The Irish Washer Woman

Article featured in Diddlyi Magazine.

Last Monday, The Shelley Irish Dance Company had it’s last and biggest show of the season. We put on a full concert featuring dances that were performed exclusively for this show.

The show also included Bag-pipers, live fiddlers and even World Championship Highland Dancers! To prepare for the show, Tina Shelley and Johanna Lambert held 2 full dress rehearsals just so we could practice our many costume changes.

The program included Stomp an acapella number in street clothes, Cry of the Celts our own original Riverdance style number, Nordic Rumba, a mixture of Irish dance and a party at the beach, and One Step at a Time, an Irish choreography peice with beautiful figures set to modern music.

My absolute favorite dance, however was The Irish Washer Woman. We were privileged to perform this dance in custom-made green dresses and petticoats designed by a professional seamstress! They were absolutely beautiful costumes created especially for this dance.

The Washer Woman dance starts out like a scene in a play. A group of six women are forced by an angry Old Hag to wash a large amount of rags. The washing doesn’t go on for long, however. The second the Old Hag departs off stage, one of the girls puts down her rags and begins to dance. Soon we all follow and what started out as work becomes a jolly dance party! Near the end of the dance, the Old Hag returns very angry, but this time we won’t have it. We shove her off stage and finish the dance with a bang.

It was such a blast and we had a great reaction from the audience. The whole show went extremely well. It was the perfect way to end the season, and I can’t wait to be a Washer Woman again next year!

Article written by Shelly Allen
Photo by Shelly Allen Photography

TAGS: Irish, dance, washer, woman, show, dancing, show, stage, shelly, company

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