The end of my Irish dance hiatus - coming out of retirement for Oireachtas 2011
Getting back in the game with my first Irish dance competition of the year
Our first practice about two months ago was a sight to behold. We all knew the dance nearly inside out as we had grown up doing the 4-hand reel every year at the Oireachtas. Physical endurance, on the other hand, was a different story.
After our first run-through, we knew we had our work cut out for us. Sure we had the parts down, but we all, myself in particular, could have used a dose of oxygen following the minute and half row through reel music.
‘Minute and a half!’ you say? I say, give it a try and maybe I’ll share some water with you after.
Aside from our resulting new and fitter physiques, my team and I were truly happy to see the excitement and interest our teachers took in us in preparing us for another round of competitions. Many of them noted how with us back in class, it was like we had never left.
And funnily enough, we had the nearly the same instructions being barked at us. “Kerry, kick your butt! Up on your toes!” Hard to teach an old dog new tricks, I suppose. We did feel like we had never left, though our collective stamina would disagree.
Thankfully, with some practice, we’ve all rediscovered our dancers muscles and fine tuned the same old flaws we’re so familiar with, and without a moment to spare as the competition is this weekend. Winding down to only having time for more practices once we’re in Philadelphia, here’s to hoping that we’ll be in tip-top (or should I say tip-toe?) shape for our competition on Sunday afternoon.
Having nearly survived the un-retiring (competition is Sunday, I’m not in the clear just yet …) of Irish dance, here are a few tips for dancers who are considering coming out of retirement:
-Do it! It’s truly the most fun I’ve had in a while.
-Ease yourself into it. Irish dance is very specific form of exercise that other type of endurance training can’t necessarily keep you in shape for.
-Plan. Do you truly have the time to commit to even a modest practice at least once a week? Do you intend to compete again?
-Check into the rules. Some regulations have changed since I last competed. Do you qualify as an “adult” dancer now?
-Talk it over with your teacher(s). It always helps to have a supportive crew behind you.
-Round up some friends to join you! Sure, the more the merrier.
At this point, for thousands of Irish dancers, the competition is merely hours away. Get practicing, best of luck, and most importantly, have fun!