Students within our KO community have a wide variety of talents. From athletics to arts, we see students expressing themselves in and outside of school in all sorts of ways. Sophomore Jane Morris expresses herself through dance, specifically competitive Irish step dancing.
Jane began dancing at the young age of five after her mom, Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Relations Frances Morris, showed her a videotape of Jane’s current dance school. Mrs. Morris asked Jane if she was interested, and Jane, fascinated by the dancers, enthusiastically said yes and hasn’t looked back since.
For those of you who may not know, competitive Irish is a style of dance that can be characterized by a stiff upper body, and no arm movement, along with quick steps and precise foot movements.
Jane’s schedule throughout the week tends to be quite busy with dance being on Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Sunday, and a full day on Saturday. This leaves only two days a week when Jane is free. “I’m there Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.,” Jane shared. Not only is she partaking in dance classes, but she has also begun to teach preschool dance lessons on Saturday mornings. This has provided her with a new and enjoyable experience even with such a busy schedule on hand.
For many students, finding that balance between school activities and extracurriculars can be challenging. For Jane, her dance schedule tends to get pretty busy throughout the beginning of the school year and the fall season as she is in preparation for her competitions, which mainly take place in October and November. To make everything fit into her schedule, there are some compromises she needs to make. “On Tuesdays, I need to leave field hockey early, and on Saturdays all I do is dance,” she shared.
Not only does Jane do Irish, but she also takes Jazz and Tap classes. But, if she had to choose a favorite, the Irish would take the win. “Competitive Irish is my favorite because that is where I get to showcase my solo piece,” she said. “I love performing, so when I get onstage it’s this feeling of being able to show off your hard work. I’m just in my element.”
Just last year at Regionals, Jane took home quite the award after winning first place for her solo doing Irish. “I also went to Nationals in July and won eighth!” she shared.
Although the dance aspect is mainly what Jane focuses on, her dance school has also placed a large value on building a strong community and making sure that all the dancers are friends. “I’ve had the most laughs with my dance friends because I’ve been with them since I was five.” Being able to work as a team makes all the difference when spending those long hours together.
Jane wants everyone to know that competitive Irish is much harder than it looks. “People tend to think it is easy since we aren’t using our arms, but that makes it much more challenging,” she said. Although learning the steps is a challenge, Jane has found a great passion in Irish step, and understands that her hard work pays off. Jane is looking forward to this year’s competition season and growing as a dancer throughout the year.