Diddlyi has five inspiring and super talented Dance Masters as part of our team helping you to dance your best. We want you all to get to know each of our Dance Masters a little better because they are great people on and off the stage floor. Next up is Shane McAvinchey of Riverdance who teaches our Improve Your Dancing and Hard Shoe Bootcamp workshops.
I have been so lucky to have had the opportunity to perform in really amazing and diverse places all around the world. With so many of them having their own charm, it is pretty difficult to choose one. There are a few places that really stand out such as dancing in Israel, Kuwait, Japan, China, Dubai and Egypt.
One spectacular moment I had with Riverdance was dancing with the ancient Egyptian pyramids lit up behind us as a backdrop. I remember turning during the dance and seeing the pyramids in front of my eyes with the Riverdance music blaring and just thinking that this was a moment I will remember for life.
I have done some interesting TV shows during the years around the world too and met some interesting people and celebrities. One TV show was filmed in Germany and was hosted by José Carreras with special guest opera superstar Mr. Pavorotti himself. It was amazing seeing this guy in real life, being back stage with him and then hearing him sing live. Accompanying the Irish president on a state visit to Luxembourg was also an amazing experience! Irish dance has given me so many opportunities and I never take for granted how fortunate I have been.
These have changed over the years. When I was younger and competing, I always had to have a box of mandarins with me for every feis and apart from my shoes and what I was wearing I didn’t really need anything else. Now as the years go on my dance bag is getting heavier with bandages, strapping, in soles and lots of other devices to help keep me pain free! Oh and rolls and rolls of black tape!
What’s your best fitness tip for Irish dancers?
The best thing to do is dance, dance, dance as much as possible without taking lots of breaks. A good warm up, including dynamic stretching and cardio plus Pilates / core work for 30-40 mins before, will improve every part of your dancing. Paying extra attention to your cool down will also do wonders. Aside from dance, I cannot recommend Pilates enough, it’s as if it was created especially for IrIsh dancers!
Editor’s note: Dance Master Paula Goulding offers an awesome Pilates workout for Irish dancers as part of her Train like a champion, dance like a star workshop.
Decide what exactly it is that you want and really focus on where you want to go with it. It can be anything from wanting to become a world champion or wanting to learn the complete Irish dance curriculum, but don’t be afraid to think big. Once you have decided what you want, you will find it so much easier to achieve your goals.
Take small steps but again think big and don’t be afraid of anything. Believe in yourself 100% and[you will keep surprising yourself in how far you can push yourself and the things you can accomplish.
Also, don’t forget about the dance itself and keep reminding yourself why you started dancing in the first place.
If you are having difficulties in reaching your goals or mastering a dance move – it doesn’t matter! It’s not the end of the world! Smile! Be happy! That’s what dance is for!
One more thing – don’t wait around planning too much, just go for it and worry about the details later. If it feels right, just lean into it!
Ooooh… I tend to block these memories out. Most, like many dancers, involve falling on stage during huge shows in front of 1000s of people. One time when I was around 12 years old, I won the Munster Championships. I was so proud and delighted with myself as I stood on the number one podium when a man (John Cullinane) came along to make the presentation. I saw him come towards me with his arms wide and thought to myself, “it’s a little strange that he wants to give me a hug”, not usually something that you see during presentations, but I was so overjoyed that I just thought that maybe he was feeling the sheer joy, too. So I bent over from the top of the podium and reached out and hugged this poor shocked man who congratulated me in a confused voice while the audience burst into hysterical laughter. He then proceeded to wrap the championship belt around my waist – his reason for the wide arms, not for hug. I had not seen the belt in one of his hands.
Photo credits: All Images Property of Diddliy Media
Whether you are training for an Oireachtas, taking your first steps in Irish dancing or you just want to get fit in a fun way, Diddlyi has what you need. Access all of our online Irish dance workshops FREE for 24 hours - it takes less than a minute to register!