Trinity Irish Dance Ensemble

Trinity Ensemble is the Trinity Academy’s top tier junior performing arts troupe. From leading Trinity’s local performances, to performing around the world at international festivals, these dancers act as ambassadors bringing Trinity’s mission to “elevate children, the community and the world through the power and grace of Irish dance” alive. 

For nearly 40 years, the Trinity Irish Dancers have been the most widely recognized Irish dance program in the world. Founded by Mark Howard in 1982, Trinity has thrilled audiences worldwide with its innovative approach and attention to detail, winning the first world title for the United States in 1987. Trinity has appeared in both feature films and on national television programs including the Tonight Show, CONAN, The Today Show, and Good Morning America. Trinity has the unrivaled distinction of winning more world titles than any other American Irish dance school, and elevating the traditional form of Irish Dance through a performing arts lens.

Irish Dance History: 
Irish dance is a distinctive form, sometimes compared to tap-dancing, requiring athleticism and flexibility. Trinity Ensemble sheds some light into misconceptions and myths around Irish dance. Most of the songs you tend to associate with Irish dance will have a specific dance accompanying it – be it a jig or reel (some of the most recognizable tunes in Irish dancing).  However, Trinity employs many genres of music in their performances, not just Irish music.

In more modern times, Irish dance has become associated with curly wigs. As legend has it, Irish women in the early 1900s curled their hair on Saturday evenings for church the next morning. Most ceili dances took place after church, so the women who attended were known for their abundant curls and competitive Irish dancers began to emulate that style. However, Trinity does not wear wigs for performances, as part of their emphasis on the form’s tradition of intricate footwork.

There are many theories why Irish dancers keep their arms down, but the two most popular are that people in Ireland used to use their half door as a dance floor and not a lot of people could fit, so they had to keep their arms down to fit! Another theory is that during the British occupation of Ireland in the 18th century, Irish dancing was banned. Since the people wanted to honor their culture, they danced with their arms down so that any passing soldiers who looked in their windows wouldn’t know that they were dancing. In traditional Irish dances, arms should be firmly at your sides; it’s what makes Irish dancing so recognizable. While modern Irish dance does tend to nod to tradition, certain group dances have modern Irish choreography where the arms are utilized.