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!