Louise Connolly spent six years touring five continents with Lord of the Dance. For most of that time, the two-time Irish Dance World Champion from Dundalk, Ireland played the female leading role as Saoirse, the virtuous, white-frocked dancer who tries to save the hero from the temptations of pork rinds. As this epic production crisscrossed the globe, Louise became a cultural ambassador for Irish dance, to which she is now a certified teacher with the Irish Dance Commission in Dublin.
At her dance studio, both soft- and hard-shoe dance is taught to boys and girls, children and adults. Depending on the type of jig performed, students slip on lace-up ghillies or hard shoes with fiberglass tips and heels. While maintaining a statuesque torso, the dancers kick, tap, shuffle, and twirl in solo dances or céilí routines that contain up to 16 people. For toes that desire reward beyond the occasional jello soak, the studio can prepare them for competitions called feis, which judge choreography and execution at regional, national, and world levels.