Champion Irish dancer Richard Tew is teaming up with Houston's newest band, The Jig is Up!. The band performs traditional Irish tunes and dance music, with musicians on flute, fiddle, accordian, melodian, and bodhrán. Many of the numbers are traditional Irish dance music, making the band a perfect fit for Richard Tew's Irish dancing.
Tew began Irish dancing when he was 20 years old after seeing a local dance school perform. After teaching himself the basics through video tutorials, Tew sought out a dance school. He learned quickly, moving up in the dance levels, winning several state championships and clinching the southern regional championship in 2003.
Recently Tew began looking for a way to share his love of Irish dance with others. "I've always wanted to be on the stage," Tew says. He heard The Jig is Up! performing at a local coffee shop and asked if he could dance with them. When he pulled out his hard shoes, the band members humored him. After Tew pounded out the rhythm to their traditional Irish dance music, the group grew excited and asked him to join them for their St. Patrick's Day engagements. "We both had the idea," says Tew. "We wanted to take it to the next level."
|Richard Tew, champion adult Irish dancer|
photo: Pin Lim
Tew and The Jig is Up! are not trying to recreate Riverdance, according to Tew, "The costuming and music are traditional, also with contemporary new beats and sounds." The group desires to pay tribute to the music and culture of Ireland and pass it on to the new generation. "We want the audience to leave knowing they saw an original traditional Irish dance, as we know it," says Tew. "This is modern contemporary—a competition trained Irish dancer in your neighborhood. It’s good enough to stand on its own."
Giving back with Irish dance - Carolan School and LauraLynn House
Practices for Tew's first performance with the band are in full swing. Tew says that it can be challenging to dance in time to the band's music, which is more spontaneous than the live music played at Irish dance competitions. "They love to improvise, " Tew says, "And it’s natural for them to improvise and let loose, but it can’t deviate for a dancer."
Tew has advice for adult Irish dancers:
"Don’t give up. If it’s really what you want to do, do it. If you want to be good, you have to put in twice as much work to do it. Don’t let competition be the end of your experience.The enjoyment is better than how many trophies you bring home. "
The Jig is Up! with Richard Tew will be performing at the Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex, 2201 Preston, Houston TX 77003 on Saturday, May 12 at 7:30 pm.
For more information about the band, their recording and future performances, go to TheJigisUpBand.com
Readers: Are you an adult Irish dancer, competitive or not, with a story to share? Would you like to inspire others to feel your passion for Irish dancing and culture? Do you have a question about Irish dancing? Please comment in the box below for replies and contact information!