Sophomore Logan Kavanaugh celebrates Irish dance


Lennon Kavanaugh

Sophomore Logan Kavanaugh competes in teams as well as individuals for Irish dancing.

Marty Blader, Sports Editor

With every swift movement, the crowd claps in rhythm as sophomore Logan Kavanaugh performs his Irish dances in the center of a sea of green at local St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Kavanaugh has been an Irish dancer since the age of five and currently dances for the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance in Elmhurst, IL.

Kavanaugh elaborated on how his experience with Irish dancing taught him moral lessons as well as dance techniques.

“One great thing about Irish dance is, especially for St. Patrick’s Day, we do shows and we do a lot of nursing homes. At these nursing homes after the show, you and all the other dancers go out and greet the people who came,” Kavanaugh said. “It teaches you how to talk to adults and how to be kind to each other and uplift each other– there’s a lot of moral lessons that come with dance, and I think that’s something that’s special.”

As an Irish dancer, Kavanaugh performs in both individual and team dances. He explained how he has learned to handle the pressures that come with performing at shows and competitions.

“When I was younger, I was very nervous going on stage for the solo part, but once you’ve done it for a couple of years, it starts to get easier. And I think one big thing that helped me with that is my parents didn’t force [competitions] on me… So, pressure-wise, it’s different for every dancer, but for me, I don’t feel it as much anymore,” Kavanaugh said.

Kavanaugh was introduced to Irish dancing through his exposure to local Irish Fests and Irish history museums. Kavanaugh’s mother Jessica Kavanaugh explained how Kavanaugh was introduced to the sport.

“My husband and I enjoyed, and still do, attending Irish Fests. … As soon as Logan could walk, he would watch the dancers and try to mimic their steps. Once he was around 6, he decided that he wanted to start taking classes– the rest is history.”

— Jessica Kavanaugh

Jessica Kavanaugh explained the cultural significance of Irish dancing in their family, and how it continues to expose them to Irish culture.

“Logan’s father’s family is Irish, so dancing has been a great opportunity to learn more about Irish history and culture. Two of Logan’s cousins also did Irish dance, though for another school. When they were younger, the family would have them perform their dances from time to time at family gatherings,” Jessica Kavanaugh said.

Kavanaugh has only ever done Irish dance, but within the category, there are many different types of Irish dances that he has competed in. Kavanaugh discussed the style of choreography and what his studio has done in this category.

“The really cool one is choreography, it’s where you get like 16 dancers and you tell a story through dance. At my school [the dance is] called “The Dawn” and it’s about these female warriors, and those are always the biggest draw at these competitions especially,” Kavanaugh said.

Sinead Bunting

Junior Lily Kelliher and Kavanaugh have been Irish dancing together for the past seven years and continue to even today. Kelliher commented on their history dancing together.

“We have performed at schools, competitions and professional sports games together. … We both danced at our elementary school together and will be again on St. Patrick’s Day,” Kelliher said.

Kavanaugh explained his plans for Irish dancing in the future, and how he plans to continue down this path even if he doesn’t dance directly.

“I plan to do it all the way through senior year of high school because that’s usually when people don’t do it any longer… but if I go to college here I might help teach, that’s another option you can do, and that’s what a lot of students do. They end up becoming drillers like the helpers, and then if they stay even longer they become the teachers,” Kavanaugh said.