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What It’s Like To Perform At THON: An Irish Dancer’s Perspective

Performing in front of 15,000 people can be daunting. Rince Na Leon, Penn State’s Irish dance club, performed in the Bryce Jordan Center Saturday morning, and the team rehearsed for months in preparation for the big debut. Though prepared, having that many eyes on you is nerve-wracking.

“It was thrilling but also a little frightening,” said junior Abby Coin. “You have thousands of people watching you do what you love, which is the best feeling ever. But if you mess up, it’s in front of thousands of Penn State students.”

The group performed two separate dances, which they choreographed themselves. One of these was called “Release the Animals,” which was featured a remix of “The Lion King,” “Animals” by Neon Trees, and “Animals” by Martin Garrix.

There are a total of 25 members in Rince Na Leon, and 12 of the dancers performed the first dance while seven dancers performed the second dance.

“I was really nervous backstage and a lot of my teammates had to calm me down,” Coin said, “But once I was on stage in my position I felt like I was where I was meant to be and it was one of the best experiences of my life.”

After a thrilling performance, the dancers bowed and exited the stage glowing. “It was a really unreal feeling. Everyone cheered when we finished and really liked the performance,” Coin said. “After I went back into the stands a bunch of my sorority sisters came up to me saying how great they thought the performance was, which was so supportive.”

Coin mentioned that after the team danced, she continued to get praise for the performance. “What really made an impact on me was when I went into the stands and random people would tell me how much they enjoyed it and were jamming along with the music.”

Coin was thankful for the chance to perform at such a big and important event and had a lot of fun doing it. “It made me extremely happy that what I love to do brought joy to other people during THON.”

Sophomore Natasha Nagle also felt nervous about the performance but called on prior experience to back her up.

“I have been dancing since I was little and have done a number of shows and performances, but never on that large of a scale before,” Nagle said. “As soon as the music began I forgot about how many people there were in the BJC and watching on the live stream and suddenly it didn’t seem so daunting.”

After the nerves settled and the performance ended, the team felt proud of what they accomplished in front of such a large crowd. “While I was nervous, I also had an amazing time dancing with the other girls and showing everyone our skills and being able to share that experience with them,” Nagle said.

Now that they showcased their hard work and skills during THON 2016, Rince Na Leon will begin to prepare for their THON 2017 performance FTK.

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About the Author

Claire Going

Claire is a freshman broadcast journalism major and writer for Onward State. She enjoys reading, running, and a good cup of tea. She's from Emmaus, Pennsylvania and is a dual citizen. (Go Ireland!) You can contact her via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @claire_going.

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