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 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:
- Includes steam-powered gadgetry.
- Occurs during the Victorian era in or around England.
- 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.
“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.
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.
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.
“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.