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After 3 years, The Irish Step Dancers from Griffith Academy are back in rhythm for Hartford's St. Pat’s Parade

"This parade is the light at the end of the tunnel"

WETHERSFIELD, Conn. — After three years, The Irish Step Dancers from Griffith Academy are back in a rhythm for the Greater Hartford St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The Griffith Academy of Dance in Wethersfield is nearing its seventh decade of teaching the art of Irish Step Dancing and, this week, you could say, their pace has picked up.

RELATED: CW20 to broadcast 50th Annual Greater Hartford St. Patrick's Day Parade

For the first time since 2019, dancers of all ages at Griffith will excitedly return to the streets of Hartford for the 50th edition of the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.

“Two years ago it was at this time that all of our events shut down,” Mary Beth Griffith, the lead instructor and owner of Griffith Academy said. “This parade is the light at the end of the tunnel, we’re here and we’re going to do this and hopefully we’re going to keep going.”

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Seeing the team from Griffith Academy as they march on Main Street in Hartford has been a tradition for Ailee Daley, now a sophomore at Sacred Heart University who said she had been part of at least a dozen Saint Pat’s Parades in Hartford.

“It’s something that’s so special to me,” said Daley, who is an acclaimed international step dancing competitor. “I’ll do this for the next 30 years hopefully and I’ll be so excited to be back again this year.”

RELATED: Go Green: After several years, St. Patrick's Day Parade back on the march in Hartford

When the parade in Hartford kicks off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Griffith Academy dance teacher, Kaitlin Rocheleau will be ready. Earlier in her career, Rocheleau traveled the World as part of the Irish Step Dancing Spectacular “Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance” for five years.

 Ahead of the parade, Rocheleau said, “It’s a big day, it’s a big day for the kids and the dance school -- that togetherness, that celebration, we’ve really missed it.”

“Whether you’re Irish or not, it’s just so joyful and it's just so great to be part of," Griffith added.

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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