Irish dancers bring their heritage annually to Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day parade

Rehearsing with the Irish Dancers of Savannah

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Each year the Irish Dancers play a major role in the celebration surrounding the season of St. Patrick.

For the Irish Dancers of Savannah, the season of St. Patrick is something they work toward year-round. The art of Irish dancing can be found in the footwork.

“One big thing that makes Irish dancing forms is the lack of use of arms and that goes back to the history of how Irish dancing started back in Ireland, so it was actually banned," said Maggie Sikes, Director of the Irish Dancers of Savannah. "Dancing was banned in Ireland for years, like when the British occupied, and so, the Irish people kind of figured out a way to trick the soldiers when they were walking by, because they figured I’m going to keep my arms by my side, but bouncing around, they don’t know that my feet are actually moving.”

For many it’s a way for them to connect with their Irish ancestry.

“There’s not a lot of people doing it, and I just think it’s great to carry it on,” said Haley Clayboss.

“Everyone here has such an Irish heritage, so it’s important for us to remember that,” said Katie Burke.

The school does upwards of 15 performances centered around the season of St. Patrick.

“We celebrate the Saint Patrick,” said Lily Powell.

“It’s very chaotic, but it’s a lot of fun," said Burke.

“Everyone knows St. Patrick’s Day, Irish heritage, Irish dancing, because we’re a good entertainment, a good way to kind of show that Irish heritage and show what this time of year is all about," said Sikes.

The dancers range from three-years-old to high school seniors and until this year’s cancellation of the parade, the Irish Dancers of Savannah had participated in every parade since the early 90′s.

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.