Today my guest feature is the lovely Katie from What Katie G did next. She proves that making the big move to Toronto and having to wave goodbye to her day job isn’t the only option. Katie brings the Irish culture and Craic in full force to Toronto with her Irish Dancing classes. Who would have thought you could be jigging your way around Canada? Read her uplifting story below…
I’m delighted to be collaborating with the fabulous Travelorlabout for this blog post as part of her guest features! She asked me to write about one of the best things about Toronto, and guess what – for me it’s Irish Dancing.
Any dancer will know that walking away (temporary as it may be) from your dance world, dance life and dance family is one of the toughest things to do. I know it was one of my biggest barriers to overcome when deciding on my in Toronto. Luckily, with the support of my 2 dance mentors – Linda and Lynn whom I have the pleasure of teaching with back in Dublin (Sherry-Murphy Academy) – I found a work around. Teach in Toronto.
I know what you’re thinking … “duh!”
Ok, this is my year of new things, so after a bit of thought and research, read: Irish & New in Toronto Facebook group (for anyone moving to Toronto, join this group for help with accommodation, furniture, visa queries and socializing) I decided on an adult’s only dance class – no not the sexy kind, ain’t nobody wanna see all of this.
We have mirrors, we take selfies!
Fun, fitness, craic and of course, culture is what’s on offer at my Irish Dancing classes. The interest in my class has been staggering, and we’ve had people of all ages and nationalities walk through the door, some of whom have never even seen Riverdance – for shame! Really though, the class is a relaxed and non-judgmental environment where people feel comfortable joining in and learning dances regardless of their previous dance experience. Don’t worry Orla, we don’t bite – anyway I’ve heard you’re quite the Jean Butler after a vino or two 😉
A couple of the gorgeous dancers on our first official night out, of many that have followed.
While I knew that “little bit of home” factor would really play a part in how many Irish people joined the class, I never envisaged just how much. At some point each one of my dancers have mentioned how they would never dream of joining an Irish dancing class back home, yet being here made them want to join all the more. Typical of us Irish really, we immigrate to experience an entirely new culture, and find ourselves itching to be outwardly just about as bloody Irish possible. Ah sure, we’re a gas oul bunch of lads, aren’t we? Translation: The Irish are a funny people.
Doing what we do best – socializing!
The dance class has really been a huge success and massively supported by the Irish community here. The class itself has grown into a nice little community of its own that boasts a real sense of pride in spreading and promoting the Irish culture abroad. We have come to refer to the class as a ‘Front’ for a social club- that hasn’t been established through drinking, where people in their 20’s (or older) can come and really meet new friends. I know that’s something a lot of people can struggle with when they love abroad. Personally it’s helped me settle in and become part of a great group of people, not to mention help curb my dancing pangs!
We have had countless nights out since I opened the class just over 3 months ago, obviously, and if Orla decides to join us in Toronto, we know to have a big one planned in advance. I am so enjoying watching some real friendships blossom too. In a Canada most people identify with their ancestry rather than simply as Canadian, but whether you are half or a quarter Irish in our class, there is an immense sense of Irish identity here – feckin’ purebloods so we are!!!
For more info on my Irish dancing classes in Downtown Toronto, contact me on Facebook @ whatkatiegdidnext
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