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A new Irish dance studio has opened in the Historic Triangle.
Rose and Sword Academy of Irish Dance opened in January with locations in Williamsburg and Yorktown, according to a press release.
The Academy is owned and operated by Williamsburg resident Kathy Nelson. According to the release, Nelson has been teaching Irish dance in the Historic Triangle for 14 years and is a certified Irish dance teacher through the World Irish Dance Association.
“I have my TCRG accreditation,” Nelson said. “You have to study for three or four years to get it. It’s kind of like a master’s degree in Irish dance.”
Nelson also said she competed at the champion level for nearly a decade.
Rose and Sword offers dance classes to dancers of all skill levels ages three and up. The Williamsburg studio will offer classes Monday through Thursday, and the Yorktown studio will offer classes from Thursday through Sunday.
“The school is committed to the development of skilled performers as well as award-winning competitive Irish dancers,” states Rose and Sword’s website. “We offer many opportunities for our dancers in nurturing their love and education of Irish dance, music and culture.”
Students from the studio regularly perform at 2nd Sundays in Williamsburg, and at other community venues, such as retirement homes.
Nelson will be joined by Isabelle Hollingsworth, who has performed in professional Irish dance shows.
“She’s been with me since she was 10,” Nelson said of Hollingsworth. “She is the other part of Rose and Sword. She’s very adept and a champion dancer and she does a lot for the school….A lot of little ones love miss Isabelle.”
The Yorktown studio will be hosting an open house Friday, Feb. 24 between 6 and 8 p.m. According to the release, a free class will be offered at 7 p.m.
“The reason we picked that evening is that’s the date of one of my more advanced classes. People can come in and watch the class being taught and the dancers dance,” said Nelson. “From 7 to 7:30 well give them a starter version of Irish dance. Whoever shows up, we’ll take them into the other studio and teach them.”
Nelson said she loves teaching Irish dance because she shares in the excitement of her students, who she says love encouraging and socializing with each other. She also said that children love the challenge of Irish dance — but Nelson began as an adult and said it’s never too late to try it.
“When you start young you can dance it your whole life,” Nelson said. “There are many opportunities for Irish dance. If you’re an adult or even a kid it’s an extreme sport. It’s an excellent form of exercise. Everyone is amazed by how intensive it is.”
More information about the studio and open house can be found at Rose and Sword’s website or by calling 757-253-2437.