Time to dress up: Choreographer Jane Shortall shows off her party-season outfits

Big Christmas parties may be on hold, but you can still inject some fun and glamour

There may be no office parties and a Cinderella curfew on nightclubs this Christmas, but that’s no excuse not to dress up for the season after months of hanging around in loungewear at home.

Choreographer Jane Shortall’s mantra is that it’s about confidence. “If we feel good on the outside, it makes us feel better about ourselves on the inside,” she says. A teacher whose passion is showing people how to let go and have fun dancing and who works with actors, Shorthall was the movement coach for Daisy Edgar-Jones in Normal People.

“She had never worn high heels before and I had to teach her how to walk and dance in heels wearing a tiny little black dress,” she recalls. “After a few rehearsal sessions, she nailed it and that scene was a showstopper.”

Last year Shortall hosted an online dance course from home called Twirl and promoted it by dressing up in a mix of glitzy designer and high-street party pieces. This year she is doing the same, choosing her favourite party season outfits and outlining why she likes them to coincide with her Dance Movement showreel and to highlight her forthcoming ConfiDANCE masterclass outdoors at the People’s Pavilion at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in January.


A recent report in this paper highlighted how the Doorstep Dance project, another dance class, helped older women cope with the pandemic. Margaret McKenna, a semi-retired pharmacist assistant, spoke about how participating in a dance programme with a dance teacher provided a lifeline for her during the pandemic. “I have a spark again. I’m alive. I am now rehearsing for a flash mob performance of the twelve days of Christmas”, she said.

Dancing and dressing up go hand in hand. Shortall’s choices range from a silver sequin jumpsuit for €49.99 and a pink floral mini for €80, up to €1,920 for an elaborate puff-sleeved print long dress .

The ConfiDANCE masterclass takes place on Friday January 18th – seniors from 12-1pm, open level 5-6pm, cost €20 with all proceeds going to Jigsaw, the charity supporting youth mental health. Visit www.janeshortall.com

Photography: Barry McCall
Make up: Tara McHugh
Tights from Tights Dept., St Stephen’s Green