It's pretty, it’s colorful but it sure is expensive.
Long ago, when Irish dancing was all about the shoes, dancers were obliged to have the correct pair of shoes, be they hard or soft.
Today the shoes, albeit still important tools for dancing, are only a minor part (and cost) of the complete Irish dancer’s look.
By far, and mainly for the girls, the priciest part of the whole look is the handmade costumes.
At the Marriott Downtown Hotel in Philadelphia several booths were set up on the 4th floor displaying the beautiful costumes.
There was a baby pink dress with hundreds of sequins embroidered around the hems. A strong blue velvet costume with white lace was also on display.
Dancers and their mothers (carrying the check books) visited each stall with excitement.
At the Kilkenny Creations booth, Jack Kenny was manning the fort when Irish Central caught up with him.
Jack has a thriving Irish dancing costume business based out of Cincinnati.
On display this week Jack had a variety of costumes. The least expensive on show was $1,600 and the most expensive was coming in around $2,100.
Jack explains that weeks of work goes into creating the perfect costume.
"It's about six weeks to 2 months from when the order is placed until a dancer gets her costume."
It's an art and it’s his wife Marti who is the brains behind the designs.
"My wife is the technical expert and the person who comes up with the costumes," said Jack.
Jack's adivce for young dancers is to make their first dress a second-hand one. "It's best for a new dancer to buy a used costume," he said. "They can really vary in price depending on the condition of the dress," he said.
Aside from the dresses and shoes - shoes are in the hundreds- another essential part is the wig.
Wigs start from about $60 and go all the way up to $200 depending on how much hair a dancer needs.
Traditionally the wigs come in blonde, brunette, black and red.
And to top off any ladies costumes, there is tiaras and jeweler to accompany the glamorous dresses.
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