Happy St. Patrick's Day! - On this fun day, we bring you a heart-warming story about an unusual Irish dancing troupe where the only person who is Irish is the teacher! The Keltic Dreams is a multi-ethnic group of 33 kids all between the ages of 7-12, who go to Public School 59 in New York's Bronx region.
With a mix of kids that is 75% Hispanic and 25% African-American, this is the last place you would expect to find an Irish dancing troupe - and it's all thanks to their amazing teacher - Caroline Duggan.
It all began accidentally six years ago, when Caroline moved from Ireland to New York and joined Public School 59 as a music teacher. When kids asked her w hy she talked "funny" (her Irish accent), she told them she came from Ireland - and was soon bombarded with questions about life in Ireland, Leprechauns and Irish Dancing.
Caroline showed them some Irish dancing steps and was surprised at how quickly the kids picked them up. This led to Caroline offering them dance lessons twice a week after school, and the "The Keltic Dreams" was born. Since the mix of the troupe is unusual, so is the music. The group jigs not only to Irish music, but also African Rhythms, Spanish Rhythms and even pop music.
They soon started to perform in front of audiences, initially around New York then in other parts of the USA and lately even overseas. Last year, Caroline fulfilled her dreams of taking the troupe to perform in Dublin, Ireland. Whilst there, they filmed an Irish documentary called "A Bronx Tale", which will be broadcast on Irish television this St. Patrick's Day. She hopes to take the kids to Dublin again this year and is currently trying to raise money for the trip.
What is even more amazing about this whole thing is that Caroline is doing this all just because of her passion for the kids. She does not get paid to teach the extra classes - for the students at Public School 59 do not come from very privileged backgrounds. Some of them don't even have homes and live in shelters. When The Keltic Dreams first began, they didn't even have the money to buy Irish Dancing costumes - and they had only eight pairs of dancing shoes that they shared amongst them. However, these minor details do not seem to matter to either the troupe or the teacher - they are just having a grand time dancing!
To read more about this amazing young group of people and their even more amazing teacher, go to www.thekelticdreams.com. Below is a video of the "The Keltic Dreams" performing in Dublin, Ireland last year.