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Building Stamina for Irish Dance


While trying to perfect our dances, my teacher told us that the biggest thing everyone in the class needs to work on right now is improving our stamina. I couldn’t help but quickly agree with her as I hunched over, completely out of breath after dancing my Treble Jig.

It always happens in the same place. I’ll dance the first step all the way through and feel energetic and light on my feet, but when I reach the left foot of the second step, my energy starts to fail. I feel my shoulders sag as though a backpack full of books has been thrown on my back and when kicking my butt it feels as though weights are tied to my ankles. It’s very difficult to perform at my best when all my energy is spent half way through the dance.

The best way to build stamina is to tire yourself out regularly and push yourself further than you are usually required to go. So my teacher has started making us dance our hard shoe dances two times in a row. We dance it once, take eight counts to catch our breath, then dance the whole thing again. I haven’t worn myself out this much in a long time! But I feel so accomplished everytime I finish, having pushed my way through it.

Soon dancing my Treble Jig only one time through will be a walk in the park. If I gain the stamina to make it through my Treble Jig without feeling so tired, my performance will be be solid from start to finish. I’m very excited for when that time comes!

What does your school do to help build stamina?

Photo credit: Shelly Allen – For more from Shelly, check out her Irish dance blog & art on

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