Irish dance ‘resurgence’

Michael Padgett. (Ivan Kemp) 242759_01

By Luke Voogt

Three-time Australian champion Michael Padgett hopes to lead an Irish dancing “resurgence” in Geelong after COVID-19 halted his classes.

The instructor, from Melbourne’s west, will hold an open day at Bell Post Hill on July 17, supported by Geelong Irish Society.

“I’m very excited about a resurgence of Irish dance classes here in Geelong,” he said.

Padgett discovered Irish dancing at age nine through a feast day at his Catholic primary school.

He took up the style and went on to win three solo Australian championships, a team world championship at age 19 while living in Ireland and several Victorian titles.

But Padgett is more focussed on spreading his passion for the ”rhythmic” and “athletic” dance style than discovering Geelong’s next champion.

“It just makes you feel good – I’ve always got a lot of joy out of it,” said Padgett, currently studying a masters in primary teaching.

“And that’s something I want to pass onto my students – I don’t care how good they are – I just want them to find joy in it and build connections.”

Padgett hopes to run classes for ages four and above through his company, The Harp School, at Cobradah Homestead, Bell Post Hill, every Saturday in term 3.

“I would love to be supportive of the Geelong community at large and assist when I can for displays at Irish venues, nursing homes and kindergartens,” he said.

He will leap into action during the open day beginning 10am at the homestead, with participating kids needing just a drink bottle, and shoes and clothes “they can move in”.