A Maple Grove jig

Irish dance studio host performance, audition for America’s Got Talent

Irish dances, some known as different types of jigs, showcase a dancers skills with rapid leg movements while the upper body and arms remain still. Members of the community are invited to attend an upcoming performance by a Maple Grove dance studio.

Members of Rince Nua Irish Dance Studio’s 2014 Freestyle Team in practice during rehearsal. The team will perform the Lion King during the studio’s Celtic Seasons recital Saturday, Jan. 25 at Maple Grove Senior High School, which will be taped and sent to America’s Got Talent as a preliminary round audition.

Members of Rince Nua Irish Dance Studio’s 2014 Freestyle Team in practice during rehearsal. The team will perform the Lion King during the studio’s Celtic Seasons recital Saturday, Jan. 25 at Maple Grove Senior High School, which will be taped and sent to America’s Got Talent as a preliminary round audition.

Rince Nua Irish Dance Studio in Maple Grove is the only Irish dance studio in the northwest suburbs. Owned by Erin Cooney, the studio is the only CRN-certified Irish dance studio in the state. CRN stands for Cumann Rince Naisiunta, which is widely known as a traditional dance organization and it has successfully maintained the integrity of traditional dances, while actively encouraging the development of new and innovative work. Cooney has been teaching in Maple Grove since 2007 and opened its current studio space in 2012 off of 93rd Avenue by Osseo Junior High.

The studio will present its annual show, Celtic Seasons, Saturday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. at Maple Grove Senior High School in the auditorium. Chrystal O’Hanlon, an instructor at the studio as well as the production and communications assistant, said this studio dance recital will appeal to the community. “The show features the seasons of the year for its theme,” she added.

Rince Nua dancer Kiana Erickson, Calleigh Cogswell and Clara McMillan, all residents of Maple Grove, have performed at the Minnesota Irish Fair. (Photo courtesy of Chrystal O’Hanlon)

Rince Nua dancer Kiana Erickson, Calleigh Cogswell and Clara McMillan, all residents of Maple Grove, have performed at the Minnesota Irish Fair. (Photo courtesy of Chrystal O’Hanlon)

What makes this show so unique will be not only the dancing, but the two new world championship choreographed numbers. These numbers will also be showcased at the CRN North American Open Championships in New York in February as well as the World Open Championships in Ireland this summer.

One of the debut numbers is inspired by the Lion King and will feature the school’s “freestyle” choreography, which is a mix of contemporary themes and traditional Irish dance. The Rince Nua’s 2013 Freestyle Team is the reigning North American National Champions and third place world medalists.

Rince Nua Irish dancers Jill Shoen, Clara McMillan, Erin McCaffrey, Dulcie Searle and Alyssah O’Neill perform. (Photo courtesy of Kim Adams-Plehal)

Rince Nua Irish dancers Jill Shoen, Clara McMillan, Erin McCaffrey, Dulcie Searle and Alyssah O’Neill perform. (Photo courtesy of Kim Adams-Plehal)

O’Hanlon said, “This number has original choreography created by Krissy Wills, who is a choreography specialist and instructor. She is also a Maple Grove Police officer.”

The Lion King number has seven girls that will be performing it.

The other debut number is “The Swan Woman of the Boyne.” O’Hanlon said this will be a figure dance based on an ancient Irish legend, danced to music specifically written for the troupe by renowned Irish musician Alan Burns. There are 16 dancers on the team for this number.

The studio will also be taping the performance of the Lion King will be submitted to the television show America’s Got Talent for preliminary rounds.

Team Rince Nua stands with studio owner Erin Cooney at the Minnesota Irish Fair on Harriet Island. (Photo courtesy of Chrystal O’Hanlon)

Team Rince Nua stands with studio owner Erin Cooney at the Minnesota Irish Fair on Harriet Island. (Photo courtesy of Chrystal O’Hanlon)

“After being contacted by scouts for America’s Got Talent, studio director Erin Cooney decided to film the January 25 performance for an audition,” O’Hanlon said. “The show wants an Irish Dance troupe with a twist. Our 2014 competitive Freestyle choreography is inspired by the Lion King, and I think it’s just what they’re looking for.”

Rince Nua Irish Dance Studio has dancers  that perform all over the community. Some of the teen dancers compete in smaller competitions as well as the North American Nationals in New York and the World Championship in Ireland. The two debut numbers will also be performed at nationals and the world championship.

“There is a big demand for the studio,” O’Hanlon said. She added there were only four or five other Irish dance studios which are located in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The Rince Nua studio’s website states it is there, “Providing opportunities for lifelong personal growth and excellence through Irish dance.”

There is also a place for everyone at the Maple Grove studio, from beginners, recreational Irish dancers and adult students to performance teams and world-class competitors. There are about 100 dancers at the studio currently ranging in age from 4 years to those in their 50s.

O’Hanlon said, “Beginner or experienced, we do a good job at offering something for everybody.”

The studio offers classes for kids, adults, has a competition team and performances.

She said, “Anyone can do Irish dancing just by jumping in and getting started.”

Those people that attend the studio’s Celtic Seasons show “can expect to see a wide variety of traditional and contemporary show numbers, as the dancers celebrate the seasons with Irish dance.” O’Hanlon added.

 

 

 

 

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