(Margie, Dennis Jr., Kathy, Dennis)
The Irish Dance World suffered a major loss this week with the passing of Dennis Dennehy at 73. Dennis and his wife Margie were the founders of the Dennehy School of Irish Dance and taught thousands of kids to dance in Chicago and beyond, including one Michael Flatley and at the complete opposite end of the dancing spectrum, me.
Dennis was a stern dance master when it came to the art of Irish Dance, yet outside of the classroom, one of the nicest and most charming people you would encounter. My short-lived Irish dancing career ended in the basement of St. Nicholas of Tolentine where Dennis and Margie taught weekly. Once they knew I played a few tunes on the accordion, they invited me to bring the box to lessons and play for the class to practice along with. Dennis knew I was far more comfortable (and presumably much better) playing than dancing, so out went "in, out, hop one two three four" and in came playing for the school at various functions (including my first trip to New York along with Liz Carroll to play for the Dennehy's at the North American Championships back in the early 1970's).
I'd meet Dennis at least a couple of times a year since then and always a big warm hearted smile beamed from him with a quick chat about dance and music to follow.
My condolences to Margie, his daughter Kathy, young Dennis and to the many nieces and nephews here in Chicago and elsewhere.
"And I lead you all in the dance said he..."
Rest in peace Dennis!