While other kids their age were pursuing more conventional intramural activities such as swimming, tennis and volleyball, the Gorman sisters, of Marco Island, opted for Irish dancing. Catherine Gorman, 8, and Claire Gorman, 6, were both were transfixed after watching traveling performances of “Riverdance” and “Lord of the Dance.”
The twosome, encouraged by their mother Cathy, took classes in Naples, later progressing to a studio in Miami that would make them eligible to enter competitions. Over the years, the sisters, now 19 and 17, have performed locally and competed successfully throughout the country.
Now, all their hard work and dedication is taking another direction. Catherine, with Claire’s help, will conduct classes in Irish Step Dance, beginning Sept. 3, at the Greater Marco Family YMCA. They’ll cater to two groups: youngsters from 6 to 13, from 5 to 6 p.m.; and afterward, 14-year-olds to adults. Cost is $40 a month for Y members ($55 otherwise). The sisters will earn some of the money attached to the deal with the Y. “It should at least cover my gas money from FGCU,” said Catherine, with a laugh.
Depending on how the classes catch on, the Gorman sisters might make their dancing into a career-level venture. Catherine said she could think of nothing better than teaching dance for a living. “My aim is to become fully certified, so that when I teach students, they are able to compete,” she said. “At the moment, the only studios nearby are one in Sarasota and another in Fort Lauderdale.”
At a recent demonstration before some young YMCA campers, the sisters and brother, Sean, 13, gave a demonstration of what the dance steps are all about. The youngsters were impressed and participated afterwards in a lively Q&A session. Catherine said at this stage, the classes are a definite go, following some early sign-ups. No special footwear is required, and sneakers are fine for starters. Specialized footwear can be ordered later. “I’d like to pass on the interest in Irish dancing and have more people be as passionate about it as I am,” Catherine said.
To sign up for the classes, call Jennifer Bristow at 394-3144, x222.