From the outside looking in, the life of an Irish Dancer seems like a single straight-forward path – you start taking classes, work your way up through the levels, and ultimately strive to qualify for majors, like Worlds and Nationals, or maybe even aim for the podium.
From that first beginner class it seems to all be mapped out in a predetermined series of goals – getting your solo dress, getting into champs, getting certain placements at feisanna.
But, dance is an art, it is born out of a sincere passion from within the dancer. Therefore, your dance career is about what YOU personally want to get out of it for yourself on an individual level.
There is no one “right” way to do an Irish dance career.
Many dancers excitedly embrace the challenge of working their way up through levels and truly long for the podium, thriving on the thrill of feisanna. That is wonderful because it keeps their love of dance alive.
But, if that route doesn’t quite light a fire in you like it does for some that’s OKAY.
Dance does not have to be about trophies or levels, and if it is, it doesn’t necessarily have to happen at a certain pace, or age, or time.
Instead of feises your goals as a dancer may be about mastering certain tricks, steps or techniques. In fact, you may not even compete at all. A recreational dancer can still have serious goals and competitive drive!
Your dance career may be about performing – and your goals and dreams may be to dance in a certain theater or on a particular stage.
There are some dancers who really love teams and have no interest in solos.
Perhaps you just want to learn ceili dances so you can cut-a-rug at parties.
Or maybe dance, for you, is more about connecting with your heritage and feeling the music.
I didn’t start dancing until I was 15. I danced for 2 years and then took 11 years off. Now in my 20’s I am back to doing both feises and shows and it’s like I never left.
Whether you dance only in the summers
Whether you take every other year off
Whether you retire 3 times or dance your whole life nonstop…
Just remember this is YOUR dance experience, it is about what YOU want, and the music that moves your feet along whatever path is right for you. As long as you are finding joy in your movement, then your dance career is a success.
Photo credit: Image of Dance Master Shane McAvinchey belongs exclusively to Diddlyi Media.
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