by CAITLIN BUCK, Feis America Magazine contributor

I was a senior on my high school dance team when I started Irish dancing. I came from a background of a megaphone-wielding director who would belt out our names across the gym as we practiced our routines. I don’t know how many times I heard, “Caitlin, smile!!!”

A smile, like a solo dress, can set dancers apart. A smile full of joy can light up the stage and energize the air around you. A smile can make a dancer stand up a little straighter, lift their chin a bit higher, and project an air of “the IT factor.” Draw the audience in and capture the attention of the judge the minute you place those ghillies on the stage by showing off those pearly whites.

Smiling as you dance comes naturally for some, but others like me must practice their dance steps smiling. If you lack a megaphone-wielding director to holler out smiling reminders, just plaster one on your face as you dance in front of a mirror. Practice that smile until it becomes something you do naturally like a well rehearsed step.

And just remember this one little thing, as you slip that solo dress on: the immortal words of Annie, “Your never fully dressed without a smile!”

Do you find it hard to smile while Irish dancing? Share in the comments below.

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