Troy dancer hopes for the luck of the Irish

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published March 27, 2019

 Troy resident Maggie Rohweder performs in “An Irish Nutcracker” with the Shannon Irish Dance Academy in Rochester Hills at McMorran Theater in Port Huron Dec. 17, 2018.

Troy resident Maggie Rohweder performs in “An Irish Nutcracker” with the Shannon Irish Dance Academy in Rochester Hills at McMorran Theater in Port Huron Dec. 17, 2018.

Photo provided by Maggie Rohweder


TROY — Troy resident Maggie Rohweder has danced ballet and tap since she was 3 years old.

She wanted to do Irish dance when she was 7.

“I saw ‘Lord of the Dance’ when I was 7,” she said. “I begged my mom to do Irish.”

Her mother said no at first, but by age 11, Rohweder said, she had worn her mom down.

Rohweder graduated from Troy High School in 2009, attended Hope College, then earned a master’s degree in social work from Wayne State University.

Rohweder said dancing went on the back burner during her studies. She got back into Irish dancing at the Shannon Dance Academy in Rochester Hills “to get back in shape” after she finished her master’s.

“Irish dancing is so athletic and fast,” she said. “You fly across the floor.”

She attended the Fusion Dance Fest, by the Fusion Fighters, last summer at the Limerick Institute of Technology and Millennium Theatre in Limerick, Ireland, and she plans to go back this summer.

The Fusion Fighters combine Irish dance with more modern dance, Rohweder said.

Rohweder currently teaches preschool and runs a morning program at Greenfield Elementary School, in the Birmingham Public Schools district. She also teaches dance to children.

She hopes a dance video she filmed with her father, David, and brother, Joel, will help her to win a scholarship through the Fusion Fighters to offset her travel expenses to Ireland this August for the 2019 Fusion Dance Fest.

The scholarship will be awarded to a dancer whose video receives the most views on the Fusion Fighters Facebook page on or before March 30. The amount of the scholarship is determined by the number of entrants.

Rohweder and her father filmed the video in about five locations at Eastern Market in Detroit last month.

“She chose the location and knew what she wanted, so other than freezing weather, it was easy,” David Rohweder said via email.

He explained that the whole family is artistic and musical.

“That’s why I’m behind the camera. As a parent, you get used to crazy requests and timing, so we made it through the cold OK.

“I have always had an interest in photography and was involved in yearbook in high school and continued as a hobby,” he added. “I guess I’ve been videoing all of my children’s activities for years now.”

“I really wanted to make something that was quintessential Detroit, something people would recognize,” Maggie Rohweder said. “I love the city.”

Her brother, Joel, is a professional musician with the heavy metal band Red Light Angels. He uses the professional name Joel David and recently moved back to Michigan from Nashville.

He wrote, performed and recorded the music on the video.

“She asked me to make it sound industrial, like Detroit, and Irish, like Dublin,” he said.

He said that he and his sister “were doing musicals and dancing since we could walk.”

Maggie danced to the track that Joel recorded. Then Joel edited the video and added the tracks, mostly in his home sound studio.

“I’m real excited for her to get back into dance,” he said. “It was such a big part of our lives when we were younger. The video is doing great. I’m very proud.”

Going forward, Maggie Rohweder hopes to offer Irish dance lessons to the disadvantaged to allow them to “explore their own abilities and passions through dance. There are so many benefits to dance, and (it) should not be only for the people who can afford them.”

Follow the link for the Fusion Fighters Facebook page, then click on Videos, then Fusion Dance Fest Scholarship Videos 2019.