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Madeleine Howard

First of all, I want to say thank you for providing this opportunity to audition and also to add an additional reflection. The fact that there is another (what promises to be wonderful) Irish dancing show coming out is fantastic! So far the Heartbeat of Home audition process has been a great experience for me. I am getting the word out using social media including Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, and by gently pestering my friends and family through email. Asking people to vote for my audition video has caused me to reach out to many people and the response that I have gotten from friends continues to overwhelm me! People that I danced with in the past or went to school with have gone out of their way to share my video with their friends and family.

I taped my intro at the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago next to a harp statue. I chose this location because it represented both my musical background and the great connection dancing has brought me to Irish music and culture. I was the 2006 Mid-American Fleadh Cheoil Senior Harp Champion and I have played Irish and Scottish fiddle since I was 7. I taped my dancing audition in the room where I have taken dance classes for the last 16 years, and it is also the room where I teach. We’ve been in this same room for all these years and it truly is my home away from home.

I had been dancing for a few years before Riverdance first aired, and after seeing it on television, and then again live, I was hooked! I have always been a dancer, but watching Jean Butler glide across that stage and knowing that I also could do a slip jig (all be it a much simpler one) ignited this passion for Irish dancing that still burns today.

Why do I keep dancing? After 20 years it’s been a long ride, but I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. Dancing is not about the steps, it is about something more. It’s the power you feel after dancing a hardshoe piece full out. The grace you feel gliding and twirling across the floor. The way you feel as if you are flying as you hang a leap. Every step and every dance continues to build that passion.

Having just passed my TCRG exam, I am committed to sharing my passion of dance with the next generation. I am auditioning for this show to share that passion with an even broader group of people. Maybe my dancing will touch someone in the audience and cause them to learn to dance or buckle down and perfect that jig step. Perhaps watching me perform intricate rhythms with my feet will resound with them. Maybe my dancing will bring joy to someone. Whether or not my dancing truly touches someone, they will know that I love to dance. Thank you for the opportunity to share my passion of dancing with you. I hope you enjoy my audition video!

Madeleine Howard

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