PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Rain or shine, the St. Patrick’s Day parade is coming up this weekend. Eyewitness News visited a dance teacher who illustrates what it takes to create such a big event with such talented young people.
It takes months to prepare and serious dedication to be this good, but at the Rince Ri School of Irish Dance, Olivia Hilpl makes it look so easy. She has turned her basement into a dance studio filled with pride. Her award-winning Irish dance school is getting ready for the big day, and their teacher couldn’t be more proud.
“To see them master skills that they think they can’t in the beginning. You work hard, you keep pushing them, keep lifting the bar for them, and they have it in no time,” Olivia said.
Olivia was an Irish dancer herself growing up in Ireland.
“This is the only picture I have of me dancing when I was growing up,” she said. “I was telling the girls earlier, ‘It was my first weekend away without my parents,’”
Now, years later, Olivia travels with her students. They have performed here and abroad.
Kayla Matthews, a 7th grader, has been dancing for eight years.
“I get to see people from all over the country and from Ireland, and it’s just nice to see them,” Kayla said.
Olivia keeps that excitement alive through pictures of places the team has traveled.
“Penn’s Landing, Ireland trips. We were in Harrisburg in January. We’ve been to Ohio. We’ve been to Santa Fe, New Mexico. We were all just in California,” Olivia said.
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Even though her life is here now, Olivia keeps her Irish roots alive. The school uniforms are a reflection of her past. The vibrant orange costumes have a shell design, the symbol of County Sligo, Olivia’s childhood home that sits on the Shelly Irish coast.
“Through this, I have gotten to know a lot of Irish people,” Olivia said. “I at one time didn’t know there were that many Irish people in the area, so it’s like a big family.”
Reported by Kathy Orr, CBS 3