Iain: Hi there Dominique. Firstly could you tell us a little about yourself?
Dominique: Hi! I’m Dominique Dure, I am 24 years of age and I am from Buenos Aires. I am a student and Irish dancing teacher here at Celtic Argentina.
I: For how long have you been involved with Celtic Argentina?
D: Since I was born because my mother was the founder of Celtic Argentina. She went to Ireland in 1978 and learned a lot about Irish dancing and when she returned she set up Celtic Argentina.
She began teaching in schools in the Buenos Aires area, in particular St Brgids school, and the group has grown significantly over the years. I am now the lead teacher at Celtic Argentina.
I: Does your mother have an Irish background?
D: Yes, we do have Irish heritage in our family. We are both Scottish and Irish and for that reason she had first went to Ireland.
I: Could you tell us a brief history of the organisation?
D: Celtic Argentina started in 1979 and has grown over the years. It hasn’t only focused on Irish people in Buenos Aires but others who are interested in learning about Irish dancing. The group has grown over the past numbers of years. We now have 60 members of the school of all ages, from young children to older adults.
I: A bit off track, but how do you get Irish dancing shoes for new members?
D: That is a bit of a problem, because they have to be made in Ireland. So it takes time and is expensive. They can cost up to $120 not including sending costs!
I: Ouch! So what kind of activities does the group partake in?
D: At the school we have classes every day for our members and we also perform at festivals and important events around Argentina. The classes take place at the Fahy Club in Buenos Aires.
I: Speaking of which I saw you recently performed at the Oktoberfest in Cordoba. Could you tell us about some of the events you have performed at?
D: Yes we performed at Oktoberfest just outside of Cordoba, where we performed both traditional Irish dancing and more modern styles also to keep it relevant to the crowd there. We have also performed at a festival recently in Rosario. Most of the festivals are generally in towns that have many European communities.
Also once a month we organise a Ceili in Buenos Aires, so that people who want to learn a bit more about Irish dancing can come and try it out.
I: Have you had the chance to perform in Ireland?
D: Yes I was in Ireland last summer to take my exam to become a professional Irish dancing teacher which I passed I am pleased to say. I was there for one month in total, so did lots of dancing as you can imagine.
I: So long-term, what would your dream be? Riverdance or something different?
D: Well when I was in Ireland I had the chance to do master classes with Riverdance. I also had the chance to meet Michael Flatley when in Limerick. But being honest, that is not my main aim. My main passion is teaching so I want to be an Irish dancing teacher here in Argentina.
I: Do you see many similarities between the Argentinian and Irish people?
D: I think there are a lot of differences between the two people. The culture here is a lot more continental European. One thing they do have in common is their love for a drink or two.
I: Are there many similar schools in South America?
D: Yes there are a few here in South America. But not all are dedicated to Irish dancing like we are. Lots of them are dancing schools, who offer classes of Irish dancing. Whereas, we are exclusively an Irish dancing school.
I: What’s next for Celtic Argentina?
D: Well obviously we will look to grow the school in terms of member numbers. Also, we are organising the first Gathering of Irish dancing in South America next year.
A big aim for the coming year is also to travel to Ireland next summer, taking a number of our students to learn about Ireland. We are hoping to perform at a festival or two to show Ireland what South American Irish dancing has to offer.
I: Sounds great. See you in Dublin then!
You can read more about Celtic Argentina at: http://www.celticargentina.com/