MARQUEE - Irish dance troupe RiverRince to perform

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Whitman College has a new Irish dance team called RiverRince that will perform a dance piece this weekend at the Whitman Modern Dance Show.

The dance performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Cordiner Hall. Admission is free.

"Rince" means "dance" in Irish, thus the name "RiverRince" is a play on RiverDance, a traditional Irish dance production. RiverRince started last spring and received Whitman funding this fall.

The group is composed of five student dancers, as well as one other who is currently traveling with the National Dance Company of Ireland.

The students involved with RiverRince choreograph all of their own dances, which is noteworthy given that this is a student-led group. Whitman student Erika Horwege is the president of RiverRince and has been doing Irish dancing for over 11 years.

Horwege noted that their choreography is unique in that it is a combination of the students' different dancing experiences.

"We use inspiration and previous knowledge from our own performance experiences. I think what makes us different is that there is no Irish dance teacher on campus, so everything we know is from our dance schools back home, and we create our own performance numbers," Horwege said.

Whitman student Brianna Gormly, one of the students involved with RiverRince, said, "Choreographing our routines is always a whole group effort, though one person may have really good ideas for a specific part and teach their choreography to the rest of us."

Gormly has been doing Irish dancing since she was 10 years old.

The dance show features a wide variety of modern dances, many of which are choreographed by students. Horwege is excited about performing among other modern dancers in the performance this weekend.

"I'm looking forward to working alongside the modern dancers -- it is such a similar yet different discipline at the same time. I love watching them perform," Horwege said.

Both Gormly and Horwege were pleased to be able to continue doing Irish dancing at Whitman.

"I've really enjoyed being a part of this group, especially since I thought that I would have to give up Irish dance when I went to college. Finding other dancers here was amazing and unexpected," Gormly said.

RiverRince offers Irish dance lessons for Walla Walla youth at the Walla Walla Dance Company on Saturday mornings.

"We are really excited about becoming more involved with the Walla Walla community as well as the Whitman campus," Horwege said.

For more information, call (509) 527-5111.

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