Diddlyi now has six 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 the Dance Masters a little better because they are great people on and off the stage floor. It’s time to get to know our newest Dance Master, Scott Doherty, a little bit better. Scott has toured with both Riverdance and Lord of the Dance and is now the proud co-creator of the new hit show Rockin’ Road to Dublin. Get ready to be inspired by Scott.
That’s a tough one. One highlight is definitely when I got to do a tour of Feet of Flames in Taiwan with Michael Flatley. That was a tour filled with arenas and soccer stadiums. It was absolutely amazing dancing for 10’s of thousands of people every night – not to mention there were 100 dancers on that tour. In the last number of the show, they actually got all 100 of us on that massive stage dancing together. Unforgettable.
But my truly favorite place to perform is whenever I’ve been lucky enough to do a show near my hometown. Whether it was with Riverdance or Lord of the Dance, whenever I come near my hometown my mom organizes 300-500 tickets all for family and friends to come to one show together. Then, during the last number (after years it’s become a tradition now) every one of my family and friends has a bright glowstick that they wave in the air whilst screaming and cheering. The best one would definitely have been one show where myself, my brother, and a friend from our dancing school all were in Lord of the Dance together. I’d say the theatre was almost filled with people there just for us. I’ve been all over the world and not one crowd anywhere can beat how electric those hometown crowds are… and my friends I’ve toured with can attest to that.
I definitely think that the best Irish dance accessory is a great work ethic. I used to be one of those dancers that never practiced outside of class… actually I barely gave the effort in class as well. And my results always reflected that. I used to think that champions were just born to be that good and that I could never be in the same class as them. So why bother, right? Even though I always dreamed of placing higher, I could never seem to move up because I didn’t work hard enough for it. Eventually I started practicing just a bit more at a time and slowly started to improve. Then one day I was very lucky that Riverdance decided to take a chance on me. But even then I didn’t work nearly hard enough to become a real champion. Throughout the next few years of touring I was fortunate enough to make friends from all over the world, many of whom had won the worlds. I really enjoyed sitting down with them and hearing their stories of how they rose to become the champions they were. After a while though, I noticed that there was always a recurring theme with every single person I chatted with. Every time my friends would get to the point of their story where it was leading up to right before they won I’d hear them say, “I have never danced and practiced more in my entire life.” And then it dawned on me. Maybe if I actually practiced as hard as I could and actually worked for it, I mean really worked for it, I could take a shot at becoming a world champion. And that’s exactly what I did. It doesn’t matter what your goal is. Whether it’s to improve your turnout, place at a feis or even to place at worlds, you will never reach your true potential unless you really work for it. That’s why I think that the best Irish dance accessory is definitely a great work ethic.
My best fitness tip for Irish dancers is actually something I was taught by one of my teachers years ago. Nowadays a lot of Irish dancers will do their routine, whether it’s for a show or for competition, 2 or maybe even 3 times in a row. And that’s great. Dancing longer than your routine will almost always be beneficial, even if it’s only a single step more than you were supposed to do. But to really get the most out of it you have to do your original routine 100% full out. If you just pace yourself through the entire thing it’s almost like cheating a little bit. And really if you’re not dancing full out, you’re just going to give yourself bad habits. If we were doing our dances twice through, my teacher always used to say, “Make sure you dance it full out properly the first time. After that, I don’t care if you’re only able to barely walk through the rest… as long as you keep your legs moving, you’re going to benefit.” After training like that I noticed that I was to do my dances properly 2 or 3 times through without it being overly difficult. And to this day I still do the same. I’ve actually been complimented on my stamina throughout my dancing career. And I can easily say that’s the reason why.
When it comes to advice on achieving goals I’m sure it’s not going to surprise anyone when I say just never give up. Sounds simple, but it’s true. All my life I was constantly setting goals for myself. Which means I was also getting disappointed a lot whenever I wouldn’t reach them the first, third or even tenth time I went for it. But it can’t stop you. You can’t get discouraged. When you don’t reach a goal, the first thing that should pop in your mind should be, ” O.K. what can I do better? How can I work harder?” And sometimes you’ve already done those things and it just wasn’t your day. All you can do is move forward and keep working. If you’ve set a goal, no matter how big or small, it’s because you haven’t achieved that goal yet. So don’t expect to simply do what you’ve done in the past and magically get better results. Keep working. Keep pushing. Soon you will see that no goal is beyond your reach.
My most embarrassing dance moment? Hmmmm that’s a tough one. But only because I’ve had so many. I’ve fallen on stage, I’ve turned and gone the wrong way in shows, I’ve completely blanked and just had to keep my feet moving and smile through it. But one of my best (or should I say worst) was at the New England Oireachtas years ago. I was on stage dancing what was towards the end of my set dance, and I don’t know what happened, but I definitely screwed up the steps. I just kept going though. I was always taught to just keep dancing and don’t just stop. Well I must have thought that I was a genius because I was pretty sure I somehow got back on track doing the right steps at the right time. Boy was I wrong. Before I knew it, the music ended. The strange thing though… my feet didn’t. For some reason my legs were like, “Nope, I’m gonna finish this.” So there I am, just dancing away for probably at least 5 full seconds after the music ends. I finally finished and looked at the judges and noticed that they were all in shock. They actually started looking around at each other as if to say, “What do we do?” The reason: I was the only one in the competition. I could actually see them thinking, “We haavvveee to give him first don’t we??” So I just looked right at them, shrugged, and walked back to my starting spot. Needless to say, I wouldn’t recommend doing any of those things.
Photo credits: Images belong to and are courtesy of Scott.
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!