The parents of America have spoken and they fully support the new changes in Irish dancing that ban makeup and false eyelashes. And they want the wigs gone too!
So too does a major Irish dancing figure – New York-based Niall O'Leary, a former world champion, teacher, and adjudicator.
O'Leary says, "As an Irish dancing adjudicator, my job is to focus on the skills of the dancers on the day, not presentation. I don't think there should be a major emphasis put on the presentation of dancers, on the day the best dancer comes in first place."
"Parents spend a lot of money on wigs and costumes, and this make-up that kids are wearing isn't just a cheap brand, it's expensive so its hard to tell a parent to go wipe it off their children."
O'Leary also added that it "is very easy to get sidetracked by issues on dresses and wigs; it needs to focus on dancing and that's the plain and simple fact."
Meanwhile, our Facebook page has been flooded with comments. It is highly unusual that there is agreement on anything on our stories, but when over 500 parents essentially say the same thing you know this one is different.
Parents completely agree with the change, and yes, they want the dead animal hair gone too.
Here is a brief sample of the remarks.
Colleen Lavoie: "The fake hair should go too."
Mary Beth Bonner Ryan: "And the tans that the girls put all over them?? We are Irish??? The whole idea of learning Irish Step is to celebrate who we are and our Heritage!!! Why try to make your child look the opposite of what we really look like?? Makes no sense to me and I think the dancers wind up looking ridiculous?"
Susan Murphy: "i agree totally and them stupid wigs need gone as well where is the day gone where we use to curl our hair for competitions and look like kids not trying to be something we are not it should be about their ability and talent for dancing not who looks better with make up or stupid wigs its not a beauty pageant its about the dancing them wigs just look ridiculous why try make a child look older than they are makes no sense to me at all."
Beverley Alder Chandler: "It's about time it was about the dancing!!"
Susan Shaffer Singleton: "It should be banned from 16 down, not 10."
Beth Sier Good: "Let little girls be little girls!!"
It is clear there is a pent-up energy on this issue. An estimated 100,000 kids every weekend across America go Irish dancing. Since the success of "Riverdance" the numbers have skyrocketed.
It is a marvelous way to teach young children balance and discipline and create an awareness of heritage.
But the idea that wigs, makeup, fake eyelashes are part of the mix drives many parents nuts.
It is clear that parents are fearful of the "Toddlers and Tiaras" syndrome where kids look, act and dress like adults.
This became such a phenomenon in Irish Dancing that it was as much about the fashion statement as the dancing.
Some parents were spending up to $3,000 on costumes and a fortune on wigs.
It is clear the vast majority wants it to stop and that wigs should go too.
Of course there will be a lobby, wigmakers included I'm sure, who will strive to prevent it happening.
But the parents of little girls across America have spoken out. No makeup, no false eyelashes, and they'd also love new wigs please.
Hopefully the authorities are listening.
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