In honor of St. Patrick's Day I wanted to shine a light on a time in my life that was pure madness. Ever wonder where I got my hops from? For 10 years of my life...I Irish Danced.
You may remember the Riverdance craze but Riverdance is a far cry from the competitive world of Irish Step Dancing. Now I wasn't very competitive, I danced to hang out with my friends and luckily I was able to fly under the radar and enjoy myself. That wasn't the case for most. Irish Dancing is one of the most bizarre Sport/Hobbies (what do you even call it?) out there. Here are some of the wacky elements to Irish Dancing:
1. Spray Tans
I don't know about you guys but the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Irish people are their glowing tans. For some INSANE reason, we all had to get 2-3 coats of spray tan. Those white hotel sheets never knew what hit em'.
2. Wigs and Spike Curlers
See that giant monstrosity on my head? That was one of 3 wigs I had to purchase to compete. Why the hell did we have to wear wigs? I have NO clue but before we had wigs we had to sleep in these things called "Spike Curlers" that were incredibly painful and drove my Mom insane. They took hours to put in as I wiggled and squirmed and then complained all night that I couldn't sleep.
3. The Dresses
There are two types of dresses that you have to buy, a solo dress and a teams dress. Both are extremely expensive and are like cars-they lose their worth the second you open the box. People spend 1-2 THOUSAND dollars on solo dresses. INSANITY! And the styles would change faster than the weather. A $2,000 solo dress could be worthless in 6 months time. I've seen people try to give them away. I always wore a 4th hand dress and was just happy to be invited. (That dress on the left is USED and listed at $1.7K INSANITY!)
4. The Competitions
How is Irish Dancing scored? NO ONE KNOWS! What you do is learn these traditional dances. Then you compete by walking on stage 2 or 3 at a time. The music starts and everyone takes off. When you're finished they ring a bell and you bow (No seriously, you bow) and you walk off stage. Then after you've danced your soft shoe and your hard shoe dances they recall half the dancers to perform one last dance one at a time. Awards are held in ballrooms and everyone is screaming and crying but they have no idea how anyone was scored. It's crazy exciting to watch.
5. The Injuries
The best part about Irish Dancing is that no one really knows what they are doing. Teachers get accredited by some association and then it's just a continuous cycle of sprained and broken ankles. I used to sprain my ankle every other month.
6. The Tiaras and the Sparkles
Why did we wear tiaras? I have no clue. But you'll always find an Irish Dancer off in the corner gluing Swarovski crystals onto anything she can get her hands on.
7. The Dance Moms
The best part about flying under the radar was watching all the rivalries and stage moms act crazy. You know that show "Toddler's and Tiaras" where the mom's dance off stage? Or the crazy show "Dance Moms" where the Mom's literally act like animals? That is exactly how Irish Dancing was. The Mom's ran the show and boy was it entertaining to watch. They would get pissed if their daughter didn't place well enough or if someone got a newer more sparkly dress than their daughter. If teachers didn't pay enough attention to their daughters, they would pull the teacher into the corner and rip them a new one. Then teachers would have favorite parents and it was like watching a train wreck. God bless those mommies the day their daughters quit Irish Dancing for good.
8. The Strange Performances
For a precious two weeks during St. Patrick's Day, Irish Dancer's get to escape into the daylight and perform all over the place for all the people who had no clue they existed. From elementary schools, to retirement homes, local news channels, and even at parades, you get to be pulled out of school to go show off.
Sure Irish Dancing is an insane world but I made some pretty wonderful friends along the way. Every St. Patrick's Day I think back to that crazy decade of my life and all the shenanigans I got myself into. There's nothing quite like Irish Dancing, I'll tell you that much. Happy St. Patrick's Day friends! Until tomorrow, #RunSelfieRepeat.