History of Irish Dancing

In this week's "My Idaho" we found one group that celebrates St. Patrick's Day one step at a time.
Posted at 10:55 AM, Mar 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-17 12:55:26-04

MERIDIAN, Idaho — You don't have to be Irish to enjoy St. Patrick's Day. The holiday is full of all kinds of celebrations, including the art of Irish dancing. In this week's "My Idaho" we found one group that celebrates St. Patty's Day one step at a time.

Bekah Wheeler, founder of Aman Cara Academy of Irish dance in Meridian, says to really understand Irish dance you must understand Irish history.

'Aman Cara' is a phrase referring to the Celtic concept of the soul friend in religion and spirituality.

As explained by Wheeler, "When the British were in control of Ireland they did not want any traditional things going on, so there was no dancing, no traditional music."

Legend has it that the Irish had to start dancing behind hedge rows and stable doors. They would also dance behind the bars in pubs, holding their upper body straight and arms tight by their sides. That way, if spotted by British soldiers, they wouldn't appear to be dancing.

"The rhythm, the competitive side, but also the discipline for yourself. You have to be self-disciplined and very self-motivated if you want to reach the highest level in the competitive world," said Wheeler.

The studio is for all ages. Ironically, as dancer Ella Lechner will tell you, England seems to have fallen in love with Irish dancing. Ella and two others were in England last year competing in the Great Britain Championships.