Thursday, December 4, 2014

Why every Irish dancer needs a chance to perform and compete.

Legacy Irish Dance Company in the Wizard of Oz.
Photo by Joe Rossi

Some dancers cringe at the thought of performing onstage, and others wouldn’t even think about competition. Both expressions of the art form have something in common—they are danced by people who love to Irish dance, and each of these avenues provide valuable experiences for both the dancers, and the dance schools they represent.
Advantages of stage performances in Irish dance:
  • Dance purely for the love of it. When you perform for an audience, no one is judging you, or telling you how to fix your technique.
  • A chance to use your talents to serve others. Dance and music can bless the lives of those you perform for. It lightens their load, and takes them away from their problems for a little while. Performing strengthens the community and spreads culture.
  • School unity. When younger dancers get a chance to perform alongside the older, more experienced dancers, a sense of belonging knits the school together. The younger set work hard with the hopes that they will be able to have one of the lead roles someday.
  • Dancing for friends and family. When a school performs, the dancers are able to show their friends and family what they’ve been working on. Parents always appreciate a chance to see how the hard work and lessons are paying off, and everyone likes to see their dancer onstage.
Advantages of competition in Irish dance:
  • Pushing past limits. Preparing for a competition often gives a dancer the push needed to master what they’ve learned and dance better than they ever expected to.
  • Focus. Competition dances hone a dancer’s skills and adrenaline, allowing them to focus intently the movement of their body to the music.
  • Team spirit. Schools that travel together as a team and cheer each other on find a bond that is rarely found elsewhere. Friendships born out of competition are likely to last a lifetime.
  • Travel. There are Irish dance competitions all over the world, and those who are lucky enough to travel widely to compete have the added bonus of going to places they otherwise would never visit.
  • Irish dance community. Competitive Irish dance is a part of a world-wide community of dancers who carry on traditions and pave the way for future generations of dancers.