When Olivia Dela Cruz arrived at Swedish Hospital to visit her mother, she didn’t expect to see dozens of Irish dancers hopping and prancing outside.
“This is like such a wonderful just break from the stress of worrying about your parent,” said Dela Cruz, who took videos of the performance to show her mom.
The dancers were from the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance, and about 20 of them performed outside Swedish Hospital in Ravenswood on St. Patrick’s Day. Patients watched from their hospital windows, doctors and nurses took videos from the street, and kids of health care workers jumped to the music.
“We are really trying to bring, you know, the joy and the power of Irish dance to our health care workers,” said Shannan Bunting, parent of one of the dancers. “This is really our opportunity to give back.”
“This has been a, you know, a remarkably challenging year for health care and people in the community have found a few ways to try and kind of bring a little sunshine and this is just such a perfect example of that,” said Bruce McNulty, the vice president and chief medical officer of Swedish Hospital.
Given Chicago’s large Irish American population, the area, not surprisingly, has many Irish dance schools. Around St. Patrick’s Day, dancers from those schools typically perform at restaurants, pubs, church halls, retirement communities, hospitals and at other holiday gatherings throughout the region.
This year, of course, is different. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trinity, like the others, modified its program, Bunting said.
“It’s really cool that we get to dance during a pandemic too,” said Reilly Leahy, who’s performed for almost 10 years. “We still have the opportunity to, like, make people happy and it’s my senior year, so I’m really glad that I get to do it my last year and don’t get to miss out on all these opportunities.”
Editor’s note: The online version has been corrected to reflect the proper spelling of the name of the chief medical officer.