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The Strangest Places I’ve Been Asked To Irish Dance

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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.

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 9.54.02 AMhat is it about Irish Dancing that people think it can be performed anywhere at any time? I am constantly asked to “do a little jig” in various social settings. If I’m being honest with myself, I often put myself in this situation because my go to fun fact is always “I’m an Irish Dancer.” It seems that everyone’s knee jerk reaction to this is to ask me to dance. I always found this strange because if somebody says that they’re a ballerina or a black belt no one ever asks them to demonstrate their abilities. This has happened to me in pretty strange places. For example, after sharing my “fun fact” in a film class at school all the members of the class, including my teacher begged me to dance in the center of the classroom. Considering I was wearing skinny jeans and high-tops, I had to politely decline. This has consistently happened to me throughout the years at many parties and meetings, often having nothing to do with Irish Dancing or even Irish Culture.
It seems that this effect is compounded every time I happen to be traveling with a group of dancers. We often travel in large groups, especially to restaurants. This often prompts the staff of these places to ask about what sort of group we are. The response is always the same, “Oh that’s unique! Will you do a dance for us?” It is one thing to say “no” when you are by yourself but when you’re in a group and your TC is there, you best believe you’ll be dancing. So, have your treble reel ready! It doesn’t matter if the surface is wood, concrete, tile, or grass. It could be as slippery as an ice rink or so sticky you can’t move your feet. Either way a smile and good posture hide the fact that you might fall at any moment. In addition, the size of the space is also insignificant, you would be surprised at how many dancers one can fit in a small salad bar restaurant.
These impromptu performances are just part of being an Irish Dancer. There’s just something magical in this particular form of dance that always seems to amaze people. After all, it is nice to hear people tell you what lovely feet you have.
Photo credit: Ally Giannini

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