P.S. 59’s Keltic Dreams performs at White House

A dancing troupe from the borough made the trip of a lifetime, performing at the White House celebration of St. Patrick’s Day for President Obama and Michelle Obama.

The children, part of the Keltic Dreams Dance Troupe based out of P.S. 59 at 2185 Bathgate Avenue, have been on a whirlwind tour recently. In the past few months, the troupe has performed for not only Obama, but former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Caroline Kennedy’s daughter in several events, including Congressman Joseph Crowley’s Black History Month celebration in Co-op City. Crowley pushing the group to the forefront because he believes in their talent.

Keltic Dreams is made up of third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students from the school, and has been under the direction of music teacher Caroline Duggan since she began the program at the school around 2003. What is unique about the group is that the students are mostly black, Indian and Latino, and they perform Irish step-dances that are similar to those performed by professionals, like in ‘Riverdance’. Duggan performs with her students.

“The great thing about Keltic Dreams is the teacher shares her Irish culture with the children, and the children share their cultures with the teacher,” said Duggan, who immigrated from Ireland in 2002. “It is an incredible showing of diversity and really blends cultures in a very positive way.”

Duggan said that she was thrilled to perform with her students at the White House, and thinks they will remember it for the rest of their lives.

“To walk into the White House and meet President Obama was the biggest thing that the students could have done; no one can take that moment away from them,” Duggan said. “They now believe that if they work hard, they can accomplish anything.”

The White House was pleased by Keltic Dreams’s performance.

“We thank Keltic Dreams for their wonderful performance and we thank Congressman Crowley for bringing this group to our attention and for advocating their inclusion in the program,” said White House spokeswoman Moira Mack. “The Keltic Dreams performance was a display of classic Irish culture, and a reflection of the group’s long hours of preparation.”

Crowley was happy to do his part. The troupe is very much representative of his district, one of the most ethnically diverse in the nation.

“I am so excited to watch the Keltic Dreams Irish Dancers perform at the White House’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration,” said Congressman Crowley. “I congratulate the dancers and their director, Caroline Duggan.I know I share the community’s pride in saying that the Keltic Dreams dancers are ‘made in the Bronx’ and will showcase the best of our community.”

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