It’s hard to believe that it has been 15 months since the first class as Rince Arkansas. This post is loooooong over due, but I wanted to post it now anyway. I started this post in March 2017, and I am finally getting around to publishing! Looking back over the last 14 years since I joined the McCafferty School takes me through a world of fond memories. From the many dance classes, to the many people that have passed through the doors of the dance studio in these many years, (Once a McCafferty, always a McCafferty!) let’s reminisce for a moment!
People always ask me, “how did you get into Irish dance? Are you even Irish?” I’ll address the second question first. According to my ancestry.com DNA test, I am in fact 5% Irish. For the first question, well it’s a simple story really, and this is how I remember it. Once upon a time, Ms. Ana was in 8th (maybe 7th) grade at Trinity Junior High in Fort Smith, Arkansas. TJH held an annual “Multi-cultural Day” which included a lovely performance representing various countries. That was the first time Ms. Ana watched Leslie and Valerie perform the Downfall of Paris. After the performance, their mom announced that they were starting a dance class and interested people should give them a call. That was it, the moment that practically changed Ms. Ana’s life forever.
I am forever in debt to Leslie and Valerie for introducing me to this crazy, and incredible community of Irish dancing. We had so much fun in the early years performing around town as the Fort Smith Irish dancers. My first feis was definitely a defining moment. It felt good to get gold medals, and I wanted more! Flash forward 18 years, and there you have it, now a TCRG and achieving milestones — my very own dance school.
I am so thankful to the McCafferty School of Irish Dance for the support and instruction that I received for the past fourteen years. It was with bittersweet feelings that we bid farewell to Judy and PJ McCafferty in January 2017. I am so grateful to them for their mentorship, and their incredible support and growth of Irish dance in Arkansas and I am lucky to count them as family. I am so honored to be continuing their legacy in a great new era. McCafferty will remain in our origin, and in our history. We will forever be in their debt for pioneering Irish dance to the many corners of Arkansas, and for their incredible leadership in the Southern Region.
If you know me, then you already know that Irish dance is my life, my passion, and my biggest joy. Opening up my own dance school has been a dream that I have been dreaming for some time, and I still find myself in disbelief that I am actually living it. This past year as Rince Arkansas Academy of Irish Dance has been an incredible journey — not to mention the little addition to our family with the birth of Isabel this past November. I am so grateful for the support of the Rince Arkansas family, and for the privilege to work with their children, and become a part of their lives.
We have had quite the year!
Look for more of these as we reflect on this past year, and look forward and onward!