Friday, April 10, 2009

A close encounter with Jean Butler. And it was lovely.

I rounded out a full week in Philadelphia by interviewing my Irish dance idol, Jean Butler. 

Yes. THE Jean Butler. The original female lead dancer for Riverdance. 

It was an impromptu interview and, I must say, I crept up on her like a cat. I swore I'd seen her watching the senior men competition, but couldn't tell if it was really her. I figured it's Worlds--there are hundreds of gorgeous, thin, tall redheads running around the venue. I got a much clearer look at her when she left the senior ladies competition. And that's when the Jean creepin' really began :)

She was sitting outside the Verizon room with another woman. Jean had gone up to get herself a coffee/tea in the snack line and made her way back to the table. I calmly approached just as she was getting up to grab another packet of sugar. The awkward conversation starter went something like this:

SJ: Excuse me. You're Jean Butler?
JB: Yes, I am.
SJ: Could I ask you a few questions. I'm covering Worlds for Hornpipe Magazine and a few other publications.
JB: (laughs a little) Sure!

She was extremely gracious, considering I totally cut her off while the poor woman was trying to get a packet of sugar. She answered every question thoroughly and honestly, and very clearly. As a journalist, I REALLY appreciated her concise and insightful speech. For such a short interaction (3 minutes max), she gave me lots of good quotes. And she smiles when she talks. It always makes my job easier when I feel like I'm not a total bother. 

So, journalistically, I was proud to have stolen a few minutes of Jean's time and managed to get quality quotes (you'll have to read Hornpipe Magazine for that info later!). But I was personally so jazzed to have spoken with THE Jean Butler. This woman is the epitome of an elegant dancer. 

Jean, I learned to love the slip jig because of you!


Feisworx said...

You must be very proud to talk to her! I went up to Miss America at the mall and asked her to autograph a clean paper napkin from lunch! She laughed! She sounds very nice! Hope your having a lovely trip! Keep blogging!~Feisworx

christie said...

I looove Jean! It must have been amazing to just meet her like that :)

Ess Jay Velasquez said...

Being a journalist has been one of the best things to happen to my life. I've always been the type to start conversations with strangers (I know, my parents told me not to!), but now I have a legitimate excuse to talk with anyone. People see the press pass and they just open up.

Meeting Jean was funny though, because she's one of those people I really admired growing up. So approaching her as an adult made me feel like a 12-year-old again.

Anonymous said...

What issue is it?