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Interview with professional Irish dancer Owen Barrington - VIDEO

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Feis America: What are you currently doing with Irish dance?
Barrington: With dance right now, I am just enjoying touring around the world and doing what I love to do. I’ve finished my college degree and got my TCRG, so I plan to tour for a few more years before finding a place to settle down and start up my future dance school.

Feis America: Where have you traveled with your Irish dance?
Barrington: Irish dancing has taken me to many places. I’ve been to every state in the U.S., all over Canada, Ireland, England, Scotland, and all the way to China. It really is a blessing I’ve been able to see all these amazing places, and if it weren’t for Irish dancing I most likely never would have been to any of them.

Feis America: What was your favorite trip either professionally or competitively with Irish dance?
Barrington: It is really hard to choose which destination has been my favorite. I must say I always have a great time when I go to Scotland. I have to say China was the most interesting of all my journeys because the culture was so different from what I was used to.

Feis America: Do you play any musical instruments?
Barrington: I do play a few instruments and have dabbled in several others. The ones I am most proficient on would be the Highland bagpipes, the Scottish smallpipes and Reelpipes, Irish whistles, bodhran and fiddle. I started playing most of these around the same time I started dancing and I found that they helped me immensely with my dancing because the art form is so heavily influenced by Irish music.

Feis America: Have you met any of the people you looked up to when you were younger now that you are dancing professionally?
Barrington: I always looked up to Michael Flatley, Colin Dunne and John Carey when I was in my younger years. I have met Colin and John but I have yet to meet Michael in person, hopefully someday I will.

Owen Barrington and Michael Londra
Promotional photo: Michael Londra's Beyond Celtic

Feis America: What are your future goals or plans that include Irish dance?
Barrington: My ultimate goal is to open my own dance school, but I have some smaller goals along the way. I’d like to see how far I can take my show dancing career and enjoy that while my legs are still fresh and when I’m old enough I’d like to take my ADCRG. Irish dancing in it’s nature is unpredictable, so many things have happened to me that I did not and could not foresee, but that’s kind of the appeal of it all. In the future I will do what I’ve always done; work hard, take opportunities when they present themselves and just enjoy the road it takes me down.

Feis America: Any advice for Irish dancing boys just starting out?
Barrington: The best advice I have for new guys who have just joined Irish dance is to work hard (aka practice, practice, practice), try your best whether it be class, competition or a show and lastly, always listen to your teacher.

Feis America: What brand of hard shoes and soft shoes do you wear?
Barrington: I wear what I like to call “Franken-shoes” because they’re different parts put together like “Frankenstein”. My hard shoes are made by Antonio Pacelli with the Liberty tips and the tan soles. I find they fit my feet well, are of good quality and look good on the stage. After I order them from Pacelli, I then send them off to Rutherford and have the Rutherford Hi-Tech Heels put on and also their Champion Shamrock lacing system. Once that is all done, I rip out the insole and replace it with some Dr. Scholl’s gel insoles and I’m ready to break them in. This is the perfect combination for my hard shoes. As for my soft shoes, I usually go to a ballet dance store and pick out the Sansha jazz shoe with elastic around the arch and then send those to Rutherford for the same heel and lacing replacement.

Feis America: Did anyone ever give you a hard time for being an Irish dancer? If so, how did you get through it?
Barrington: I, believe it or not, did not get hassled a lot for my dancing when I was younger. There were maybe one or two people that may have said a few side remarks in the past, but overall most of my friends thought it was pretty cool. Even if some of them didn’t approve of my dancing I probably would have continued with it anyway because I liked doing it so much.

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