Kansas City Irish dance academy carries on tradition

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 12:16 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A local Irish dance academy is showcasing the culture all across the metro this St. Patrick’s Day.

The O’Riada Manning Academy of Irish Dance in Mission, Kansas offers a wide range of classes for anyone three years old and up. They currently teach about 140 people.

They all take pride in getting the steps down and the leaps up and the kids are busy this Friday as they travel across the city.

OM Owner Joseph Manning said, “These kids work really hard. They do a great job, they put their heart into every little performance that they do.”

They were working diligently Thursday afternoon leading up to the big day. Working on the steps all at once, but of course, enjoying the fun times amongst their friends.

Three parades aren’t enough for them as they continue dancing away this early spring season. They’ll be performing at the Maid’s Convention in downtown Kansas City, then at four more spots across the metro Friday.

“Every performance is special; every performance is fun,” said Manning. Sometimes when everything lines up just perfectly you get the chills and goosebumps and you just walk away going, ‘How that is really incredible and it’s just a lot of fun.’ St. Pat’s is a great day for them to put that all together.”

A leader of the group is Ava Adams-Huang, who has been dancing with OM for 10 years.

“I can always improve. There’s no maximum achievement in the sport. You can always leap better or turn out more and it’s not one of the things that as soon as you master it, you’re not going to be there forever,” she said. “You have to keep working at it.”

You should notice they have their arms at their side when they dance. Adams-Huang said that’s just one of the many aspects of showcasing its history.

“I’m kind of a history buff, so I learned from my mom that it came from when the Irish couldn’t dance so they had to keep their arms down so that nobody could see that they were dancing through the windows of the church,” she said. “I think that being a part of something that has that rich of a history is really cool.”

Manning said the dances used to be an Irish-only sport, but it’s been brought down through generations and generations leading us to today. As kids with no Irish heritage get to learn more about it.