A competitive Irish dancer's confession - I struggle with timing



It seems eons ago that one of my teachers said, “When you get this timing issue taken care of you’re going to do really well.” The thing was I had flexibility from being on a high kick team, I could almost kick my face, I could get height on my jumps, I had grace, I could perform... I just couldn’t seem to dance on time with the music to save my life. Seriously it was bad. I had Irish dancers half my height coming up to me with advice.

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Niall O'Leary adult Irish dancer, musician and teacher

What helped in my hard shoe above all else was having private lessons with another Irish dancer. She had struggled with timing too and thus knew better how to help. She instructed me to say "but-ter-fly" over and over in my head while dancing hornpipe. I found that saying "Christ-mas-tree" over and over helped me stay with the beat in treble jig. Thanks to her help I made it into Preliminary Championships. Listening to the music while falling asleep has also proven helpful.

I still don’t have great timing, but Irish dancing is something I love to do and at 23 I'm not ready to give it up yet!

Are you an Irish dancer of any age or level struggling with one particular issue? Share in the comment box below and let’s get a discussion started. If there’s one thing we are ALL good at, it’s helping out our Irish dance friends!

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