A lovely testimonial from our 2017 Showcase on 6/17.

“Hi Kathy – My mom and I attended your 2:30 performance on Saturday and really wanted to thank you and the Academy. My mom has Alzheimers and loves children, music and dance. I try to take her to as many related events as I can but given her continued deterioration it has become more and more difficult to take her out. I was so glad though that we made the effort on Saturday! I had fully anticipated that she would want to leave at intermission but she was enjoying the performance so much that she didn’t even want to get out of her seat at intermission! She has great difficulty communicating now and I was surprised by how many comments she was making to me regarding some of the performers! You and your academy really gave my mom moments of great joy yesterday! While she didn’t remember specifically that we saw the performance by the time I got her back to where she lives, she knew that she had a happy feeling! Thank you! Marcia”


Article on the Origin of Irish Step Dance

About Irish Step Dance

History: Step dances evolved as the creation of Irish dancing masters, subsequent to their appearance in the late 18th century.  Dancing masters would often travel from town to town, teaching basic dancing steps to those interested and able to pay for them.  Since the basic folk dances had been done for centuries in their absence, one must suspect that their appearance was motivated by a desire to learn the “upscale” dance styles then beginning to be introduced from France.  The dance masters often paraphrased these dances to fit the traditional music available and, in doing so, laid the basis for much of today’s traditional Irish dance – ceili, step, and set.  The dance masters taught steps, the 8-bar units out of which most Irish traditional dance is constructed.  The steps involved both the movements needed for various dances and the foot percussion, called battering, used for rhythmic emphasis.  Competitions were often held in which the demonstrations of steps by masters were performed on a table-top or similar small stage.  In fact, dancing in a limited space was viewed as such an important aspect of the style that one of the greatest tributes to be paid to a dancer was to note that they could “dance on the top of a plate”.
Structure:  The codification of style that defines modern step dance took place in the 1920’s and provided a basis for judging of competitions.  Although none can deny the great response and popularity induced by competitions, they also tend to push style into emphasizing extremes in preferred characteristics rather than overall balance of effect.  The preferred style for competition step-dancing changed through the 1950’s and 1960’s.  The availability of lorries, then small stages in halls, and then larger stages, especially in the larger cities made it possible to perform the traveling steps, circular lead-in’s, sevens-and-threes, and turns we see as a characteristic of modern step-dance.
Nowadays, Irish Step Dance has evolved to a powerhouse form, emphasizing athletic as well as artistic attributes. Leaps, clicks, and traveling is artfully interlaced with intricate movements and footwork.  Dancers stay on the balls of their feet with their knees straight (or nearly so) at all times.  Their posture is erect and unmoving without rigidity and the competitive demands are even more extreme. It’s beautiful, challenging and can be enjoyed throughout most of a dancer’s life.

Rose and Sword Academy Dancers


wida_logo_colorRose & Sword Academy of Irish Dance is the best WIDA Irish Step Dancing school for southeastern Virginia, providing many performing opportunities, competitive Irish dance, and fun classes for the younger ones and adults. Under the direction of champion dancers Kathy Nelson, TCRG, and Isabelle Hollingsworth, the school is committed to the development of skilled  performers as well as award-winning competitive Irish dancers. We offer many opportunities for our dancers in nurturing their love and education of Irish dance, music and culture.  Kathy is an experienced and successful professional who shares her knowledge of Irish dance to all students. Kathy Nelson is a TCRG Teacher of WIDA. She passes on her extensive experience as a performer and dance choreographer to the students of the school. Isabelle Hollingsworth is a champion dance instructor who is experienced in choreography development and is also a skilled stage performer. Our students come from the Hampton Roads area including Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, Yorktown, Gloucester, Grafton, Carrollton, Smithfield, James City, Isle of Wight, Poquoson, Toano, Seaford, and all over the greater Peninsula in southeast Virginia! The Rose & Sword Academy is a member of the World Irish Dance Association WIDA.

At Rose & Sword Academy, we strive to bring the highest quality dance instruction in a warm and friendly environment. We want everyone to feel comfortable so that they can enjoy the experience. By giving our students the most fun and enjoyable classes that we can, we feel that the school will stand out and become the highlight of the week for those who attend. When we hear the students say that they can’t wait for the next class, then we feel that we have achieved success. Throughout the year our dancers participate in numerous competitions, dance shows, and performances, including St. Patrick’s Day activities. Come and join us and see what the school is all about! We also offer classes from beginner to champion level along with private lessons and personalized dance instruction and we are homeschool friendly. We have classes, during the day, just for homeschool students! Check the class schedule page for more information and feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. Come out and join us – enroll today! We look forward to seeing you soon! We are adult and performance friendly!!

Our Christmas Showcase is Saturday, December 17th at the Williamsburg Library Theater with 12pm and 2:30pm shows.

Yorktown studio has moved to the new VRB studio at 4839 George Washington Memorial Hwy Rt 17 between ABZ rentals and Party Essentials-about 1/2 mile from old location.

New homeschool class at the Yorktown location on Friday mornings at 11am.

CONTINUING ENROLLMENT 🙂 Our classes run year-round so contact me if you are interested in starting with us!
Our new studio is located at 3715 Strawberry Plains Rd., Suite/Unit 6 in Williamsburg, Virginia in the new building to the left of Craft 31-down the long side facing the street under the big overhang with white pillars! Look for the Strawberry Cove sign. Now we have 2 locations to choose from-Yorktown and Williamsburg, Virginia! See both class schedules and find a class that fits.