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Making Sense Of Irish Dancing Habits


Ally Giannini is an Open Champion dancer for the Lenihan School of Irish Dance as well as a student at Fairfield University. She loves keeping updated on all things Irish Dance. For more from Ally, follow her on twitter @ally_geeniee019.

Irish dancers definitely do things that other people wouldn’t. While these habits might seem normal to us they definitely seem strange to other people. I think that sometimes we even find ourselves questioning why we do what we do. I’ve tried to make sense of some of the habits below. Please share your own explanations!

Folding Over Poodle Socks

Many of the older dancers I know tend to fold over their poodle socks at practice. This is something that I do too. When I was younger my poodle socks never used to bother me but now I like to practice with my socks folded over. Why do we do this? We fold over our poodle socks so that they don’t sag and bunch and so that they are more comfortable on our legs. The shorter the sock, the better. Why don’t we just wear ankle socks then? Well it doesn’t make sense to practice in socks that will stretch out your shoes for competition so the best option is just to fold over those poodle socks.

Stepping On A Damp Cloth

A habit of many championship level dancers is to step on a damp cloth before the soft shoe round. It is kind of comical to see the array of damp paper towels on the side of a stage at a feis. Why do we do this? Sometimes the floor is a bit slippery and stepping on a damp cloth removes carpet fibers that could cause us to slip as well as making the texture of the bottom of the soft shoe better able to grip the floor.

“Poufing” The Front Of Our Hair

A very popular hair trend today is to create a pouf with your hair at the front of your head. Irish dancers often get criticized for their wigs so this is a subject of constant scrutiny. Why do we do this? A pouf creates a softer look and makes it look more like you’ve pulled your hair back rather than just slapping a wig on your head. It makes the whole look more put together. A good pouf day is a great dancing day.
Photo credit: Image is courtesy of and belongs to blog author.

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