Photo by Shawn Riley

During a July 1, 2011 meeting of the Irish Dance Teacher's Association of North America held before the North American Irish Dance Championships, the TCRGs in attendance voted to allow adults the option of dancing hard shoe slow speeds effective January 1, 2012.  Adult dancers will have a choice between traditional or slow speed hard shoe dances in the Novice and Prizewinner levels. The North American Feis Commission (NAFC) will vote on the ruling in October. 

Slow speed and traditional speed are terms used to describe the tempo and often the difficulty level of competitive Irish dancing. Slow speed refers to the slower tempo of the music and allows the dancer to move quicker. Traditional speed has a faster tempo and limits how many steps can be danced to the quicker beat.

Ten years ago the Irish Dance Teacher's Association of America (IDTANA) banned slow hard shoe dances for adult Irish dancers. In May of 2009 it was decided that slow speed specials for adults were in violation of the An Com ruling that there should be no championship levels for adult dancers and the slow speed specials were also banned.

Adult dancers around the country rejoiced in July with the news that they would be able to compete with the slow speed dances that, until the July 1st ruling, have only been danced in practice.

On the adult Irish dance forum, ‘Dinkletoes’ comments, “WOO-HOO!!! Now I can actually USE the dances I've been learning with the kids, instead of having to have "advanced" fast dances. *does her slow hornpipe in happiness*”

Adult dancers will continue to dance only traditional sets in competition, but many feel that this a giant step forward for adults who want to push the their dancing to a new level but aren’t ready to drop down into the “&over” levels (an option in which adults can compete against their younger counterparts and strive for championship level).

RinceorNosretep’ comments, “It's also great news for us adults that DO care about championships but are just now getting into the game of competition and aren't quite ready to go up against 12 to 15-year olds in novice/prizewinner.” 

Molly Bennett, TCRG from the Bennett School of Irish Dance is excited for her adult dancers.  Molly says, “We hope that being able to offer a choice of speeds again will motivate more adults to compete as adults, boosting the numbers in solo events and making it easier to form teams.”

What is your reaction to the new ruling?  Will you be dusting off your slow speeds for competition?

Note: This post was edited for corrected information on July 25, 2011, however due to SEO we cannot change the title of this post. 

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