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Competition Makes You A Stronger Irish Dancer


Photo credit: Shelly Allen

I really enjoy good healthy competition. If there weren’t hundreds of dancers who are better than me, I wouldn’t push myself so hard. Competition encourages us to push a little harder than we normally do to come out on top.

There are many dancers who feel a huge amount of disappointment when they don’t place at a Feis. It’s understandable, especially when it’s the 2nd, 4th, or even 10th time. The most important thing to remember at those times is that when you put yourself out there to be judged and work hard to beat the other dancers who are also fighting to win, you are improving. Your dancing becomes stronger, and you fight harder to be the best you can be, which may be better than it was only a week before.

It may sound like it’s not a big deal when you have to watch another dancer win the trophy, but it IS a big deal! The whole point of a Feis is to push Irish dancers to do better. Irish dance competitions are not about winning, they are about improving. They are about preserving and perfecting the beautiful art of Irish dance.

Every time you step onto that stage to fight for a trophy, you’re actually only fighting to prove you’re better than you were last time. You are making it clear that you’re giving everything you’ve got and won’t lose confidence simply because you didn’t win that day.

Not all Irish dancers understand how much they really grow every time they compete. Winning feels great, but losing is also a valuable lesson. When you’re sure you know everything there is to know about Irish dance, competition can teach you that there’s even more you can accomplish. If you always won, you’d never learn your weaknesses and you’d never push yourself to turn those weaknesses into strengths.

The more you compete, the better you’ll become. Competition is challenging for everyone, but Irish dance wouldn’t be where it is today without it. So don’t get discouraged when you don’t win! Compete for more than just a trophy, fight to be a better dancer that you used to be and you’ll never lose.


For more from Shelly, check out her Irish dance blog & art on


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  1. I 100% agree with this. When I swtiched to a school that didnt compete, I felt I was actually decreasing in my abilities and that when I went to the competition school, I am pushed harder and harder to be better wich I love!!

  2. You'll find great role models at dance competitions. If you can attend a professional dance contest, go watch! Nothing beats being there and seeing great dancing live. Or go to a professional showcase. Strapped for cash? Watch some really good amateur dancers in your local dance community.

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