By: Jenna Kaerek – Staff Writer

Twelve University of Dayton Irish Dance Club members competed at the first intercollegiate dance competition and took home first place for choreography Saturday, Nov. 16, in Philadelphia.

The competition was hosted at Villanova University and included Boston College, The Catholic University of America, and many other institutions, said senior education major and former president of the club, Megan Dunn.

Alyssa Levato, a sophomore undecided business major, and club president, said the competition provided a team bonding opportunity for the members.

Dunn, also a current dancer, said there are “a lot of rules about who you can compete with and when, and so Villanova organized the first ever intercollegiate competition.”

Dunn explained the competition included four different categories – an eight person, a four person, a solo and a choreography competition. The choreography competition differs from the other categories because all of the dance moves are original, she said. The eight person and four person competitions require a set dance that every team must do, she said. Dayton’s team entered in the eight-hand event, the four-hand event and the choreography competition, she said.

Dayton’s team competed with the original choreography they created last year, Dunn said.

Levato said the win was very exciting because the entire team did it together “and it was really great for us to all
come home with a win.”

The Irish Dance Club has 20 members, but they were only able to send 11 women and one man to the competition, Levato said.

“We had 12 really good dancers that we were able to take,” Dunn said. “We have a wide range of skill level, from very beginners to a member that won second in the world championship.”

Jillian Marron, a sophomore pre-med and psychology major and club treasurer, said “the New England region is good” because of the Irish dance schools they have in the area.

“I didn’t go in expecting we were going to win,” Marron said. “After we got off stage for that third number and we watched the tape, we knew we got it.”

Marron said she also dances to relieve stress in her daily life.

“I compete because when I’m stressed, I want to go to dance and I do it because I love Irish dancing,” she said. “I’m not doing it for anyone or for a prize, I’m doing it for myself.”

Before the competition, the club practiced Tuesday through Thursday from 10 p.m. to midnight.

“If you don’t really love it, you wouldn’t be there,” Dunn said.

Other events for the club this year include Shoes for the Shoeless, Relay for Life, St. Patrick’s Day and their benefit show, Levato said.

For more information, visit their UD Irish Dance Club Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @UDIrishDance.