Nothing awakens the spirit quite like rousing Irish dance music accompanied by the clicks and stomps of a team of high-jumping precision Irish dancers. Among their diverse course listings, Salem Gymnastics is proud to now offer an Irish dancing class for its students, taught by Anna Cumbie of Lismore Academy of Irish Dance.
What is Irish Dancing?
Hundreds of years ago, Irish dancing developed in Ireland as a form of cultural dance steeped in tradition. Irish dancing is easily recognized by its signature straight and still upper body, while the dancers perform quick intricate movements, jumps and kicks with their feet.
Irish Dancing at Salem Gymnastics
Salem Gymnastics owner Beth Morphis first saw Anna dancing at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival in downtown Winston-Salem. “As the dancers took the stage, my daughter sat front and center, mesmerized by the dances she saw. She loved hearing the rhythms their feet made and looking at the beautiful dresses,” said Beth. “I was impressed with the precision and professionalism of the dancers. These girls were sharp! I thought Irish dance could be a good addition to our offerings.”
“At Salem Gymnastics, we believe that children are made to move, and that when they learn to move well, they lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy living. Anna’s approach to Irish Dance and love for children fit right into our philosophy.”
The Irish Dancing class at Salem Gymnastics is held Thursdays from 4:00-4:45 p.m. This introductory class will teach the basic techniques of Irish dancing, including reels, light jigs, single jigs, slip jigs, and figure (team) dancing. This class is open to boys and girls age 5-18. Adults interested in taking Irish Dancing may take classes at Anna’s studio, Lismore Academy of Irish Dance.
Benefits of Irish Dancing for Children
Not only is Irish dance a fun form of fitness, improving muscle tone, stamina, core strength, balance, posture, flexibility and coordination, all to the tune of spirited cultural music, it also promotes self-confidence and can build a healthy competitive nature in kids if they decide to compete. Irish dancing improves cognitive ability as they remember the series of intricate steps, and team dancing helps them learn to collaborate with dancers of different ages. Though being Irish is not a prerequisite to enjoy and benefit from Irish dancing, if there’s even a trace of Irish blood in them, Irish dancing builds a sense of heritage and family roots.
About the Instructor
Anna Cumbie has studied Irish dance since the age of 8, after seeing the Irish dance show “Riverdance” on PBS. She quickly signed up for classes at Rince Nah’ Eireann school of Irish dance in Winston-Salem, where she studied under many instructors and through which she competed all over the world. Irish dancing enriched her connection with her own Irish heritage, and gave her the opportunity to dance in Ireland and all over the world.
Since the age of 12, Anna knew she wanted to teach Irish dance herself. She now owns her own Irish dance school, Lismore Academy, where students of all ages and levels can learn Irish dance. She named the school after the town of Lismore, Ireland, and its castle by that name, which she fell in love with after many visits while traveling for competitions. She also teaches classes in Advance and Lexington, NC.
Salem Gymnastics is located at 4870 Country Club Road, Winston-Salem, NC. Course descriptions, more information and easy registration are available online at www.salemgym.com or call (336) 765-4668.
Irish Dance Special: Try an Irish Dance class at Salem Gymnastics during the month of November, and take $25 off your registration fee!