Jackie founded, directs, and teaches O'Riley Irish Dance, a one-of-a-kind non-competitive Irish dance program for kids and teens, now in it's 10th year. The classes emphasize dancing as a joyful, social activity rather than a competitive one. Although each class addresses developing rhythm, timing, and technique, first and foremost the emphasis is on musicality: understanding the connection between music and dance, developing a listening ear, and trying to keep the music in the dancing. In the advanced level, students collaborate with live musicians. Students learn a mix of traditional step dancing, sean-nós dance, and set dancing, as well as some soft shoe and ceili dancing. Most importantly, Jackie is trying to pass onto her dancers not just the steps themselves, but the joy and vitality of carrying on this living tradition.
Classes are held at:
2020 Spring Class Schedule
SATURDAYS - Dance Complex (Cambridge)
Jan 4 - May 9 , no class 2/20, 3/19, 4/23
2:00-3:00: Continuing Irish Dance – $288
2:45-4:00: Continuing Irish Dance II – $304
WEDNESDAYS – CanAm Club (Watertown)
Jan 8 - May 13, no class 2/19, 4/8, 4/22
5:00-6:15: Continuing Irish Dance II - $285
5:30-7:00: Intermediate/Advanced Irish Dance - $300
THURSDAYS – West Medford Community Ctr. (Medford)
Jan 9 - May 7, no class 2/20, 3/19, 4/23
3:45-4:30: Beginner Irish Dance – $240
4:30-5:30: Continuing Irish Dance - $270
2020 End-of-Year Performance and Celebration
Sunday May 10th - End-of-year Performance!
Two shows: 10:15am and 11:45am
Wednesday May 13th - 2nd Annual O'Riley Irish Dance Family Céilí
Free to all OID students and families
Live music by Natasha Sheehy, Devin McCabe
Performance Group/Junior Performance Group
The O'Riley Irish Dance Performance Group was started as a project to challenge the more experienced dancers to develop a different skill set, including working with live music, developing improvisation skills, and helping to create choreography. It also has provided them an outlet to share their hard work and passion with others. The result has been a tight-knit group that has developed an intuitive rapport with each other on-stage and off. Memorable performances to date include dancing with the Barra-MacNeils at the Chevalier Theater in Medford, MA 2015, dancing and as part of a Kieran Jordan production titled "Little Gifts" in Cambridge, MA, 2016, and self-produced shows including "The Next Step" in 2017 and "In Harmony" in 2018!
In 2020, we were slated to perform as part of the St. Patrick's Day Comedy Spectacular at the Rockwell Theatre, Somerville, and as part of the International Bagpipe Festival at Harvard University, as well as various nursing homes and community centers. Sadly, due to Covid-19, all performances have been canceled.
The wonderful Hannah DeRusha has been instrumental in carrying on and developing the programming for our younger students. Hannah is a lifelong Irish dancer, and has extensive experience performing, competing, and teaching both children and adults. She holds a Master's degree in early childhood education and currently teaches school in Winchester. This is her fifth year teaching with O'Riley Irish Dance!
Shoe Exchange Program
To help offset the costs of buying new shoes for ever-growing young feet, we have a shoe exchange program. For those that wish to donate their old dancing shoes, I will hold onto them and make them available to others to "rent". Dancers wishing to rent them will pay a one-time very small donation and use the shoes until they grow out of them. The money collected is used on something fun for the dancers – live music in class, our holiday party, etc.