Jenny Kolin initially started to teach Irish dancing in the 1990s at a class at Kent Commons before she formed the Rowan Fae Irish dance group in 1999.
Fourteen dancers from Rowan Fae are part of the 16-group entertainment lineup at the Kent International Festival from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 26 at Town Square Plaza Park, Second Avenue and West Smith Street, in downtown Kent. Rowan Fae performs from 2:45-3:15 p.m. at the main stage.
“We do traditional dances and modern dances,” said Kolin, who teaches the group every Friday at the South Sound Dance Force studio in downtown Kent. “We have nine numbers and we will do soft shoe and hard shoe to eight kinds of music with different tempos.”
Most of the dancers are in middle school or high school although one of the dancers is just 5 years old. The majority of dancers are from Kent, Des Moines and Covington.
They will perform to a mix of Irish and Celtic songs. Some dances will include the entire group while others will feature solo dancers.
“We always get a really favorable reaction,” Kolin said. “People love us. They call me for shows around St. Patrick’s Day.”
While the group gets booked for a full week around St. Patrick’s Day, they also perform at schools, festivals and elder care facilities throughout the year.
Rowan Fae participated last year in the first Kent International Festival.
The rest of the entertainment lineup includes groups such as the Miyoko Sensei’s Little Japanese Dancers at 10:45 a.m., a Chinese lion dance and folk dance by the South Puget Sound Chinese Language School at 12:45 p.m. and a Chilean folklore dance by Violeta Parra at 3:45 p.m.
“Our goal is to find groups that represent countries that have a population living in Kent,” said Nancy Skipton, entertainment coordinator for the festival.