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Celebrating Culture at Mercy High School

Last month, Mercy High School celebrated the vast diversity among their community. They had culture, cuisine, and customs that every student was given the opportunity to explore. One student, Evie Kelly, shared her culture through her talent of Irish dancing. 

Irish dancing is a type of dance that originated when the Irish were oppressed and stripped of their culture. They decided that they would dance in rebellion against this oppression. Irish dancing is a type of dance that includes both hard shoes and soft shoes almost like a tap and ballet shoes. Now one can go to something called a feis which is a competition for Irish dancers and level up. Throughout history, Irish dance has been an important part of the Irish culture for many including our very own Evie Kelly. 

Evie started Irish dancing around 10 years ago when she was 7 because her grandpa was an immigrant from Ireland and her family wanted to embrace the culture here in Nebraska. Through Irish dancing, she has been able to explore her Irish heritage and perform in many places. Specifically, in the month of March, she is able to go and perform at different places that embrace the Irish culture, and that has allowed her to meet people who have the same culture. 

Over the years, Evie has progressed in her levels of Irish dance. She first started off as a first feis and then moved through beginner one and two. Then she moved into novice and then prize winner. The last two levels are preliminary champion or PC and then open champion, or OC. Currently, Evie is a PC and is working towards an OC. To get through each level one needs a certain number of first place wins at feises. Evie only needs one more first place to move up to the OC level. She has also qualified for the national competition in November where she can then qualify for Worlds, which is the largest competition for Irish dancers. 

Evie has been to many feises and throughout the years has made many memories. Evie mentioned some of her favorite memories were “when [she] got first place that leveled [her] up into the next level” at one of her feises. In her pursuit of leveling up, she had struggles with this one dance that she needed. During this time, she had fourteen second places in this one dance and all she needed was a first place. She got first place about a year and a half ago and “it was the most rewarding feeling” for her. She had also mentioned another memory where she was about eight and was at her first feis. She had gotten on stage and was dancing her little heart out when the girl next to her started crying. Evie decided to stop dancing and comfort the girl. After they both started over, Evie got first place in that dance. Throughout Evie’s time Irish dancing there have been ups and downs but through this experience she has become close with her Irish roots and loves what she does. 

Evie decided to participate in Mercy’s culture week because she “wanted to show the school [her] culture and how it is important to [her].” She was super excited to show Mercy how much Irish dance means to her and she hopes that everyone enjoyed her short little performance. There are a few events that Evie’s dance company has within the months of February and March that one can go see including company lunches to dancing at the Orpheum. If one wishes to attend then check out Craio na Tire on Instagram and watch for different dates.

Carly Simon
Junior at Mercy High School.
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