Remembering The Comerford Irish Dancers
Under a cloudy sky, in an open tent, two young men dance on a rough plywood stage. Tall, slim, blue-eyed and fair-haired, the first dances loosely and rhythmically. He wears an inward look as his strapped-on clogs, worn over black dress shoes, tap gracefully on the rough plywood stage. His movements are innocent, effortless, young.
The other dancer is the really stunning talent. His features bear a classic delicacy, and his perfectly arched brows are half-hidden by the black curls that dance along with him. His collarless shirt is of a drab colour, and baggy black dress pants, with two pleats on each side, complete his anachronistic perfection. This boy, at the cusp of manhood, dances with such joyful abandon that his consummate skill seems incidental. He is pleasurably aware of his perfect young body, and his sure steps on the boards are playful, easy, light. The crowd observes this magic with a unified indrawing of breath.
In perfect harmony, these young men dance until perspiration dews their faces. Each bows casually to acknowledge the howls of applause. Then each takes his turn at a solo, while the other steps back to stand loosely relaxing. At the climax of the second solo, both bow low, polite but indifferent to the crowd’s appreciation. Lightly, they leap from the front of the stage, stroll into the crowd.
Still electrified by the performance, I remain seated on the damp grass while the dancers walk away, their limbs loose with the youthful satisfaction of having abandoned their bodies to the joys of movement. Then, flinging a leather jacket over his shoulder, the dark one places a cigarette in his mouth and stalks off. The fair one follows.