Today is Saint Patrick’s Day. It is the day Irish people stepdance for fun. What could be more Irish then the Riverdance Show? 20 years ago the show appeared and gave the world a closer look at the skill of Irish dancing. Since then Irish dancing has never been the same. The Irish themselves will admit that the dance has opened doors for the Irish. After just a few performances audiences were on their feet cheering asking for more. Now Irish dancing is performed all over the world even in China.
Here in the states there has been an explosion in interest over Irish dance. Competitions are held all the time. They show up with their big hair and footwork skills. Watching them dance makes you feel like you have landed on another planet. We all speak English but they use words that I have never heard of. Feisanna means Irish dance competition. Oireachyasai means regional championship competition. And Ceili dance is a gathering of Irish folk dancing. It is all combined with gigs, hornpipes and a violin. Very unique in its own way.
Many girls begin in kindergarten and continue dancing throughout high school. They compete from beginner to champion status. 99% who start dancing love it and continue it for years. Some people say that this type of dance can be similar to ballet in that it is lots of hopping and the pointing of toes. When they graduate to wearing the hard shoes they love to hear the taping. A really good dancer will have the ability to make whatever they do look easy.`
They will always have turned out feet and long extended legs. Many of the techniques have not changed throughout the years. What has changed is the style. Now the costumes are fancier and do not weigh as much. The girls do not have to go to bed every night with curlers in their hair. Now they wear wigs. So things have changed dramatically in recent years. Precision is still key to good dancing. The girls are told to keep their arms close to their bodies and hold pennies in the hands so their fingers are not flailing.
What other kind of dancing lets you dance with your arms straight? It can be a refreshing change to any dancer although I don’t think we will see this type of dance on the TV show Dancing With The Stars anytime soon. That is what makes Saint Patrick’s Day so special. We can all be Irish for a day. For the dances it can be stressful since it is all about competitions and dancing most of the time before a judge. It can become overbearing where they practice all the time. Girls hope to be in the national championships.
It is not unusual for a girl to be practicing three to four hours per day. Every year the dancers go out into the community to perform on Saint Patrick’s Day. They like it because it is not to achieve a medal or win a competition. It is finally a way where they can dance for fun. So be inspired and tap your feet somewhere to the beat of a Gaelic accordion, horn or violin somewhere today even if you need a shot of Irish whiskey to get you started. Every year on March 17Th we are all Irish and we celebrate in their traditions. Stop the bickering over who could or should march in parades.
Let’s celebrate all races and old tradition as a civilized people. It should not matter if you are gay or straight in your bedroom. It would be nice if we can leave our private moments in our private places and don’t talk about my private parts in public places. Everyone is Irish today no matter what we look like or where we come from. It doesn’t matter who we love we all need to love each other and just have fun. Enjoy your own day the Irish way today.