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Irish Dancers’ Pet Peeves

Nina is an adult Irish dancer based in Belgrade, Serbia. For more, connect with her on twitter @GingerLujka.

Remember the ‘90s American sitcom Friends and the episode where we discover that Chandler’s pet peeve is Michael Flatley’s legs, because “They flail about as if independent from his body”?

Well, Irish dancers have their pet peeves, too. Here are 7 things that really annoy Irish dancers and what to do about them.


You know the exact number of pairs of your poodle socks but once they come out of the washer – you can’t match them! You end up with three knee length socks and five ankle length. The extra socks don’t match either. The fabric is not exactly the same shade of ash white. Solution: Always have one brand new unpacked never before used pair of poodle socks for each feis. As for the used pairs, dye them in different colours and you’ll never have the headache of sorting your poodle socks again!


Screen shot 2014-01-15 at 9.53.05 AMBlisters, sprains and blood traces on your poodle socks. Who likes those? It’s so exciting to get the new pair of dance shoes, but the pain of breaking them in makes you want to scream and run back to your old worn-out, comfy shoes. But let’s face it, no blisters – no progress. Solution: Always have an extra pack of plasters/band-aids in your dance bag.


No matter how much you try, it’s never good enough! Solution: Try to be realistic – either it’s actually fine and you are just obsessing about nothing, or it actually needs working on in which case the only solution is practice, practice, practice.


Yes, it’s freezing outside, even polar bears and penguins are cold and there are mountains of snow in the streets, public transportation isn’t working, you can’t get your car out of the garage but how dare they close that dance studio? Solution: Roll up the carpets in your living room and go through the parts of your steps that need to be fixed, so that when the studio opens you can focus on new steps.


I like this word “muggle”, borrowed from the Harry Potter fantasy novels by the author J.K. Rowling. Most of our friends outside of the dancing community don’t know a thing about Irish dancing and to them words like “feis”, “oireachtas” or “hornpipe” might as well be magic spells. Having to describe the difference between tap dance and Irish dance can be a stressing and exhausting endeavor. Solution: Be patient with them, they need help understanding our ways, and don’t get mad if they ask you about your “step dancing”, “riverdancing” or to “do a little jig.”


ducttapeThe bobby-pin industry is the greatest beneficiary of the recent expansion of Irish dance worldwide. And yet, no matter how many bobby-pins you put in your wig, there’s still that fear that it might simply fall off while you’re dancing. It’s every girl Irish dancer’s worst nightmare.

Another thing that’s my personal worst pet peeve of all is pulling on my shoe laces after quick change and realizing it’s broken. No time to replace it since you’re in the middle of the performance, and you can only pray to God somebody has duct tape. Or a broken shoe belt just before it’s your turn to dance at a feis. This can severely disturb a dancer’s focus and self confidence not to have the footwear nice and tight on their feet. Solution: Never leave the house without duct tape.


If you forget to bring them to dance practice – no biggie. You can probably get by by simply dancing barefoot. But if you arrive at a feis and realize your shoes are not in your bag – you may as well go home. Solution: If you are as forgetful as I am, the best thing to do is to always go back and double check your bag the night before. Do not pack on the day you have to travel, chances are you will probably forget something.

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