Peggy Woods was born and raised in South Boston in an Irish-American family with deep cultural roots. She and her sisters began dancing at an early age, and as a result of their hard work and determination, Peggy and Rose earned several awards at the regional and national level and hence developed their passion for Irish Dance. Twenty five years ago, as young adults, Peggy and Roseann Woods launched their own Irish Dance School so they could preserve this strong aspect of Irish culture. They also knew that the lasting friendships, travel experiences and self-confidence that comes from Irish Dance were most valuable and wanted to share that with the South Boston community. Always traveling alongside them was their mom, Mary and her sisters, offering support and friendship to all the Irish Dancing families.
In order to compete at the Irish Dance competitions, they had to become certified teachers through An Coimisiun Le Rince Gaelacha in Dublin, Ireland as TCRG’s (Teacher Certificate le Rinci Gaelacha) and eventually Peggy took her Adjudicators test and became a certified ADCRG (Adjudiator Certificate le Rince Gaelacha), which allows her to judge Irish Dance Competitions all over the country.
Under the guidance of Peggy and Roseann, the Woods School building is where trainers came from Ireland to coach the students. It is where all the choreography was planned for every community event including the televised annual Saint Patrick’s Day Breakfast, the Grand Marshal banquets, performances for weddings and parties with famous Irish musicians including the Wolfe Tones, Daniel O’Donnell, and most local bands in and around Boston. Peggy Woods and the Dance School have been featured on Chronicle; but most importantly, Peggy believes that she instilled a sense of community service to the kids by always performing for the Senior Citizens and at most community events in South Boston so that she could share the happiness and joy of our culture.
In her first few years as a new business owner, Peggy was full of energy and ideas and just wanted to have a little success; but, as it turns out, the early years were the most memorable as she forged lifelong friendships with those young dancers and with their families well after decades of dancing. She has attended their weddings and christenings, and, as the wheels of life always turn full circle, those same dancers have enrolled their children at the Woods School, which according to Peggy, is the highest compliment.
Spending time at the corner studio has led to a positive lifestyle, kept the young dancers busy and fit, and helped overcome the discriminations set for inner city kids. It was here Peggy not only taught young dance students the fundamentals of Irish dancing, but she also planned bus trips to New York City, to resorts in New Hampshire and traveled with hundreds of students to Nashville, Florida, California, Ottawa and even brought home the First Place National Title in Team Ceili dancing. She has sent world qualifying dancers to Dublin, Killarney, Belfast, Scotland and Spain, as well as to Riverdance Academy, and, I think every one of them would agree that the dance school on the corner will always hold a special place in their hearts.
It was here at the corner of H & Seventh Street that Moms (and Dads) double parked, tied their shoes, curled their hair, applied band aids to blistering feet and also made lasting friendships among other parents. It was here at H & Seventh where those who were passing by always peered in or sat their little ones on the step to see the cheerful lime green walls, watch the girls dance or listen to the beats of the kids dancing in their hard shoes to the Irish music. It was at the corner of H & Seventh where we laughed and cried over competitions, being too tired to keep on practicing with big blisters, growing too old to continue dance, having sweet 16 sleepovers, making mistakes that made everyone laugh, singing silly songs, dance camps where we played games, and did sidewalk chalk. And it was here, in this little brick building at the corner of H & Seventh, that Peggy gave out more hugs and kisses to the best group of kids she’s ever met. And it was here at the corner of H & Seventh in that little brick building that the students from the Woods School of Irish Dance formed friendships and made memories that will last a lifetime – not only between themselves, but, with Peggy and Rose.
As time and economics change in the city, the timing for relocation was perfect and circumstances seemed to fit well to move to its new location at the Perkins Post. Now entering its 26th year, the Woods School of Irish Dance has successfully relocated and continues to thrive here in South Boston. The Woods School will always make a lasting impact for our young Irish dancers but we will all miss this building that was a little piece of Irish Heaven on the corner.
To register for classes email Peggy at Woods.firstname.lastname@example.org. Classes start the week of September 9th at our new location: The Perkins Post, 863 East Fourth Street, South Boston on the O Street entrance, 2nd Floor. Watch for our upcoming public appearance at SB Street Festival in September.