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3 Trends To Consider When Choosing A New Irish Dance Costume

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

So, it’s that time again: You need to choose a new dance costume. This can cause dancers excitement, horror, and everything in between. If you can afford a new solo dress – you needn’t worry. The lovely people working at the costume shop will gladly help you take your best pick.

But, in case of a limited budget, when you have to choose between the hundreds of used dance dresses out there, there are certain things you need to be prepared for.

Everything is acceptable in love, war and feis fashion – but there really must be some boundaries! Sometimes, it’s for our own safety.

1. LEDs

This year at the North American Nationals we witnessed a birth of a fabulous new trend that will, sadly, probably also get banned from Irish Dance competitions, suffering the same fate as Doctor Who and Simon’s Cat inspired dance costumes – great idea for a costume, one I was tempted myself with, but is completely useless now and can’t be passed on to the next generation of dancers as cartoon characters are now forbidden on competitive costumes. I am, of course, talking about the LEDs.

First, if you are thinking of buying one of those shiny new costumes, you are definitely going to be noticed on stage. BUT – don’t forget to charge the batteries before you go on stage! You’ll feel pretty silly if you go up there on the stage and your LEDs are off. THAT can really mess up your dance routine.


Another trend that quickly got banned but is still talked about – feathers. They’ve been banned for years, but if they ever come back, we might be on the verge of transferring Irish dance into the extreme sport. Not only do they fall off and make the stage extremely slippery, you also need to pray you don’t end up with an adjudicator who’s allergic. It’s OK if your dancing brings people to the verge of tears – if it’s your costume doing this, not so much.


Champ’s costume. Sure it feels great to be wearing a dress that once stood on the podium at the World’s. If it fits your figure and your budget – I say go for it! Dancers, just like all the other artists, always have this tiny bit of superstitious air around them. Perhaps if I wear a champ’s costume, I might be successful myself, they sometimes think. Sadly, there’s little truth to this. Not only that, trends change rapidly and you can’t be seen at the same competition more than twice in the same dress. So think carefully before investing.

Our costumes are blingy, shiny, full of glitter, sparkles, neon colours and generally created to attract attention. But, as one of my friends once told me: on the plus side, if you wear a shiny costume, everyone will notice you. On the down side – everyone will definitely notice you! When you draw adjudicator’s attention to yourself, make sure you have something to show! Don’t let the amount of time and energy devoted to choosing a costume overcome your time and energy devoted to the dance practice.
Photo credit: Image belongs exclusively to author.

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