Thump. Tap. Thump.
Black dance shoes smacked the hardwood floor as Irish music blasted Wednesday evening in the Bailey Community Center, 300 Bailey St., as Molly Stephens taught her students a new jig step.
Stephens, a comparative cultures and politics junior, has been Irish dancing she was 6 years old and now is passing it on to a new generation. Stephens teaches Beginning Irish, a dance class that includes beginning jig and reel, to a group of five girls ages 6-8 every Wednesday. They’re preparing for a recital in the spring.
“It’s pretty awesome to see how excited they are that they have learned that in such a short period of time,” Stephens said.
Stephens stood in front of her students, kicking her feet forward and up, demonstrating everything step by step. They complained, saying they wanted to go fast.
So, she made the music faster. And as soon as they went fast, they complained, saying it was too fast.
“A lot of times, it’s me saying, ‘All right, we’re going to break it down and we do things slowly,’” Stephens said. “I think going slow and repeating it with them helps them kind of put it together.”
The students learn steps in the class and also count their stretches in Gaelic. Stephens said she remembers her first dance classes vividly and hopes she can pass on her passion for dance to her students.
After they learned a new jig step, Stephens brought the girls’ parents in. The parents come in after every lesson to see what their kids have learned.
Stephens said she enjoys the opportunity to teach dance.
“I had a blast when I started dancing,” Stephens said. “I really want to be able to take what I learned my first years of dancing and pass that on to a younger generation.”