I grew up in an Irish dancing family, which meant St. Padraig's day was huge in my house. My sisters and I were excused from school each year to tour New York's Capital Region with our dance school, The Wild Irish Acres School of Irish Dance, performing at assemblies, in pubs, in parks and of course at the local Ancient Order of Hibernians. We'd stop between gigs for ice cream from Stewarts (free cones if you wore green!) and corned beef & cabbage and stay out way too late for school aged kids, generally having an absolute blast. My favorite part of every performance was the ceili- a social dance where everyone's a participant.
It's been years since I've been able to celebrate with my first dance school, but the joy of ceili has stayed very present in my mind and in my creative practice. I'm currently directing The Ceili Ensemble with The Ume Group- we're working on contemporizing the form while revering the tradition and embracing it's interactive, participatory roots- and we had a rehearsal scheduled for the 17th! It, of course, made perfect sense to bring our work to the people of NYC spending the night out celebrating Irish culture!