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Photo of kids in costume on dance floor
Cleveland's Inis Acla School of Dance

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Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival
A Local Legacy

Have you ever heard of Irish step-dancing? If you have, it's probably thanks to the high-spirited Irish dance show "Riverdance." This form of Irish dance was relatively unknown outside of Ireland until the 1990s, when this show made it popular around the world.

Each summer, the traditions of Ireland are celebrated in Cleveland at the annual Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival. This celebration of the region's Irish heritage features the best in Irish entertainment from Ireland, Canada, and the United States on nine stages. The girls in this photo are doing a traditional Irish folk dance in authentic costume. Other highlights include Irish plays, pipe bands, and an Irish feis.

A feis is an Irish dance competition. There are different types of Irish dance. In addition to step dancing, there is ceili dancing. Both dances have fast footwork and kicks, all done while the upper body is kept rigidly straight. Step dancing emphasizes a close form and posture with legs kept together, no high kicks, little or no turning and no traveling. Ceili dancing emphasizes dancing on the toes, extension of leg and foot, long reach and the quick movements seen in the step dances.

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