A Hot Night of Dancing

John Shields gives Irish jive dancing a whirl.

John Shields gives Irish jive dancing a whirl.

The air conditioning in the Philadelphia Irish Center ballroom was having a hard time tamping down the heat and humidity, but no one out of the 40 or so students who showed up last Friday to learn the basic steps of Irish jive dancing with instructor Colette Glynn seemed to mind at all. Now and again, they’d pause for a quick break to mop the sweat off their faces or take a long, cold drink of ice water, but after that, it was back out on the hardwood floor for more whirling and twirling.

The sound system cranked out swingy old tunes like “Please Release Me” and “She’s Not You” as Glynn went from couple to couple to observe their steps, and occasionally demonstrate jive dancing’s unique back-and-forth arm motion, kind of like a piston rod on an old steam locomotive.
At first, some of the dancers seemed a little shy, but local Irish dance instructor John Shields, who is anything but shy, grabbed the microphone to offer a bit of humorous encouragement. “Grab somebody, for God’s sake,” he implored. “You’re not marrying them. You’re not taking them home.”
That seemed to be enough encouragement for even the most reluctant dancers. Virtually everyone took to the floor, and aside from the occasional water break, didn’t leave it all night long.
We have some photos from the class. Check them out, above.
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