I have been resisting the urge to flood this blog with Irish dance information…I will continue to force my focus on China, but since Irish dancing takes up a good third of my life and I fully plan on attempting to teach it whilst in ZJG, I must give an introduction.
I started Irish dancing when I was 13ish.
I had taken ballet lessons since I was three, but having recently seen Riverdance from the third row, I immediately said yes please when my friend asked if I would be interested in joining a new Irish dance school that was opening in my town. I will always have a soft spot for ballet, and truly love nearly every kind of dance form, but Irish dance is my passion. For the first few years, I was mostly excited about learning new group dances and performing at recitals, festivals, sports events and parades. I started competing, and kept doing so in the summers when I came back from college, but never set any particularly lofty goals for myself.
In college, I wanted to start a team, and found that several people were interested, one girl in particular who was a championship dancer herself. Although the rest of the interest we got that year and the years to come were nearly all beginners, they were the most enthusiastic and joyful bunch of dancers one could ever ask for and they continue to create, rehearse, perform and laugh together even after I’ve graduated. I couldn’t be more grateful to them.
Upon returning home, I attempted to take what is basically the LSATs of the Irish dance world (the TCRG teaching certification test) and while I passed several sections, I very fortunately did not pass them all. Fortunate, because it allowed me the opportunity to push myself towards those lofty goals I hadn’t thought much of before, which I now realized were more like essentials to one who wishes to become a true Irish dance teacher.
Incredibly, that year my Irish dance school joined up with another school in order to focus more on competitions, and we also gained an outstanding champion Irish dancer who was about my age and also pursuing becoming a teacher. With the combined help of my incredible first teacher, new insights from the teacher from the school we’d joined with, inspiration and encouragement from the recently arrived champion and a personal newfound determination, I was finally able to achieve championship level within another year.
Of course, after pushing myself farther than I thought was possible and learning things I never thought I’d be able to learn, the first three competitions that I tried at Championship level made me realize that I still had even more that I could and wanted to learn. But that adventure will just have to wait until my foot has decided to properly and completely mend.
When I have healed, I would very much like to train hard in China so that I can compete when I come home next summer. I will also be training to re-take the parts of the TCRG test that I didn’t pass the first time at the exams in October. And finally, I would like to heal fully so that I can try to teach anyone who would like to learn while I’m in China!