(Amanda Atkinson is a Bitesize Irish Gaelic customer, taking our online Irish Gaelic lessons. She’s an Irish dancer and dance teacher in Michigan, and supplies Irish dance products. She not only teaches dance steps to her students, but also teaches them some Irish language! Here’s Amanda’s story, with lots of videos!)
Amanda: I teach at a dance school called American Dance Academy that has teachers that teach ballet, point, tap, hip hop, Hawaiian, Polynesian, lyrical, Irish, and Jazz. Each teacher specializes in their own dance.
(Dia dhuit, Eoin. Is mise Amanda = Hello Eoin. I am Amanda.)
I started Irish dancing in 2006 as an adult beginner. My oldest daughter was taking it and the teacher said I could join as well in the same class. I thought it was so exciting to see my daughter dance while the teacher played the penny whistle, and it opened my eyes that this is a huge opportunity to teach my children about their own heritage.
(Dia dhuit, Megan, fáilte ar ais. = Hello Megan, welcome back.
Dia dhuit, Samantha, go raibh maith agat. Conas atá tú? = Hello, Samantha, thank you. How are you?
Tá mé go maith, agus tusa? = I am well, and you?
Tá mé go maith. = I am well.)
My youngest daughter wasn’t quite 1 yet and it was also an opportunity to get back into shape after pregnancy. I loved dancing to live music, it’s so different from popping in a CD! I stayed with that school until October of 2010 when my daughter had to stop dancing due to Osgood Schlatters disease. Her knees were so swollen and painful and she could no longer dance.
(Uisce, Elyssa? = Water, Elyssa?
Go raibh maith agat. Sláinte! = Thank you. Cheers!)
(Slán abhaile. = Safe journey home.
Lá Fhéile Pádraig = St. Patrick’s Day
Nollaig shona duit. = Merry Christmas.
Oíche Shamhna = Hallowe’en)
I started teaching Irish dance at American Dance Academy in September 2008. They had never offered Irish dance at their studio, and since this was just a basic introduction (non-competitive) to Irish dance, I didn’t need to be certified to teach it. I was taught a few things in Gaelic at my previous dance school and how to count to 15. I shared what I was taught and found it just wasn’t enough for me.
Then I came across a website called Irish-sayings.com [Eoin’s note: that was the precursor to what is Bitesize Irish Gaelic today.]. I picked up a bunch of things from that site, and taught what I could to my students, that’s when I came across Bitesize Irish Gaelic and to you. I feel if I’m going to teach Irish dance, it’s got to be more than just steps, I want to teach the culture.
(Dia dhuit, Megan, is mise Adele.
Dia dhuit, Adele, is mise Megan.
Let’s count and do our stretches.
A haon, a dó, a trí, a ceathair, a cúig, a sé, a seacht, a hocht, a naoi, a deich, a haon déag, a dó dhéag a trí déag a ceathair déag, a cúig déag, a sé déag, a seacht déag, a hocht déag, a naoi déag, a fiche.)
Dia dhuit, is mise Adele.
Dia dhuit, is mise Maddie.
Gráim thú = I love you.
álainn = beautiful
sásta = happy
Is ea = Yes
Ní hea = No
máthair = mother
athair = father
uisce = water)
I also picked up some handy sayings I don’t teach my students, but rather use at home with my own kids like “dún do bhéal” (shut your gob!).
Music for Irish dance
I have a lot of different CDs I use for dance. Some of my favorites are Brian Bonner (local musician), Dean Crouch, Brian Glynn, Craig Duncan, Ellery Klein, Mike and Theresa Shaffer, Pat King, Stephen Walker, Tony Nother to name a few. I’ll also use music from Riverdance or Lord of the Dance. I’ll also use cd’s with various different artists.
I’m currently a student at Ealaín Céime Irish Dance School. I’m in their advanced adult class and in their adult performance troupe. I only just started there in March 2011, but already I love it and will be performing in July.
(Slán Eoin! Irish dancers cics sa tóin. – Bye Eoin! Irish dancers kick butt.)
Amanda now provides Irish and Scottish dance products in Michigan. We support Amanda, and thank her for her support to us! Here are her contact details:
Thanks to Amanda and her students Samantha, Adele, Megan, Elyssa and Madeline for showing how they’ve been learning the Irish language so well! Please leave any replies, questions and compliments for Amanda and her students below.
Amanda sent on more Irish dance videos with spoken Irish.
Want to learn Irish Gaelic online, just like Amanda has been doing? Consider joining us to take our online lessons.