Learn how to river dance

Learn to Riverdance in two weeks? No sweat – The Irish Times

Sweating and cursing, I slump to the floor and stare longingly at my handbag, which I know contains a bottle of ice-cold water and a bar of chocolate. The blisters on my feet are aching, but I know I have to dig deep and summon the energy to pick myself up and start again. As I struggle to my feet, Bill Whelan’s familiar music blares through the speakers. I lift my head, stand tall, and for what feels like the 100th time, begin dancing.

When asked if I'd be interested in learning the steps for Riverdance, I agreed without question. I'm not a dancer. As a child I used to traipse to the school hall once a week to learn my h-aon, dó, trís with the rest of my runner-wearing classmates. None of us was destined for dancing fame, but from the enthusiastic girls in the front of the class to the grumpy boys shuffling at the back, we all jumped around and stretched our limbs.

Years of primary-school dancing lessons may not have sent me straight to the stage, but it did instil rhythm. During my teen years I developed these skills by dancing the familiar Ballaí Luimní in school halls in the west, desperate to impress those strapping young Irish College lads.

Sorcha Pollak and Pádraic Moyles. Photograph: Alan Betson

That I'm not a dancer becomes quite apparent from the moment I meet Pádraic Moyles, associate director and principle dancer of Riverdance and my trainer for this experiment. He is exactly how I imagine a professional dancer to be: he's fit, lean and moves in a way my body refuses to imitate.


As a small boy, Moyles would watch and take part in the set-dancing sessions his parents held in the family home every Friday. When he was nine his family moved from Dublin to New York, where he began dancing with the teacher Donny Golden.

Sorcha Pollak has 2 weeks to transform herself into a Riverdance dancer ...can she do it? Video: Darragh Bambrick / Daniel O'Connor

“I didn’t like dancing at all,” he says. “It was getting in the way of football and basketball and all those American sports that I was starting to get into.”

However, at 17 he skipped school to travel to Boston for an audition with a new Irish dancing show. Within a few months he was finished high school, and in November 1997 he began dancing with Riverdance.

“In one sense it’s an addiction for me now,” he says. “I absolutely love it and there is nothing like feeling the applause and the appreciation of a crowd at the end of the night.”

Twenty years later

Riverdance is celebrating its 20th anniversary since it was first performed as the interval act at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994. Two decades later the show has been seen by more than 25 million people in 46 countries across the globe.

I have often wondered what dancing in front of an international audience would feel like. As I turn up for my first class, my enthusiasm to learn masks my panic.

I imagine my new teacher is expecting a dancer more like the attractive colleagues who accompany him on stage, dancing the steps with make-up and hair perfectly intact. Sadly that’s not how I look as I grapple with the ridiculously high-speed choreography. Each step is demonstrated with mesmerising speed and dexterity. I, on the other hand, trip and sweat my way through each afternoon.

However, despite the countless falls and inability to pick up seemingly simple steps, I emerge from each rehearsal invigorated. Dancing has the ability to clear your mind of all worries and fears. It requires that you focus 100 per cent on the movement of your body, leaving no time to stress over picking up the shopping or meeting a deadline.

One hour rehearsing also leaves you with an indescribable hunger. As I imagine the giant plate of pasta I will prepare post-rehearsal, Moyles tells me he tends to eat high levels of protein to maintain his strength.

“Most mornings when I wake up it’s oatmeal and egg whites with some honey. For lunch I try and eat bigger because I like to feel light going on stage and have two chicken breasts with some broccoli.”

Suddenly I can no longer justify that metre-long baguette I hoped to buy on the way home. “Don’t worry”, he adds, “I love a chocolate bar every now and then.” I breathe a sigh of relief.

Dancers lose an average of 5lb of water weight during every performance of Riverdance. "In China we lost about 15lb," says my lean but not mean trainer. "We couldn't find the right foods and none of us were properly prepared for the culture shock."

I empathise with those dancers, not the pounds but the water weight. I don’t think my skin has ever excreted as much fluid as during the intense rehearsals.

After 17 years dancing, Moyles says that eight shows a week, often for 52 weeks a year, is exhausting. He tells me about the challenges of being on the road for months, living out of a suitcase and searching for a launderette in China.

"There are certain territories that are easy to tour, like the United States and Europe, but then there are other places that are extremely difficult, like Asia, and China in particular."

However, it’s not all sweat and blood on tour. When 18-year-olds begin dancing with the show straight out of school, they soon learn that their pay cheques won’t fly straight out the window.

“We have no rent and no bills. Nowadays the most people have is a mobile phone bill,” says Moyles.

Retirement age

As my bones begin to ache after an hour of rehearsing, I ask him what the retirement age is for dancers. Michael Flatley (55) is still dancing, he tells me, as is Donny Golden (61).

“You’re never too old to dance,” he says, as I strap on my black, hard-soled dance shoes for the first time. “You grow old because you don’t dance. The day I don’t dance is probably the day I’m going to become old.”

Relearning to dance reawakens the 10-year-old inside me. Somehow, in the space of two weeks I am transformed from a very self conscious novice into a toe-tapping Riverdancer.

Sadly, the sweaty hours I have spent in the studio on the banks of the Liffey may not, as I secretly dream, lead to a career in performance. However, they remind me of the importance of embracing my creative inner child.

Bring on those west of Ireland céilís: the boys will be only dazzled by my dance skills in the halla.

Riverdance returns to Dublin for a summer season at the Gaiety Theatre from June 23 to August 31

Central Florida Irish Dance Studio

When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.

About Us

We are the top-rated Irish Dance School in Orlando with over 130 students and National Champions as young as 5 years old and Top Ten World Champion Placers. Irish dance classes in Orlando and surrounding areas taught by fully qualified ADCRG/TCRGs with over 20 years experience. We have 10 different locations and 3 on school campus locations.
We pride ourselves on taking a complete beginner to Open Champion in just a few years.

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Applies to any student wishing to try a kids class at any location. Please let us know which day/time you would like to try. Student needs a water bottle, suitable exercise clothing and sneakers or appropriate footwear. Open to boys / girls of all levels in Irish Dance age 3-18.

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2022-2023 TERM

AUGUST 2022 – MAY 2023


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– $30 Family

– 30 MINS – $40
– 45 MINS – $60
– 1 HOUR – $75

– 1 HOUR – $60



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Our Teachers

Central Florida Irish Dance was founded in 2013 by Sarah Costello a professional Irish Dancer and Musician. Sarah has performed in venues throughout the continents of Europe, Asia, America and Australia. She has taken the role of lead dancer and dance captain with prestigious Irish Dance Troupes. After qualifying as an ADCRG in 2022 the school name was changed to Sarah Costello Irish Dance Academy USA.


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My daughter loves dancing with Central Florida Irish Dance! She started with one class a week and loved it so much she asked to add a second class. The teachers are very patient and really are invested in their students success.


My daughter, Simona turned 3 recently and is super energetic and loves to dance. I wanted to find the right place to start her first lesson and stumbled upon Central Florida School of Irish Dance. She LOVES it! Ms. Sarah is so personable and had a very balanced approach to teaching. She can be their friend and instructor at the same time. My daughter breaks out into her Irish dance wherever we are and can’t wait to be picked up from school to go dance every week. She also participated in her first feis and I was so proud of her. Ms. Sarah has really done wonders in just a matter of a few months and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead! Kudos to this dance school for all your hard work on the students. With the parents and teachers that are all so involved, it’s really like a big old family!

Preeti Prabhakar

I love everything about Central Florida Irish Dance. We were referred to the school by a professional Irish dancer when my daughter expressed an interest in taking lessons. I had no idea what an amazing addition Irish dance would be to all our lives.
The level of instruction Sarah Costello provides is exceptional. My daughter has become an award winning dancer in just one year. Her confidence has shot through the roof, she’s more focused, and she’s so passionate about dance.

Heather Hays

My daughter is getting ready to start her 3rd year with Central Florida Irish dance. She has taken her after school activity and turned it into so much more. She attends class in multiple locations (St cloud, celebration and winter garden). My daughter not only is learning to dance but also to speak Gaelic and about her heritage.

Michele Thomas

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If you go to the right, they will teach you to dance, to the left, you will explore the world...

From July 3 to July 6, the territory of the educational and health camp of the Volgograd Social and Pedagogical University "Marathon", which is located in the Sredneakhtubinsky district of the region, was filled with active, creative, cheerful, responsible, purposeful and intellectually developed young people. Some of them formed the "Dance Village", others came to the "School of a young researcher-2013". Naturally, photojournalist Viktor Yashukov and I wanted to talk to them. We invite you to join us!

Where hip-hop coexisted with break, and Afrojazz coexisted with Cossack dance

“Each element of the dance means the action of the god Shiva,” Oksana Vishnevetskaya, head of the Shining Star Indian dance studio, enthusiastically told her students and even casual viewers. - We show by actions how Shiva opened his eyes after meditation, his energy woke up, he took the Ganges River on his hair. We also learn from the dance that he is a warrior, he kills enemies with a trident, but at the same time he is very gentle towards his wife Pavoti ... In general, the Indian temple dance is an amazing mosaic in which the foundations of Indian philosophy, religious studies and even stories. By the way, this statement is true for any dance, because in its process there is an attachment to new knowledge and experiences at the level of the body! There is even a saying: “If you want to know the people, dance with them!” So dance! By the way, the project "Dance Village" from the Volgograd Social and Pedagogical University is a huge contribution to the popularization of various areas of dance among young people. Arriving at the "Dance Village", we were able to show ourselves, to look at others, and most importantly, to get great pleasure from everything. It's a pity that we're already parting tomorrow...

According to the organizers of the Dance Village, such a project was held for students for the first time: dancers, choreographers and choreographers gave master classes in seven dance styles: Arabic dance, Indian temple dance, break dance, hip-hop, male trick dance and combat Cossack.

The “parents” of such an original project were Lyudmila Dolgopolova, head of the department of choreography at VGSPU, Elena Zudina, vice-rector for youth policy of the university, and Larisa Storozhenko, director of the center for culture and leisure at VGSPU.

“The project turned out to be a useful pedagogical find in many respects,” Lyudmila Alexandrovna shared with the newspaper “Gorodskie Vesti”. – For the first time, all of us, choreographers of our university, choreographers and students who study with us and dance either professionally or amateurly, have united within one time period on one large dance floor. There was an exchange of experience: the guys dancing, for example, the Indian temple dance, learned to dance hip-hop, the break dancers - Afrojazz, and the boys dancing the male trick dance, risked mastering the Cossack combat.

— Lyudmila Aleksandrovna, what is the most important result of this experiment?

— The students who participated in the "Dance Village" found out for themselves that not only each of them is worth something, but their colleagues in another dance direction are also great masters. It turned out that everyone has something to learn from the other. And, for example, it is no easier to dance an Arabic dance with dignity than a combat Cossack or trick dance. This must be learned, and any heartfelt work gives rise to respect. Therefore, a very inspiring and cozy atmosphere formed in our “Dance Village”: there was no evil competition, just active, deep and creative work was going on. From here, many friendships, new interests and ideas appeared ...

— And what did the teachers find out for themselves after living in the Dance Village?

— For all of us, choreographers and choreographers of VGSPU, the project has become an occasion to unite and work in one team. And if we take into account that two ballet masters from VGIiK were involved in the “Dance Village”, which, we are sure, their other colleagues will also follow, then we have every reason to unite a huge number of dance masters of various directions around our university. Can you imagine what scale projects can be done then, how much new to learn and how many interesting things to share?!

— Lyudmila Aleksandrovna, if we return to plans for the near future, then…

— Since the project of the department of choreography of the VGSPU “Dance Village” was approved by the rector of our university, Professor N.K. Sergeev, who came here, to the training camp, then we will definitely hold it next year. There are already applications for new master classes: the guys want to learn tap dance, Irish dance, flamenco, salsa and mamba.

— This year, 60 students from your university took part in the Dance Village project. And if future doctors, lawyers or journalists expressed their desire to learn to dance, then . ..?

- Welcome! Moreover, already this year we began to involve high school students in our project, who are engaged in dance groups in the Volgograd region. So far, only the Kalachians have responded. But this is only the beginning!

- Today will end in the "Dance Village" with a huge dance flash mob, in 20 minutes of which all 60 participants will concisely, brightly and in an original way give out the luggage received here to the audience. And it will be an extravaganza of emotions and skill! And what will they be able to brag about to their relatives and friends after leaving the Dance Village?

- Certificates. And each of our residents takes with them a DVD disc with cuts from master classes, where the most lively, original moments are captured.

Listen to a science story and... write your own!

The "School of a Young Researcher" project, which, by the way, is being carried out by the university for the 12th time, attracted almost fifty VGSPU students who are interested in scientific work to the Marathon camp site. Tutors, graduate students of VGSPU and teachers involved in scientific activities worked to their fullest to help them.

Thus, the most active participation in the "SHMI-2013" was taken by: Head of the Department of Pedagogy for Research Professor S. V. Kulikova, Professor I. V. Vlasyuk, Associate Professor E. E. Chudina, Associate Professor V. K. Pichugina, Associate Professor V G. Malakhova, professor, candidate of psychological sciences N. Yu. Chizho.

— The guys got three topics to study, work on which will later help them in their profession: “Problems related to the support and implementation of gifted children”, “How to organize a student portfolio” and “How to build a mechanism for self-education”, - said the newspaper "Gorodskie vesti" Victoria Malakhova. The guys chose different forms of presenting their research: there was a traditional scientific research, as well as a scientific presentation and even a fairy tale. Moreover, children worked in different age groups.

— Victoria Grigorievna, in your opinion, what is the most important result for the guys who came to ShMI-2013?

- There are several of them. Firstly, they learned to interact in new conditions and a new team, which develops flexibility and purposefulness. Secondly, communication with teachers in an informal setting inspired and inspired many. Thirdly, when a lot of people who are passionate about science gather, many new ideas and worthy solutions are born. And our "SHMI-2013" once again confirmed this!

— New tasks that will now be set by the participants of "SHMI-2014"?

— In order not only to maintain interest in science, but also to solve new urgent problems of our society with the help of students, postgraduates and teachers in the way that is inherent in young people: in an original, dignified and economical way!

As we have learned, the traditional summer psychological school, the Student Marathon shift, the Resurs research school for defectologists and the Summer Akhtuba Readings are ahead in the Marathon educational and health camp. An exciting summer continues!

Social dance club La Danse on emb. river Karpovka


"Dance chic: fashionable, beautiful, easy!"
Dancing is fashionable! Knowing how to dance is beautiful! Learning to dance is easy! With "La Danse"!

"La Danse" - an exclusive dance club!
Stylish, fashionable and beautiful dance club a la Salon "La Danse" presents dancing as a fashionable, prestigious and sophisticated leisure activity.

The level of the club corresponds to European and world standards: refined, elegant atmosphere, highly professional choreographers, convenient location, author's design, halls equipped with the latest technical achievements.

Unique dance trends, exclusive programs from international dancers, individual approach to each client, social evenings, glam-shows and social dance competitions held by the club, the prospect of participating in the most sophisticated European balls, as well as in international prestigious performances and competitions - it's "La Danse"!
49 dance styles

Our club regularly hosts themed dance parties and social events. We participate in PROM tournaments. There is a dance lounge (recreation area).

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1131 place

Among 1627 schools in St. Petersburg

86th place

Among 116 schools in the Petrogradsky district

72nd place

Among 93 schools near Petrogradskaya metro station

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By metro: After exiting the Petrogradskaya metro station, it is better to go through the underpass to the other side of the metro station and go towards the region. Before reaching the Karpovka River near house 44 on Kamennoostrovsky Prospekt, you need to go into the arch next to the Tiffany store and inside the courtyard in the wing of the new yellow-burgundy house, the La Danse studio is located. The entrance to the La Danse studio is right in front of you.

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