Irish Dancer

Irish Dancer

Jacksonville Public Library recently hosted a guest to show, teach, and perform Irish Dance for story time. Lori Verhulst is passionate about Irish Dance and would like to share that passion with others in Central Illinois. She does this through classes at Central Illinois Irish Dance.

Verhulst has been interested in Irish Dance for fifteen years. She first saw a local group performing and wanted to try it herself. For several years she danced locally and mainly for the fun of it. She then found a certified Irish Dance teacher in the St. Louis area, and she and her mother began traveling there for further instruction. Helen Gannon, of St. Louis, is originally from Ireland and has taken the Irish Dancing Teachers Examination administered by the governing body of Irish dancing worldwide and has her TCRG. After training with Gannon, Verhulst competed in numerous competitions and ranking among the preliminary champions. Since then, Verhulst herself has been on the track to have her TCRG.

Events like the one at the Jacksonville Public Library are common for Verhulst. She enjoys educating the public about Irish Dance. Sometimes she is even able to bring a group along and show a short routine. These are not the only performance events for her students at the Central Illinois Irish Dance, though. Verhulst gives them a variety of opportunities to showcase their talents. They perform at the State Fair’s Ethnic Village, at the Chatham Highland Games, at the Irish Festival in Peoria, and at the University of Illinois in Champaign for a multi-cultural event.

Classes at Central Illinois Irish Dance are for dancers of all ages and talent levels. Verhulst says that the youngest is three years old and there is no maximum age if you are willing to have fun! Classes are held weekly with four different skill levels. Verhulst enjoys working with the different levels of dancers and helping them to improve their skills while enjoying themselves. The different styles of Irish Dancing are taught to students, including Ceili which is an Irish square dancing. Many of these styles are a part of Verhulst’s TCRG testing, so she teaching these classes is also helpful to her to brush up on her own skills.

The TCRG testing is a five part test which will allow Verhulst to bring her students to competition. Verhulst has been studying in depth for three or four years for this test, but she noticed the need for this level of knowledge in Central Illinois when she first began learning Irish Dance. After passing the final portion of the test, Verhulst hopes to take students to the nearest competition in St. Louis. Larger cities across the United States have competitions, so there are many opportunities to compete locally as well as nationally. Regional and world competitions require qualification and recommendations from local competitions.

Irish Dancer 2Verhulst hopes to share her love of Irish Dance across Central Illinois. She currently has sixteen students in Springfield and hopes to have more soon. If you would like more information about signing up for a class, please reach out to Lori Verhulst at 217-679-1370 or lverhulst@comcast.net. She is currently teaching in Springfield at 5531 International Parkway, Springfield, IL 62711. If you are interested in starting a class in Jacksonville, she is more than willing to start one for the Jacksonville community as well.

With her passion about Irish Dance and her knowledge about competitions and teaching, Verhulst’s classes sound like a great way to learn a new skill now, enter into competitions in the future, or simply have fun while exercising. Check out her website for even more information:  www.ciidance.com.

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