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Saturday, February 17 News

In step with St. Patrick's Day spirit: Young dancers entertain at Pequot Library

The spirit of the Irish thundered into Fairfield Saturday morning with the energetic and invigorating rhythms of a dance troupe in step with the traditions of Old Erin.

The Lenihan School of Irish Dance performed at the Pequot Library in a pre-St. Patrick's program that brought the large crowd to its feet. The crowd joined in a circle dance, encouraged by the spirit of the 20 or so young women.

"We have about 30 shows over the next three days," said Meghan Lenihan, co-director of the Fairfield-based school.

"This is our busy time of year," she noted, referring to the celebrations leading up to Monday's observance of St. Patrick's Day. "We're just trying to share some of our Irish culture.

The dancers, wearing an array of sparkling traditional costumes and wigs, featured girls ages 9 to 21 years old.

"I like performing for other people and making people smile," said Colleen Mocker, 14, of Fairfield.

"Everybody gets really excited about it," said Brianna Deenihan, 14, of Fairfield.

According to Lenihan, most all the movement in Irish dance occurs from the knees down, with upper body postures static. At the same time, the hard-sole shoes create a thundering rhythmic beat, that plays like drum solos along with the music.

"It's a really great group," said Kelly Iassogna of Stratford, whose daughter Alexa has danced for six years. "She loves going," she added. "The teachers are great. They're very supportive."

This was the second year the Lenihan dancers have performed at the Pequot Library.

"It's great because it's celebrating the Irish culture and exposing our young people to part of our cultural heritage in this area," said Martha Lord, the library's executive director.