Friday night, the annual Irish Ceili took place at Morden's Kenmor Theatre, with Irish dancers of all school ages showcasing reels, jigs and other dances they have learned throughout the year.  

Irish Dance Instructor Cathy Savage recapped the evening.  

“This was a fabulous night. These kids did amazing, and it was so nice to see so many people out supporting Danceworks and the Irish dancers and Tom is always the Irish Cowboy, he just rocks it. It's so much fun to have." 

Irish Cowboy Tom McDermottIrish Cowboy Tom McDermott

Manitoba's Irish Cowboy Tom McDermott is a crowd favourite adding his Irish wit, music and stories to the evening.  

Savage described the man who she has known for many years.  

"He has a really, really big heart. He's got a lot to give, and he loves performing and he loves seeing the kids and just the crowd and stuff. He's a true performer."  

Savage admitted there were some nerves behind the curtain before the dancers appeared.  

"I think there was probably 10 dancers, this is the very first time ever Irish dancing on the stage. One of them said backstage, 'Miss Cathy, I've never even been in a recital before. I don't even know what this is.' I said, 'It's not a recital it's the Irish Ceili. It's a fun night for your families and friends. This is your practice before recital.' And then, of course, the other kids who have been competing for years, they're a lot more polished. You just see the levels too, but it was so incredibly nice to see all those little kids out there smiling and on stage for the first time."  

Group photo

Savage said she feels fortunate to have such a great place to work. 

"It is absolutely amazing working with Richard and Vanessa Klassen through Danceworks. I think I am probably one of the only Irish dance teachers to have such a successful relationship working for a studio. Most teachers have their teaching licenses, and they have their own studios. It's their own business and it's really hardcore. So, I'm really, really grateful for the opportunity to work with Richard and Vanessa and for such a great partnership. I feel so incredibly lucky. Once again, it all comes down to the kids."  

This was Keelie Albert's first time on stage with Irish dancing. She says her teacher is big reason she likes Irish dancing so much. 

"She's really nice and I love performing. I kind of have a little bit of stage fright at the start, but once I get into it, I really like it."  

Albert said she gained her confidence by pretending the audience isn't there and once she's on stage and gets into it, she has a lot of fun. 

Keelie Albert dancing with her group

Addy Wiens has been dancing for 5 years with Danceworks.  

"I like that everyone's kind of doing the same thing. It's more synchronized and once you learn it, it's really fun."   

Each time Wiens goes on stage, she hopes she doesn't mess up and one day hopes to be able to go to a competition. The next competition some dancers will be going to is in Minneapolis in April.