Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Healy Irish Dance Studio | KQED Spark

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>>> EVER SINCE I CAN REMEMBER,

I DON'T KNOW, I'VE BEEN DANCING.

I WAS IN MY FIRST COMPETITION

AT 3 YEARS OLD.

I HAVE BEEN COMPETING

MY ENTIRE LIFE.

I LOVE THE WHOLE FEEL

OF THE STAGE AND THE LIGHTS.

THE PRESSURE, I GUESS IT GETS

TO YOU, BUT IT'S FUN.

>> THE ROOTS OF IRISH DANCE RUN

DEEP.

FOR CENTURIES,

THE STEPS HAVE BEEN PASSED

FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION.

♪♪

IF THERE IS A GENE FOR DANCE,

THESE WOMEN HAVE IT.

CHRISTINA RANUM IS A CHAMPION

DANCER, RANKED 16th

IN THE WORLD.

HER SISTER ALISA HAS GONE PRO,

TOURING INTERNATIONALLY

WITH THE TRINITY IRISH

DANCE COMPANY.

BOTH SISTERS TRACE THEIR TALENT

BACK TO THEIR MOTHER PATTI ANN

AND GRANDMOTHER ANN HEALY.

SINCE THE EARLY 1900s,

THE HEALY FAMILY HAS TAUGHT

TRADITIONAL IRISH DANCE

IN SAN FRANCISCO.

>> YOUR GRANDFATHER.

>> YES, MY GRANDFATHER CAME

OUT FROM IRELAND AND HE WAS

BORN IN KILCORNY, CORK.

AND HE BROUGHT OUT THE STEP

DANCING.

HE TAUGHT HIS FAMILY,

AND HE TAUGHT HIS FRIENDS

AND SOME OF HIS NEIGHBORS.

AND MY DAD, OF COURSE, CONTINUED

ON WITH THE DANCING.

>> AS A YOUNG GIRL, ANN HELPED

HER FATHER TEACH HIS DANCE

CLASSES, EVENTUALLY, OPENING

HER OWN STUDIO.

OVER THE YEARS, HER STUDENTS

HAVE WON TOP PRIZES

IN COMPETITIONS ALL

OVER THE WORLD.

AND TODAY HER DAUGHTER AND

GRANDDAUGHTERS ARE CARRYING

ON THE TRADITION.

>> ALL RIGHT, GIRLS.

LET'S START WITH SOME SPRINGS.

OKAY, WE'RE GONNA START BOUNCING

IN PLACE FOR ABOUT 16 BARS.

UP HIGH ON THOSE TIPPY TOES

AND THEN PUSHING IN THE AIR

SIX COUNTS.

>> TONIGHT, WE'RE GONNA BE

SEEING A PRELIMINARY AND OPEN

CHAMPIONSHIP LEVEL CLASS.

THESE ARE CHILDREN THAT HAVE

BEEN DANCING SINCE THEY WERE

PROBABLY AROUND 4 YEARS OLD

AND THEY'RE VERY HARD WORKERS.

YOU'RE GOING TO SEE SOME

GREAT DANCING.

>> HEELS TOGETHER.

GET YOUR LEFT TOE OUT, SHEILA.

GIRLS, THE FEET STAY IN A V!

>> IRISH DANCING IS PHYSICALLY

DEMANDING.

IT DIDN'T USED TO REQUIRE

THE ENDURANCE AND THE STAMINA

THAT IT TAKES NOW.

AND A LOT OF WHAT YOU'LL SEE

IN THE BEGINNING OF OUR CLASS IS

FOCUSED ON BUILDING STAMINA.

♪♪

>> GIRLS, CLOSE YOUR TWO, THREE.

ONE KICK OUT.

>> WHEN I WATCH THE KIDS DANCE,

I'M CONSTANTLY ON THEM

FOR POSTURE, KEEPING

THEIR SHOULDERS BACK, THEIR ARMS

IN, AND STANDING STRAIGHT --

BASICALLY, LOOKING LIKE THEY'RE

NOT MOVING , FROM HERE UP

THEY'RE NOT MOVING AT ALL, IT'S

JUST THEIR LEGS.

CUTS, WHERE DO CUTS GO?

TO THE HIP.

DO THEY GO TO THE KNEE?

>> THE LEVEL OF CONCENTRATION

TONIGHT IS INTENSE.

THREE DAYS FROM NOW, THE HEALY

SCHOOL WILL BE COMPETING

IN THE ANNUAL SAN FRANCISCO

FEIS, AN EVENT THAT DRAWS SOME

OF THE BEST TALENT FROM ACROSS

THE STATE.

>> ONE OF THE MOST SERIOUS

STUDENTS HERE IS 16-YEAR-OLD

MEGAN ANDERSON.

LIKE ANY DANCER WITH DREAMS

OF MAKING IT TO THE TOP, MEGAN

HAS GIVEN UP HER SOCIAL LIFE

AND AFTER-SCHOOL ACTIVITIES,

COMING TO THE HEALY'S STUDIO UP

TO FOUR TIMES A WEEK

AND PRACTICING TWO HOURS A DAY

AT HOME.

>> SHE HAS DEDICATED HERSELF

TO IRISH DANCING.

SHE'S ALWAYS PRACTICED AND TRIED

HARD AND WORKED HARD, AND SHE'S

ALWAYS BEEN, LIKE,

AT THE REGIONAL COMPETITIONS.

SHE'S ALWAYS BEEN THERE.

SHE'S GOTTEN FIFTH ABOUT FOUR

OR FIVE YEARS IN A ROW AND THIS

YEAR SHE WON FIRST PLACE.

>> BUT GETTING TO THE WORLD'S

TAKES MORE THAN HARD WORK

AND PRACTICE.

13 YEARS OF LESSONS, SHOES,

AND COSTUMES ARE ADDING UP

TO A CONSIDERABLE INVESTMENT

FOR MEGAN'S PARENTS.

>> SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT YEARS I

THINK WE'VE

BEEN DOING WEDNESDAY NIGHTS.

AND THIS IS HOW I, YOU KNOW --

DOING WORK IS HOW I SUPPORT

MEGAN'S HABIT.

AND HER LOVE FOR THE DANCE.

>> TONIGHT, MEGAN IS FIGHTING

A COLD.

BUT THAT DOESN'T SEEM TO AFFECT

HER CONFIDENCE ABOUT HER CHANCES

THIS WEEKEND.

>> DANCING TAKES A LOT

OF ENDURANCE AND TO GET THAT

ENDURANCE YOU JUST HAVE

TO PRACTICE OVER AND OVER,

AND I GOT THROUGH MY DANCES

AND I STILL HAD SOME MORE ENERGY

SO THAT WAS GOOD.

>> OKAY, GUYS, CLASS IS OVER.

EVERYBODY, GOOD LUCK AT THE FEIS

THIS WEEKEND.

WE'LL SEE YOU THERE, OKAY?

♪♪

HI, MRS. McMAHONUS.

RACHEL MILLS AND

BRIDGET FOGARTY FROM THE HEALY

DANCE SCHOOL.

THEY'RE BOTH CHAMPIONSHIP LEVEL

DANCERS, AND THEY DANCED

IN THEIR CHAMPIONSHIP DANCES

THIS MORNING, WHICH IS

WITH THE SOLO COSTUMES.

THEY'RE ALSO DOING FIGURES,

WHICH IS, THIS IS OUR SCHOOL

COSTUME.

SO YOU -- AS YOU CAN SEE, WHEN

WE DO FIGURE DANCING, IT'S ALL

GROUP DANCING.

TWOs, THREEs, FOURs, SIXES,

AND EIGHT HANDS AND ALL THE KIDS

WEAR THE EXACT SAME COSTUME.

THE EMBROIDERY, IT'S A DESIGN

FROM THE BOOK OF KELLS, A LONG

TIME AGO, AND WE'VE ALWAYS

HAD IT.

YOU'LL SEE TODAY.

THE COSTUMES ARE BRIGHT.

THEY'RE COLORFUL.

THERE'S SEQUINS EVERYWHERE.

THEY'VE GOT BIG WIGS, BIG

HEADPIECES.

YOU WANT THE JUDGE'S FIRST LOOK,

YOU KNOW, YOU WANT THEM

TO NOTICE YOU FIRST, EVEN BEFORE

YOU START DANCING.

>> THE JUDGES AT THIS YEAR'S

FEIS COME FROM AROUND THE GLOBE.

OVER THE WEEKEND, THEY'LL WATCH

NEARLY A 100 ROUNDS

OF COMPETITION.

>> WELL, WE'RE LOOKING

FOR CHILDREN THAT ARE DANCING

ON TIME WITH THE MUSIC.

CHILDREN WHO CARRY THEMSELVES

IN A VERY RELAXED MANNER,

SO THEY'RE NOT MOVING

THEIR SHOULDERS OR THEIR BODY

AT THE TIME THAT

THEY'RE DANCING.

♪♪

>> I THOUGHT, AS A DANCER, THAT

WHEN I WOULD BE A TEACHER

I WOULDN'T BE NERVOUS AND IT'S

NOT LIKE THAT AT ALL.

EVERY TIME THAT ONE OF YOUR KIDS

COMES OUT YOU'RE LIKE, "OH,

I HOPE THEY DO WELL."

THE NEXT BIG THING IS

MEGAN ANDERSON'S CHAMPIONSHIP.

SO WE'RE HOPING THAT SHE'LL DO

WELL.

SHE'S OVER THERE GETTING READY,

PUTTING ON HER WIG AND MAKEUP

AND STUFF.

YEAH, THAT'S THE NEXT THING

WE'RE WAITING FOR.

>> THIS IS THE PIT CREW SIDE

OF THE ART.

>> IT'S GOOD TO GET STARTED.

I'VE BEEN HERE SINCE 11:30,

SO IT'S GOOD TO FINALLY GET

THIS GOING.

>> OKAY, LET ME CHECK ZIPPER

AND BACK.

OKAY, I'LL COME SEE YOU BEFORE

YOU GO.

>> GOOD LUCK.

BREAK A LEG.

>> NOT REALLY.

>> NOT REALLY.

>> BECAUSE OF THE SHEER NUMBER

OF COMPETITORS, SOLO DANCERS

PERFORM TWO AT A TIME.

♪♪

SHE'S DANCING A NEAR PERFECT

PERFORMANCE WHEN THE UNTHINKABLE

HAPPENS.

>> IT LOOKED TO ME LIKE THE TWO

OF THEM DID A BLIND TURN,

AND THEN SHE JUST TURNED AROUND

AND THEY JUST RAN INTO EACH

OTHER AND IT HAPPENED TO BE

AT THE HIGH POINT OF HER KICK,

WHICH REALLY HIT HER FOOT

AND INJURED HER.

>> IT'S SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS,

YOU KNOW?

IT'S PART OF DANCING,

HARDSHIPS --

I'LL BE BACK FOR THE NEXT FEIS.

I'LL BE BACK FOR WORLDS.

IT HAPPENS.

>> AND IN FIRST PLACE, 822.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]

>> WE FEEL THAT YOU DESERVE

THIS.

>> OH, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THAT'S VERY SWEET.

>> THAT WAS REALLY NICE OF THEM

TO GIVE HER A TROPHY

BECAUSE THEY KNOW HER.

THEY KNOW HOW HARD SHE WORKS,

AND, YEAH, IT WAS NICE THAT

SHE WAS ABLE TO RECEIVE

SOMETHING.

IT'S QUITE A FEELING TO SEE

SOMEBODY THAT YOU WALKED

INTO YOUR STUDIO AND DIDN'T KNOW

HOW TO DO ANYTHING AND THEN

WATCH THEM PROGRESS

TO THAT CHAMPION LEVEL.

THE BEST THING IS JUST PASSING

IT ON TO THEM AND SEEING THEM

GET EXCITED ABOUT IRISH DANCING

BECAUSE WE WANT TO KEEP IT

ALIVE.

KEEP THE TRADITION ALIVE.

The Description of Healy Irish Dance Studio | KQED Spark