Category Archives: performances

How Irish Dance Met Steampunk in Utah

What are you doing this weekend? I know what I’ll be doing. The Rinceoiri Don Spraoi Irish dancers will be joining one of our very own, Bonnie J., as she portrays her alter ego of Chloe Luck McCoggles at Utah Winter Faire this Saturday in Farmington.

Chloe Luck McCoggles Steampunk ©Brooke Curnow/
Chloe Luck McCoggles, Steampunk Leprechaun ©Brooke Curnow/

Chloe is a Steampunk Irish step-dancing leprechaun. And she’s ah-mazing.

So what is Steampunk exactly? Well, Wikipedia describes it as, “…a genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology.”

At it’s most basic, anything Steampunk seems to follow these guidelines:

  1. Includes steam-powered gadgetry.
  2. Occurs during the Victorian era in or around England.
  3. Includes items like gears and goggles.

Tina Baine says it’s a brilliantly “…unique combination of romance and technology, fantasy and history, or as writer/crafter Jean Campbell puts it, ‘Mad Max’ meets ‘Jane Austen.'”

So where does Bonnie and Irish dance come in?

Well, the story began when Bonnie’s dear friend Lisa (Madame Potts) dressed up in Steampunk for Halloween a few years ago.

Madame Potts ©Brooke Curnow/
Madame Potts ©Brooke Curnow/

I didn’t really know what Steampunk was until that time, and I was immediately drawn to the style,” says Bonnie. “Soon after, I worked with her to create my first character with an English theme (Miss Jacqueline McHyde) and attended my first Steampunk Convention in Utah; [Salt City] Steamfest.”

After seeing all the costumes and character ideas at Steamfest that first year, Bonnie noticed a lot of the characters had different costumes for each day (Steamfest is a multi-day event). Having only one costume of her own, she found she too wanted to build a Steampunk style wardrobe and started collecting ideas.

She and Lisa had so much fun at their first convention, she says, “…we decided to volunteer and be directors of a Steampunk fashion show for [the] next year’s Steamfest.” 

The theme? A Passage, Around the World in 80 Days. The theme would help people step outside the Victorian style.

“As part of the staff, I too wanted to step outside the Victorian style and be something else. I had this old leprechaun blouse in my Halloween box and I thought I’d somehow turn it into a floral, green woman’s aristocratic style outfit. But again it seemed to be too Victorian style. It honestly drove me crazy thinking how to come up with a character concept that wasn’t Victorian! I set the costuming aside for a while and went back to my normal routine.”

Here’s where lovely Bonnie is inspired by Irish dance.

A student with Rinceoiri Don Spraoi Irish Dancers for many years, Bonnie has always loved all things Irish/Scottish, from the music, the food, and her most favorite, the dancing!

“I have enjoyed the feeling of pride it always gives me,” she says, “Then one day it hit me like a ton of bricks! Why change a leprechaun costume into something else Steampunk when I can just make a Steampunk leprechaun!”

And the idea for an Irish step-dancing leprechaun was born.

Lisa and Bonnie went to work on her costuming; adding thistles, flowers, twigs, cogs, charms, buckles, sporran, and of course, a leprechaun’s lucky pot of gold.

Chloe Luck McCoggles Steampunk ©Brooke Curnow/
Detail of Chloe’s costuming ©Brooke Curnow/

Though her costume was now essentially completed, a good friend always told her, “It’s the hair, makeup, and accessories that make the costume.”

“We wanted to go away from the standard curly hair you’d find on most Irish characters, so Lisa started creating a hair piece with the concept that this leprechaun came from the woodlands of Ireland and a woodland creature wouldn’t have curls, but braids and dreadlocks. I was a little nervous of the idea as she was making it, but when I put it on, it was perfect!”

Bonnie says proudly, “My finishing touch was my Irish dance shoes.”

“I put the entire costume, hair and makeup, on and I couldn’t help but feel the same pride as I do when I’m with my dance group.”

But every Steampunk character needs a name and a back-story. She said that finding a name was a little hard, but she finally decided on the name Chloe.

“Not only is Chloe the name of one of my favorite Celtic Woman, but also the name I plan on naming my first girl.”

She went on to say, “My grandmother’s, mother’s, and my own name is Irish/Scottish meaning beautiful, fair, lovely and I wanted to continue that by naming her Chloe; meaning fair, green, blossom.”

So Chloe Luck McCoggles was officially born.

Chloe Luck McCoggles and Tank Girl ©Brooke Curnow/
Chloe Luck McCoggles and Tank Girl ©Brooke Curnow/

A hit at the 2014 Steamfest, Chloe Irish danced her way into the hearts of steampunk fanatics throughout the festival.

Look for her this weekend at Utah Winter Faire, December 5 -7, 2014. She’ll be joining the Rinceoiri Don Spraoi Irish Dancers on Saturday in the Arena  at 4:30 p.m. and again on the main stage at 6:00 p.m. When not on stage she’ll be available for photos, and if you’re lucky enough to find one of her shamrocks throughout the Faire booths, you could win a sweet prize.

Utah Winter Faire featuring Chloe Luck McCoggles and the Rinceoiri Don Spraoi Irish Dancers

“The Utah Winter Faire is a cross genre event that brings magic back to the Winter season in northern Utah.  In some ways it could be described as an indoor Renaissance Faire, but it is also more than that.  Join us on the first weekend in December when History, Fantasy, Steampunk and more come together to create a truly unique experience.”

Click on the image for more information and to buy tickets to the event.




Monday Family Night at Red Butte Gardens 2012

“Monday Family Nights will be filled with colors, sounds music and dance from around the world. Local Utah cultural groups from diverse backgrounds provide a wonderful night to enjoy the music and dance from their heritage while children enjoy crafts and activities associated with the cultures. Join us as we explore the world of diversity in our own community! ” – Red Butte Gardens

Rinceoiri Don Spraoi Irish Dancers will be a part of this wonderful community event this year. Join us for one of our two performances held Monday, June 4 at Red Butte Gardens.

Performances 6pm & 7pm
Red Butte Gardens
300 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City

Rinceoiri will entertain you with Irish dancing to live musical numbers by the band Shilaylee.

World Unity Through Dance 2012 at Utah Arts Alliance

“Our world is in need of uniting and helping one another.  The planet is going through changes due to  catastrophic situations.  We can come together and make a change for a better positive environment for our children, and grandchildren.   Dance brings unity and peace to mankind.  If we can feel unified, then we can support each other and our planet.  The net proceeds from dance performances will go to help those people in need. ” -World Unity Through Dance

Rinceoiri Don Spraoi Irish Dancers are proud to be a part of this annual fundraiser. Performances are to be held June 2, 2012 at Utah Arts Alliance, located at 663 South 100 West, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Founded in 2003 by Derek Dyer, the Utah Arts Alliance (UAA) provides the infrastructure that enables artists from all walks of life, especially those who lack financial resources, to pursue their creative dreams.

The culturally inspired spirit of the Utah Arts Alliance first became evident during the 2002 Winter Olympics. At this time, most Olympic planning committees chose to bring in out-of-state art, with hopes of attracting greater tourism. Derek Dyer, however, saw that the local art culture was being largely neglected and organized the largest event for the local arts during the Olympic Games.

This passion remains firm and is instilled within its many projects and affiliated programs. More than 55,000 people annually attend programs, events, and classes facilitated by UAA and their partners. That number is expected to exceed 70,000 in 2011/12. The Utah Arts Alliance has its roots in the Utah art scene, and has been directed toward preserving and enhancing Utah culture since (and prior to) its conception.

Two performances will be held. An afternoon performance at 5:30pm, and an evening performance at 8:00pm.  Donation is $10.00 per ticket.

These are fun shows, full of energy and excitement!  Net proceeds will be donated to American Cancer Society to help children with cancer. Helping children in need will be a great unselfish, and rewarding contribution.

Living Traditions Festival 2012

Rinceoiri Don Spraoi Irish Dancers will be performing this Saturday, May 19, 2012, at the Living Traditions Festival in Salt Lake City.

The Living Traditions Festival is, “…a celebration of traditional folk and ethnic arts. Living Traditions brings people together to honour the diversity and cultural traditions of our community. Local ethnic artists—craftspeople, dancers, musicians and community groups—provide the framework for the Living Traditions Festival.”

We are proud to once again be a part of this important community celebration by representing Ireland through Irish dance.

We will be performing on the North Stage at 4pm. Come join us!
Where Irish Dance Comes First!

St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in and around Salt Lake City, Utah

“As the one national holiday that is celebrated in more countries around the world than any other, St. Patrick’s Day is the day when everyone wants to be Irish.” 
We have quite a few Utahns that claim Irish ancestry. As such you would expect a number of events, celebrating Ireland’s most cherished holiday, to be held here in Utah. Rinceoiri Don Spraoi’s Irish dancers will be stepping out and helping to liven up several of those events.

Young Dubliners at The Depot: Catch the Young Dubs at The Depot, 400 S. West Temple on Thursday, March 8. Doors open 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Tickets, $20, or $25 day of show. Visit The Depot website or call, 801-467-TIXX or 800-888-TIXX.
St. Patty’s Day Cooking Class: Gardner Village’s Taste will host an Irish themed cooking class. We all love Corned Beef and Cabbage! But let’s look at a more traditional menu of Parsnip & Apple Soup, Irish Soda Bread, Hunter’s Pie, Shortbread & Irish Coffee Pudding for dessert. Friday, March 16, 6:30 p.m. Cost is $30. Register online.
The 23rd Annual Leprechaun Lope: The 10K, 5K and 1 mile fun run all start at 8:30 AM at the SE corner of the State Capitol and finish in Memory Grove. All pre-registered runners get a tee shirt. Everyone is encouraged to show their Irish spirit by wearing green and Irish costumes. Awards go to division winners, best Irish costume and fastest centipede (4 runners linked by a common costume or rope). Watch for real Leprechauns hiding along the courses! Join the St. Patrick’s Day parade after the race. Register thru
St. Patrick’s Day Parade Photowalk: This event, co-sponsored by Pictureline & Nikon, will be held Saturday, March 17th during the downtown Salt Lake City St. Patrick’s Day parade. Come play with Nikon gear while enjoying the parade! Details for rentals and the Photowalk itself can be found online
2012 Salt Lake City St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Siamsa: The annual Salt Lake City St. Patrick’s Day parade, sponsored by the Hibernian Society of Utah, will be held at the Gateway Saturday, March 17, starting at 10 a.m. The theme for this year’s parade is “Bless The American Worker”. After the parade there will be a siamsa, in the Gateway Grand Hall with plenty of dancing, music, and fun. Rinceoiri will be performing, so plan on this event!
Celtic Celebration at Peery’s Egyptian Theater in Ogden: Peery’s Egyptian Theater will hold it’s annual Celtic Celebration, 2415 Washington Blvd. in Ogden. Saturday, March 17, 7:30 p.m. Tickets $12, $10 for students and seniors. Visit the website or call 801-689-8700.
Celtic Night: Come to Celtic Night March 17th and 23rd at the Ellen Eccles Theater! Enjoy a large amount of Irish Dancing from the Inishfre Irish Dance Company and relax to the amazing Irish music from Leaping Lulu! Get your tickets now at the Ellen Eccles Theater ticket office or online. Tickets are only $12/$15/$19! So come celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with us in true Irish Fashion!
St. Patrick’s Day at The Depot Featuring Swagger: Swagger provides dome local Irish music when they perform live at The Depot on Saturday, Mar. 17 at 6 p.m. Special guests include Slaymaker Hill, Wailing O’Sheas, and the Heathen Highlander Pipe Band. 400 S. West Temple, tickets $15. Must be 21 to attend.

St Patty’s Day 5K Gold Rush:The 3rd Annual St. Patty’s Day 5K Gold Rush will be held in South Jordan on Saturday, March 17, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Be sure to wear your St. Patty’s Day best for our most popular race of the year! All runners receive a custom race shirt with the St. Patty’s Day theme.  Awards will be given for 1st – 3rd in each age group, Best Dressed and the coveted Green and Gold Award.  All runners will be entered into our raffle for prizes donated by our Race Sponsors. Register online.
Shamrock Shenanigans: Are you feeling lucky today? Starting at 8:00 a.m. find one of the St. Patrick’s Day shamrocks hidden in the kids area of the Draper Library and bring it to the kids desk to see how really lucky you are! For kids ages 12 and under. One shamrock per person while supplies last.
Dance sponsored by Wasatch Contras: Lively traditional music by Bandage a Trois, with Mike Cottle calling. No experience or partner needed, all dances taught and prompted. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Beginner’s workshop 7:00 PM, dancing from 7:30 to 10:30. General Admission $7, Students $5, Youth $3. More information at or contact Lori: 801-278-8765.

Orla Fallon in Concert: Orla Fallon, a harpist formerly of Celtic Woman, strikes out on her own with a 50-city tour in support of her new public television specials. Fallon visits SLC Thursday, March 24, 7:30 p.m. at the Jeanne Wagner Theatre, 138 W. 300 S. Tickets $40. Visit the website or call, 801-351-ARTS (2787) or 888-451-ARTS (2787).
‘Riverdance’ at Kingsbury Hall: Discover why nothing in the world compares to the original international phenomenon. “Riverdance” brings Irish dance, music and stories together with unforgettable magic, at Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. President’s Circle, March 31-April 2. Tickets $25-$57.50 Thursday, March 31, 2011, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, April 1, 2011, 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 2, 2011, 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, April 3, 2011, 1 and 6 p.m.

Irish dancers from Rinceoiri Don Spraoi participate in a children’s DVD

Irish dancers wait for their cue before filming a scene

It’s hard to wait. Especially when you’re between the ages of four and seven. Rinceoiri Don Spraoi Shamrocks, Grace, Mari, and Audrey, found out just how hard waiting can be as they waited hours for their turn to begin filming.

After watching a performance at the 2011 Festival of Trees, a local Utah film producer contacted Rinceoiri about a spot in a children’s video. The video would feature an Irish number and would benefit from the addition of Irish dancers they thought. Dancers were chosen from the recent Shamrock class, consisting of tiny dancers ages three to seven, taught by Brooke Curnow.
Which brings us to the green room, and anxious children waiting to get on stage and perform for the cameras. The threesome waited Saturday, from 3 p.m. until just before 5 p.m. to begin the process. Makeup was applied, hair coifed, and finally into the spotlight they went.
Once their marks on stage were given, the lights adjusted, and the cameras readied, the countdown on the clapperboard began. 
“Action!” bellowed the director, and the dancing began. Two takes for the first scene, one take for the second scene. You read that right, one take for scene number two. These Irish dancers were ready, knew their dance, and how to present it. 
Behind the scenes at the filming of a children’s dvd.
Rinceoiri don Spraoi dancers can be seen on the monitors.
It was adorable, and all too soon, it was over. Hours of practice and waiting, for what seemed like mere seconds on film. But with smiles on their tired little faces, the three Irish dancing girls made their way out of the studio and on their way home. They’ll all sleep well tonight.
The video, which is currently in post-production, has been a highly guarded secret. Release is expected in early April, by the award winning production team. Information on the title can be found here at a later date.
Incidentally, if you’d like your own clapperboard and shot log, you can download one on iTunes.

Festival of Trees performance our biggest yet

Rinceoiri Don Spraoi Irish Dancers performed to a packed house last Friday night. The festival draws incredible crowds each year and this year was no exception. There were hundreds of people in attendance, with a large portion of those attendees watching one of the state’s best Irish dance groups.

Backstage the feeling of excitement and anticipation was palpable. For many of the dancers, this was their first time performing for an audience. For most, their first time performing for such a large crowd.

“That’s a lot of people,” a young dancer commented while walking on stage.

She easily could have been talking about the number of performers. Sixty-three dancers graced the stage, accompanied by the four member band Shillelagh. A record for Rinceoiri.

“We thought it would be fun to include all the classes this year,” said dancer Brooke Curnow. “The tiny dancers were definitely a hit!”

From the youngest dancer at age three, to the oldest dancer, who declined to give her age but did mention that her grandchildren were in attendance, the group really put on a grand show. On stage and off.

Backstage the group functions like a well-oiled machine. Stephanie Russell performed stage manager duties, checking the clock continually to ensure the show ended on time. A festival rep was overheard commenting “You guys really have it together, I don’t have to do a thing. I was just booking a cruise on my phone.”

And that sentiment appears to be the hallmark of Rinceoiri’s performance mantra. You don’t have to do a thing. Just sit back and enjoy a fun-filled traditional Irish dance show. The group knows what they’re doing, and they do it well.

If you have any photos or video of this performance and would like to see them on the blog or website, please contact Rinceoiri Don Spraoi to make a submission.
Where Irish dance comes first!

Irish dance hits Utah’s Festival of Trees

Festival of Trees 

It isn’t officially the Christmas Season until the Festival of Trees starts in Salt Lake City. The festival celebrates it’s 41st year this December, and Rinceoiri Don Spraoi Irish Dancers can’t wait to join in the celebration!

The festival benefits Primary Children’s Medical Center, by offering decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses, and the like, for auction.
Choral and dancing groups, orchestras and instrumentalists, perform each day. Entertainment is ongoing, to really enhance the festive mood. As in years past, Rinceoiri will be donating their time and talent to this great cause.

Join us Friday, December 2, 2011 at 8:15 p.m. on the South Stage for a celebration of Irish dance and culture; as Rinceoiri Don Spraoi Irish Dancers entertain with a mix of traditional and contemporary numbers. Rinceoiri will be joined on stage by Shillelagh, our favorite local Celtic band.