Updated: Jul 13, 2019
Elyse Transon has been involved in the Irish dance world since she was five. She danced at the Cashel-Dennehy School before heading to college at the University of Minnesota where she taught dance and choreographed for a local dance school.
Elyse went on to tour the world with professional Irish dance productions such as Celtic Fire, Magic of Ireland and Women in Ireland as both a dancer and choreographer. She also received her TCRG in 2014 in order to pursue her passion for teaching. She has taught in five different states and developed dance programs in three countries.
Elyse is now the Director of the Milwaukee Irish Dance Company, a home for retired adult aged dancers to continue their passion to dance, perform and stay in shape, and teaches at McMenamin Academy. We caught up with Elyse to hear about her Irish dance experience, what has led her down this path and how others may do the same.
How did you know you were done competing? Was it an easy decision?
“I stopped competing at 17 just before I left for college. I was going to school five hours away at the University of Minnesota and I did not want to transfer dance schools. The first month without Irish dancing was rough but then I started teaching for the St. Paul Irish dancers, a performance based school and really embraced my role as a choreographer. If I had not reached out to a school I know it would have been a very rough transition. I cried on stage at what I thought was my last performance.”
How and why did you begin MIDC?
“I had the idea to start an Irish dance performance group for adults when I was in college. I was part of a jazz/ hip hop company in the Twin Cities called Soul 2 Sole Dance Conversion and we had really fun performance opportunities throughout the city. I thought it would be awesome to replicate something like that with Irish dance. Just when I was starting to put together that company I got the opportunity to join my first tour - Michael Londra's Celtic Fire and from there I kept taking more and more tours across the United States and Europe. During that time, I moved back home to Wisconsin. The downtime between tours was terrible. I had nowhere to dance anymore because I had been removed from the Irish dance scene in Milwaukee for so long and I missed doing cool choreographies with dancers my age. I had received my TCRG but had nothing to do. So, one day I just made the website and hoped that there were other dancers like me who had were adults and just missed dancing.”
What would you recommend to others who may be interested in joining MIDC or other organizations like it?
“Do it. You will not regret it. Dance was such a big part of your life why would you stop? Once a dancer always a dancer.
MIDC is open to all former dancers. We have a variety of ages, levels, skill sets - anyone can join as long as they make practices a priority. Nothing is worse than a choreography with missing dancers.”
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