Internationally acclaimed Irish dancers kicked up their heels Saturday at a packed Kerry Hall in Yonkers for a "Dance Out" to benefit Jane Richard, a 7-year-old who lost her leg in the Boston bombings.
"My heart is broken," said Unateresa Gormley, who organized the fundraiser and runs the New York Rose of Tralee International Festival, a competition that promotes Irish culture. "Jane is a little Irish dancer. She lost her leg. She lost her brother Martin. We don't know what is going to happen with her mother."
A much larger "Dance Out" took place Saturday in Boston as a show of support for the girl who, according to the Boston Herald, studied at the Clifden Academy of Irish Dance in Milton, Mass.
Jane's brother, Martin, was killed in the April 15 bombings that also injured Martin's mother, Denise. The family was waiting at the finish line for father and husband Bill Richard to finish running the race. A third "Dance Out" took place in Kansas City, Mo.
Alice Farrell, 54, who sings traditional Irish music in her Woodside, Queens, neighborhood, saw the posting for the event on Facebook.
"I just called and said, 'What can I do?' I am a mother myself," said Farrell, who worked at the front door. Admission was free but donations were requested.
Bernadette Devereaux, 22, and her sister Catherine, 20, both members of The Lord of the Dance troupe, drove up from Frederick, Md., to perform. Declan Crowley, 22, the lead male dancer for the troupe, drove down from Albany.
"One of our friends said come up and support and here we are," Catherine Devereaux said.
Dancers also performing were Jonathon Srour, 25, of Brooklyn, a dancer with Riverdance and the fusion dance company Hammerstep.
"The Irish dance community looks after each other. I'm glad we can use our shared love of music to help out," Srour said.
Christine Dolzall, 28, of Newtown, Conn., felt a special connection to the bombings, which killed three people and injured nearly 300.
"Being from Newtown, we know how much support after a tragedy has helped us through the grieving process. In bad times the good in people comes out, so it's important to be a part of events like these," said Dolzall, who performs with Lord of the Dance.
Those wishing to donate to help Jane Richard can send a check to the Richard Family Foundation, c/o NY Rose of Tralee, P.O. Box 1762, Greenwood Lake, NY 10925.
A total of $5,000 was raised at Saturday's event, with people promising they would mail in checks, according to Unateresa Gormley, who organized the event.