Youth dancers sweat all year preparing for the Kansas City Irish Fest

Jim Cunningham
August 29, 2018 - 6:27 am

Kansas City, MO - Irish dance teams are putting the finishing touches on their routines ahead of the Kansas City Irish Fest this weekend at Crown Center.

The O'Riada-Manning Academy of Irish Dance is one of the schools that will have a team on the stage.


Christopher Woglom, 9, started dancing only seven months ago. "My mom would play Irish music a lot in the house," Christopher said. "She knew someone who did it and she asked me if I'd be interested in trying it out. I did and I loved it."

Kathleen Lohfeld's three dancing daughters are 8, 10 and 12. They were born in Galway, Ireland, and her oldest can still speak in the native Irish tongue.  

"They started when they were four, so for a couple of years now we are fully involved in the Irish dancing," Lohfeld said. "We can't wait to go to the Irish Fest to show off what they brought over from Galway."

Alannah, 12, can't wait for her first Irish Fest in Kansas City.

"I'm nervous because I've learned loads of new dances and I'm nervous that I'll make a mistake," Alannah said.

Joseph Manning is the owner and director of the O'Riada-Manning Academy.

"It's not something that gets dry, it's something that's always alive and fun," Manning said. "We just enjoy working to try and become better at their craft."

Manning says his dancers put in countless hours year round to put on a great show.

"Everything goes into the best music possible, finding different numbers, finding different music, different choreography to work on," Manning said. "Just trying to keep it alive and exciting for the kids, so they can really show the audience how much they care about it."

The O'Riada-Manning dancers will perform Friday at 7:15 p.m. on the Children's Stage and 3 p.m. Sunday on the Boulevard Stage.


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