Stepping her way to happiness
Traditional Irish dancing is an art that has been around for hundreds of years. GHS sophomore Mackenzie Knautz has only been doing it for nine years, and she loves it.
“I learned about Irish dance through my cousin’s older sisters who used to dance” Knautz said. “I went to class with them one day and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Irish Dance classes are held in Rock Island, once a month and are one of her biggest challenges. “Because class is three hours away, I don’t get to go very often,” Knautz said. “When I do get to know, my teacher doesn’t always remember what we were working on so we’ll end up learning a different step before we finish learning the first one.”
All of this hard work pays off however. Knautz performs most weekends at the Irish Cottage in Galena. “I have so much fun dancing every weekend and getting to meet new people,” Knautz said. “After I’ve finished a performance, I definitely feel tired, but I’m also usually happier than when I got there.”
It’s takes a lot of skill to participate in Irish Dancing. “When you’re first learning, it’s pretty hard to learn the different steps, learn the names of the steps, and to teach yourself to keep your feet turned out, but after you learn the basics, it’s pretty easy,” said Knautz. “I’m most proud of the fact that I can go all the way up on my toes in my hard shoes because it took me years to figure it out and now I can do them almost perfectly every time.”
While Irish Dance is not something Knautz sees herself doing long time, for now it’s just for fun. “Whenever I’m dancing, I’m very focused on what I’m doing because most of the time, I’m dancing in front of people and don’t really want to mess up,” she said. “But also I’m really relaxed because this is just something I’ve done for the longest time so I’m so used to dancing, it’s almost like I can do it without really thinking about it.”
Mackenzie will forever be in love with Irish Dancing even if she does not see a future career for herself in it. She will continue to work on her dancing because it makes her happy and it is a great skill to have.