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How To Be A Proud Irish Dancer

I was recently asked by a worried Irish dancing Mom for advice on how to best support her child as they prepared for an Oireachtas competition. Despite how motivated her child is, she hasn’t been able to win feiseanna regularly. And her Mom wants her to feel proud of herself as an Irish dancer and is concerned that this will affect her.

I’m regularly asked these sort of questions by concerned parents and I think it’s worthwhile to share my answer here:

It is great to hear that your daughter is shooting up through the grades and that her teacher now feels she is ready for Oireachtas. This, in itself, is a great achievement and one that not all dancers get to enjoy. I think you said it all when you said “we want her to be proud of her dancing”. If she can keep up the pride in her dancing while also keeping up the practice then she will certainly see results. However, if she is being bogged down with self-criticism and over analyzing her own performances then the progression will be slow. The best recipe to success is a mix of total and absolute support from parents, basically there to tell their child how great they are, at ALL times, even when they might not have danced their best! It is then down to the dancer and the teacher to continue to work together and develop and train their art. While every dancer knows the amount of hard work and dedication that is needed to be the best they can be, it is also of most importance for a dancer to enjoy the journey of becoming a dancer and not focusing solely on results or grades. In summary – it takes hard work, tons of support and good communication with a teacher to become a better dancer and of course studying the dance masters on will also be of great advantage!

What do you think is the most important factor for an Irish dancer to maintain pride in what he/she is doing?

Thanks to Mira Sliwinski for the image.



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  1. I think you are right about the parents supporting the dancer throughout, even if she or he had a bad day, telling them they were great. Their teacher will give them the advice on how to be better or tell them what they missed. The only need that person’s constructive criticism on a big feis day. If you were like me, you got the criticism plenty at class. LOL
    Another thing to do is dance out… not at feiseanna, but say at school parties or your own party or whatever. People will be impressed by your performances and if it is not in competition you will get heaps of praise and feel proud of yourself. 🙂

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