WHILE the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a lockdown and a plethora of restrictions, at the same time many within the Irish community have conversely unlocked their creativity and showcased a host of new talents.
One of the most recent examples of this comes from Edinburgh-based Irish dancer, Jennifer Hogan Roxburgh (above) whose innovative new project, the Irish Dance Village, aims to create a community for Irish dancers—old and new—to create, connect and experience all that Irish dance, fitness and wellbeing have to offer.
Jennifer, who has been a longstanding member of the Siamsoir Irish dance troupe, has incorporated this along with Irish Dance Academy and RoxyFit Irish Dance fitness and wellbeing training to form the Irish Dance Village whose ethos is ‘find your feet; fill your heart.’
“I am so excited to launch the Irish Dance Village because I now get to share and shout about what I’ve been working on for the last few months,” Irish Village Artistic Director and Founder, Jennifer said. “It’s been an amazing experience and I am so proud of what’s to come.
“The Irish Dance Village is a concept that has been brewing for some time, but lockdown really spurred me into action. Lockdown highlighted the need for connectivity and we all felt the impact of not having this as a physical choice. A few people and inspiring voices came into my life at this time and it has helped shaped the idea of the Irish Dance Village and everything I want it to offer. I am delighted and astonished to be launching it.”
“Siamsoir and The Irish Dance Academy still very much exist, they are the Village! They are joined by RoxyFit Irish Dance, the branch of the Village that offers fitness and wellbeing training. There is so much more to come on that front.
“The three pillars that are the foundation of the village are tradition, performance and fitness and now it has all fallen into place in a beautiful, supportive, encouraging space known now as the Irish Dance Village.
“As and when lockdown eases there will be so much more added to our offerings in terms of physical classes, new experiences and workshops but for now, let’s build this unique online space and get back in touch with our glorious Irish dance selves.”
Delving a little deeper into her reasons for founding the Irish Dance Village, Jennifer spoke of her creative epiphany and her desire to live life to the full and encourage others to do likewise.
“Like a lot of us in lockdown, I have used this time to reflect,” she added. “I examined what my life ‘before’ looked like, but more importantly what it felt like. I knew there was something missing. I realised my heart wasn’t completely full and I wanted to change that.
“The morning that changed everything was the morning I went in the sea at 6.55am and watched the sunrise. I don’t know if it was the pumping adrenalin as the cold water chilled me to my core, the sheer beauty of the calmest sea, the momentous power of witnessing a sunrise or that the last few weeks I had spent time listening to my quietest voice, the deep down one. Now she was shouting and being heard as my face filled with sunshine and met a new day.
“So what led to this moment? Well, every morning for a few weeks I had been walking in silence in the gorgeous fields surrounding my house and eventually the surface chatter full of anxiety, to-do lists and noise fell away and sitting there was this idea of what does a full heart look and feel like? What does that mean to me? I started to curate the vision of the life that I wanted to live; the life I deserved to live; and then I wanted to live it! For me it means bringing and experiencing joy, being inspired and inspiring others, being present and focussed on gratitude, seeking out solitude; filling my heart so that I could fill others’. If I am depleted then how can I be the best version of myself and in turn be the best mother, daughter, wife, sister, aunt, friend or teacher. Simply, I cannot.
“Enter a new way of thinking; let’s make every day a 10 out of 10 day, let’s share this new energy and encourage others to feel this too. Let’s seek out the things that fill our hearts and do more of that!”
Beginning on October 19, there will be a free trial week for people to try out the Irish Dance Village classes. To find out more about the classes and courses offered and to read Jennifer’s blog, visit: www.irishdancevillage.co.uk or get in touch by e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org