COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Dancers from around the region are kicking, stomping and spinning in circles to support a tiny dancer and her family devastated by the Boston Marathon bombings.
The blasts were particularly tragic for the Richard family of Boston.
Eight-year-old Martin Richard was killed, his mother seriously injured and his sister – a 7-year-old Irish dancer named Jane – lost a leg.
Now, as part of an effort called “Dance Out For Jane,” members of the Irish dancing community in the D.C. and Baltimore region are organizing performances and fundraisers for the family.
Josie Callahan is a 22-year-old senior at the University of Maryland and an Irish dancer who toured last year with the professional company of Lord of the Dance.
Callahan was so touched by the story of Jane and her family, she organized a performance and fundraiser Tuesday night at Looney’s Pub in College Park.
“When I was 7, Irish dancing, I used to dance in the grocery aisles. It was my favorite thing to do, and just made me so happy. And not being able to do that I think is just so unbelievably sad. That doesn’t even scratch the surface of the grief that that family is going through right now,” Callahan said.
Irish dancer Cierra O’Keefe, 18, is a University of Maryland freshman.
“I…could not even fathom losing or battling to lose my leg at such a young age. Even apart from Irish dancing, riding bikes, running around with friends, jumping on the playground, you’re just so little and it’s such a tender part of childhood I just found that so devastating,” said O’Keefe.
More Irish dancing performances and fundraisers are planned throughout the weekend in the D.C. area.
The Dance Out For Jane DC Facebook page has the full schedule.
The Richard Family Fund also is accepting donations.
Watch a video of some of the more advanced Irish dancers perform at Looney’s:
Watch 9-year-old Audrey Liberta take center stage:
Follow @WTOP on Twitter.