Dancers 'Zoom' ahead of the virus

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As events continue to be rescheduled or canceled, the Goulding School of Irish Dance has found a way to follow state regulations and still help their dancers sharpen their skills. In order to keep classes going in a time where large groups are told not to gather, the school launched online teaching sessions for its students on Tuesday. 

Deirdre Goulding Blomberg, a champion Irish dancer, started the Goulding School of Irish dance in the early 90s. She said the online classes are taught over Zoom, a live chat application, so she can offer demonstrations, lead the class and assign homework to students. For their homework, students are to record what they’ve been asked to practice and submit that to Goulding Blomberg for feedback. 

“I’m trying to keep the class as similar as I would weekly classes,” Goulding Blomberg said. “They need to keep some type of normalcy in their life.”

By offering these kinds of courses, they can continue to learn and be social while staying at home. Some students at the Goulding School even dance in competitions, so teacher-guided practice is a necessity. Sixteen of the school’s dancers even took home second place for ladies’ choreography at the 2019 World Irish Dance Championships in Greensboro, N.C.

The school doesn’t just focus on competition, though. They offer classes for students looking to have fun and learn more about that type of dance. 

For Irish step dancers, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest celebrations of the year. It’s typically a time where they can display their work to the community. This year, the Goulding School aimed to keep as much as they could of their usual celebration, which was even staged at Providence City Hall in the past. Their solution was a virtual St. Patrick’s Day performance. 

Teacher Meg Ryan Lynch said the organization wanted to provide a fun opportunity for their dancers to perform even as many of their shows have been canceled or postponed. The end result is a four and a half minute video featuring a few of the school's students dancing to Irish music. Three of the older students in the program danced on both a dock and inside a gazebo, showcasing various Irish dance moves to different songs. The video also included a group of younger students dancing in-studio.

“It’s really an amazing thing to see,” Ryan Lynch said.

Ryan Lynch began dancing at the school in the late 90s and in 2013, joined the school again as a dance teacher. She said their biggest family and community event of the year, Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, has been rescheduled for later this spring.

Lynch said the school has 120 students and for anyone looking for a fun and engaging activity for their children who would like to learn more about online learning with the Goulding School of Irish Dance, to contact her at (401) 419-5236 for details regarding a free online beginner Irish dance class. The school offers classes in Cranston and South Kingstown as well as Massachusetts.

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