Zahra Ndirangu, Contributing Writer
Morgan Bullock began dancing at the age of three, but recalls being immediately enamored with the style of Irish dance after watching a recital at her dance school at the age of 10.
“From then on I just knew I wanted to do it,” the VCU alumna said. “The next time there was enrollment for dance classes, I enrolled.”
Eleven years later, Bullock has spent over half her life dedicated to the sport.
“She has always had a natural gift for Irish dance,” said Mary Michael, Bullock’s former dance mate at the Baffa Academy of Irish Dance. “She is someone who while she worked hard, she didn’t have to work as hard because she was just graceful and gifted and a wonderful dancer.”
Now, the VCU alumna is one of the newest members of the notable Irish dance show Riverdance, joining them on their U.K. tour from Aug. 27 to Dec. 14.
“It means the world to me because I think it’s pretty much every Irish dancer’s dream to be a part of Riverdance,” Bullock said. “At one point it seemed so unattainable, so now that I’m here doing it it’s just so surreal.”
“I’m not surprised that Riverdance offered her this opportunity,” said former dance instructor Amy Habel of Crossroads Irish Dance Academy. “She is just a fabulous performer and not a lot of people have that natural gift.”
Bullock gained internet fame in 2020 after posting a video of her dancing to Megan Thee Stallion and Beyonce’s song “Savage (Remix)” on TikTok. The video gained over 1.3 million views and catapulted Bullock’s career, garnering support from Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and the Riverdance Irish dance troupe.
“It was completely unexpected,” Bullock said. “I never posted it with the intention of millions of people seeing it, it was kind of just me having fun.”
Despite gaining popularity through international Irish dancing, her roots lie in the Richmond area, where she received most of her dance instruction in her early years through college.
“She was such a dedicated dancer,” Habel said. “She worked very hard. She was one of those who always asked questions, which is always important. But she gave 100% in anything that she did and she was one that never let anything stand in her way either.”
Within the Richmond area, Bullock has trained with Crossroads Irish Dance Academy and now trains with the Baffa Academy of Irish Dance in Midlothian, Virginia, in addition to pursuing her master’s degree in elementary education at VCU.
“Irish dancing in Richmond was a really good way to start her career,” Michael said. “The Richmond community in general is just very enriching and accepting of different cultures and different arts.”
Bullock credits the Richmond community as a place of immense growth for her, both in her dance life and personal life.
Bullock said that she does not take her status as a symbol of Black representation within Irish dancing lightly. She is aware of the impact she has as one of the few Black Irish dancers in a traditionally white art form.
However, accompanying her status as a Black Irish dancer, Bullock has been accused of cultural appropriation. Bullock said she works to combat this hate with education, educating the differences between stealing from a culture without giving credit to its origins and appreciating it.
“I really immerse myself in the culture and I think that is very evident in my knowledge of the dance and Irish culture,” Bullock said.
For Bullock, dancing with the Riverdance Irish dance troupe is a personal dream that has now come to fruition.