Irish dancers under 10 years old are now forbidden to wear makeup or false eyelashes during competition but can still wear wigs. The Irish Dancing Commission’s site announced the date and stated that the ban will begin in March. It will take immediate effect in America too.
An estimated 100,000 American kids take part in irish dancing every weekend across the US. The new rule states:
“Make-up Rules (4.5 in CLRG Rule Book) 4.5.2 Make-up (including false eyelashes) is not permitted for dancers, in either solo or team competitions, up to and including the Under 10 age group. Effective March 1, 2014.”
The news created major ripples in the Irish dance world where there has been considerable controversy over the increasing use of makeup on young children. Long Island based Debbie Ryan, the parent of one former Irish dancer, told IrishCentral that she welcomed the news.
“It is good, more age appropriate, children ten and under do not wear that stuff in the real world so why should Irish dancing be different.”
“We are all worried about child pageants and forcing young girls especially to dress and act older than they are.”
A mother interviewed in Ireland by TheJournal.ie said that she believed “every parent knew it was wrong and disagreed with it” but that they “knew they had to play the game and didn’t want their daughter to be the only one on stage without the orange face”.
She described it as “a relief to a lot of parents and teachers now” but stated that “nobody” expected the ban.
“It has become progressively worse in the last 10 years,” she said, “...dancers felt they had to look that good and it spiralled out of control,” was how she described it.
Another move has been to ban carriage aids that allows dancers of all ages to keep their arms straight during dancing. To ensure the dancers aren’t wearing the aids, they will “be required to perform the simple exercise of raising their arms to shoulder level unhindered”.