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In Depth

In Depth: College Irish Dance Teams

In this edition of In Depth, I’m looking at a growing trend in the Irish dance community – college Irish dance teams!

It’s that time of year! Most colleges have started classes again or will be in the next few weeks. As hard it is to admit, the summer is over and you’re back to classes. If you’re a college student missing the summer, I advise you to imagine ending your last summer vacation ever after graduation… Those 9:30s don’t seem so bad now, do they? Live it up!

One of the things I miss most from college (besides no Friday classes) is my college Irish dance team. It was the perfect way to mix dancing, my studies and the overall college experience. I had the chance to dance at campus events and explore the process of making my own choreography. Some of my fondest college memories are with those girls! So, due to my postgrad melancholy, here’s an exploration of some excellent college Irish dance teams!

Not surprisingly, most of these colleges are Catholic colleges in traditionally Irish areas like NYC, Boston and Philadelphia. What I’m most proud about is how these college teams use their talents and creativity to explore new choreography and what the future of Irish dance could look like. They’re also all working to get Irish dance to be less of a novel side dance form and become more of a mainstream dance form. Keep on with the great work!

So in alphabetical order, here are some of the biggest college Irish dance teams. PS: The Feisonista mayyy make an appearance in one of these videos….

1. Boston College

The Boston College Irish Dance Club was founded in 2006 and performs at a variety of events on campus. They also have their own showcase in March! Check them out on Facebook, Twitter and their website – a lot great pictures and inspiration. Really love their look!

Also check out their dance to No Speak Americano!

2. Boston University

Step About Boston is Boston University’s Irish dance team founded in 2005. They have a group of more experienced dancers who perform around campus and then also teach new dancers. Each year they put on a ceili for a bit of fun dancing with the University. They also often collaborate with other Boston area Irish dance groups! Check out their Facebook group and website.

Here’s a great video of them performing last year. They have a wide selection of videos on youtube so check them out!

3. Harvard

Corcairdhearg (Irish for Crimson – one of Harvard’s colors) is Harvard’s Irish dance club and was founded in 2008. The club has three functions: instruction, performance and networking. Great aspects for every college Irish dance team. Check out their website.

Last year they put on a show “We’ve Got the Beat” in Boston with collaboration from Irish dance teams from BC, BU, Tufts and MIT. Check out an awesome promo video for it below and an ad for it here!

4. Cosa Meara

Cosa Meara is not one University team, but rather a network of collegiate Irish dance groups. It was begun at the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign and now includes a number of colleges including:

  • Florida State University
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • Marquette University
  • Syracuse University
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Dayton
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Minnesota

Any college Irish dance team can apply to join the network and use their logo to be connected to other college Irish dance groups. According to their FAQ, the main advantage of joining Cosa Meara is, “Networking under one name allows us to work together and be more recognizable. It is much easier for students interested in dancing to find groups by looking in one place or for one name. Additionally, for those campuses hoping to start an Irish dance organization, CMC provides publicity – an integral part to any group’s launch – and a wide, helpful support base. The network also helps the general public, such as potential performance venues or the media, find college dancers.”

Check out their website which has much more information and links to several articles on the network! Check them out on Facebook as well.

5. Notre Dame and St. Mary’s

Of course, the Fighting Irish have an Irish Dance team. They have two teams, for advanced and beginner dancers. Both teams perform around campus at some high profile events like football games. Deirdre Robinette is an alumna!

In addition to performing around campus, they also recently sent an 8-hand to the ceili club competition at the CLRG All-Irelands and won. Teams in the ceili club competition don’t need a TCRG so it’s perfect for college Irish dance teams. I would love to see it become a platform for college Irish dance teams to compete! It’s not something they often get to do as a team.

Check out the team performing at the halftime of a Notre Dame basketball game.

Check them out on their website.

6. UConn

The UConn Irish dance club is integrated into UConn Irish – the Irish cultural club on campus. They do a lot of events that combine Irish dance with Irish culture. Always a great goal!

In the past year they’ve had a ceili and Irish fest with Irish dance performances, music and food! Sounds like a blast. They also perform at UConn basketball halftimes. A lot of Big East schools with Irish dance teams!

Check out their Facebook page!

Can’t even deal with how cute their rendition of 101 Dalmatians for UConn’s Lip Sync is.They won 1st!

6. Villanova University

Last but not least, Villanova Irish Dance! Founded in 2006, Villanova Irish Dance has grown into a large club on campus. They perform at basketball game halftimes and other high profile events around Philly like Philly’s Best Dance Crew. In addition to performing on campus, the team traveled to Paris last year to perform at the European Celtic Irish Dance Festival! Too cool.

Not to mention, they have some cute dresses and jackets!

Check them out on Facebook and their website.

My personal favorite of their dances on youtube – Call on Me! Check out their other dances on youtube as well.

Other Dance Teams

There are a few other college Irish dance teams that I know about, but couldn’t find too much about online. Definitely colleges to look into though if you want to join a college Irish dance team. They are: Manhattanville (Ashley Smith’s alma mater) Tuft, MIT and Providence. Let me know if you know of any more!

Does a college having an Irish dance team make you more likely to go there? Are you part of one? Looking to start one up?

Stay Fashionable, Feisers!



13 thoughts on “In Depth: College Irish Dance Teams

  1. Woo Villanova! Horray for cute dresses and jackets! hahaha

    Posted by Caitlin K | September 17, 2011, 2:23 pm
  2. Thanks for this post. Until recently I didn’t even know that colleges had Irish dance teams. I wish the college I attended had an Irish dance program!

    Posted by Christy | September 22, 2011, 9:12 pm
  3. Duke just recently started an Irish dance team, and we already have upwards of 20 members! Check out a video of us performing an Irish/Indian fusion piece at Duke’s Diwali festival known as Awaaz!

    Posted by Kerri | October 2, 2011, 3:20 am
    • Love the Indian/Irish fusion! I’m doing a post in a bit about Indian/Irish and I’ll have to include this! Great work! We danced at our Diwali celebration at school as well – always a great time So much fun.

      Posted by feisonista | October 2, 2011, 3:37 pm
  4. Yay, college Irish dance groups! I’m co-president of the Tufts Irish Dance Club, and it’s great to see that there are similar clubs on campuses across the country!

    Posted by Lauren | October 5, 2011, 8:01 am
  5. Thanks for the shoutout, Feisonista! Go BU!

    Posted by Becca | October 26, 2011, 6:28 pm
  6. I would love to see college dancers compete, but instead of a TCRG they would probable need a TMRF to qualify.

    Posted by Erin | October 26, 2011, 6:57 pm
  7. You need to add the University of Dayton in Ohio! My daughter is only 10 but would love to go to a college where she can continue dancing. Thank you for compiling this list,

    Posted by Natalie Isvarin-Love | February 18, 2013, 2:15 pm
  8. Loved this article! It’s cool to see that so many other colleges have Irish step groups and also interesting that they all seem to have been founded around the same time. I’m part of University of Rochester’s group, UR Celtic, and we were founded in 2007.

    Our goal the past few years has been to modernize Irish dance so that it’s more accessible to college audiences, so we like to mix and match traditional with modern music when we dance.

    This is us performing at a dance-off on campus for charity in December 2012.

    Posted by jfsklarJulia | August 16, 2013, 4:21 am


  1. Pingback: In Depth: College Irish Dance Teams | Diddlyi Mag - September 12, 2011

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