Forum: Irish / Irish

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You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when... (karma: 17)
By DefyingGravityPremium member
On Sun Sep 12, 2004 04:08 PM
Made sticky by MIClogger (28613) on 2004-09-15 19:46:53
Made unsticky by soliloquy (28370) on 2005-03-07 16:36:25 There is a sticky consolidation effort being made. ;)

This was done a while ago, but I can't find it now, so hey! How about a new one!

You know you're an Old School Irish dancer when you remember...

1.Threads of Green was THE dress maker of dress makers - 4 year waiting lists with utter excitement when you finally got it.

2. There were no such thing as wigs.

3. Skirt stiffener on the sides was hardly EVER seen.

4. It was all about the velvet, baby. And rhinestones galore.

5. Two words: Lace collars.

6. Pushed down socks were all over feiseanna - sock glue didn't exist!

7. hard shoe buckles were a huge fad.

8. Hardshoes were a #&*%@ to break in - hard leather bottoms were the only option.

9. The Oireachtas had *gasp* only about 20-30 girls per competition.

10. (atleast in the WR) the competitions would stop on Sundays at 10 for mass complete with communion.

What else do you old schoolers remember?

74 Replies to You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...

re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By Dancingloon
On Sun Sep 12, 2004 04:17 PM
When Set dances were danced by all champs, prelim and opens at every feis- no jig/hornpipe for prelim.
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By MrsFinnigan
On Mon Sep 13, 2004 01:19 PM
Wow, great thread. Here's what I have to contribute.

Breaking in hard shoes? What's that? I'm actually old enough to have worn steel shanked shoes studded with nail heads. Toe work was only for ballerinas.

I wore a school dress with a vest and half-cape. The most extravagant solo dresses were velvet, satin-lined, hand embroidered, and studded with rhinestones, and cost maybe $300, tops.

Falling socks weren't an issue, except for the guys. Poodle socks came up to mid-calf at the very highest, and were thick and nubby enough to almost stand up on their own. One such pair of socks lasted me about ten years, 'til one sock finally got a hole and I lost the other. The guys on the other hand, with their knee socks which complemented their kilts, were always coming up with innovative ways to keep their socks up. Which leads me to...

Kilts!!! Pants were for brand new boy beginners who hand't gotten around to getting a kilt yet. Pants on championship-level dancers was unheard of.

As were wigs on girls. Even a dancer I knew who had a mohawk wasn't expected to wear a wig. It didn't occur to anyone to suggest one, though I'm sure her teacher would've liked it if she'd just change her hairstyle. Even then, the AD's didn't seem to care.
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when... (karma: 1)
By JigDontJog22
On Mon Sep 13, 2004 01:31 PM
Scrunchies were a cool way to accessorize your solo dress. One trend that I am glad seems to have disappeared, because schunchies don't really attach to wigs all that nicely, and were a pain to try to bobby pin into your wig (yes I did this).

Bubble socks were closer to ankle socks, and were about 2 inches thick.

Black sponge rollers started to be en vogue, spikes hadn't been invented yet. Black rollers apparently didn't look as dorky as pink ones.

I'm sure we old schoolers all have curler stories. I think I've been everywhere in mine.

At one point I had quite the lovely brown velvet solo dress, with yellow, green, and orange hand embroidery, rhinestones, and of course the piece de resistance yellow crocheted collar.
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By Jitchiwahmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Sep 13, 2004 02:17 PM
lmao - good post!

LOADS of headbands. I remember there was a point when it was dead cool to wear thin alice bands coveed in sequins, braids etc in colours to match your dress - as well as a crown. Some girls had like 2 or 3 head bands in front of the crown!!! lol

There was no such thing as silk. I had a velvet and silk dress in 1996 and everyone was like WOOOOOWWW - is that.. SILK????

Claddaghs, Tara Brooches and Birds.

Lame was, like, WOW! so cutting edge!

neons were limited to yellow, orange and green on a black velvet dress and looked somehow tasteful and pretty!

Crochet collars and even crochet cuffs.

whats a tiara???!?!?
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By rallyhopbackPremium member
On Mon Sep 13, 2004 02:35 PM
Edited by rallyhopback (81538) on 2004-09-13 14:33:56
Poodle socks?? We all wore black tights. Much later some people wore white ankle socks with lace on the edges - your basic "first communion" socks.
Our hand embroidered dresses were made of wool and made by our mothers. Our capes attached over our shoulders with tara brooches and hung straight down to the hems of our dresses. Like Superman's cape. We tried to keep our crocheted white collars and cuffs clean, but they always got dingy.
We wore our hair in pig-tails, high on our head with ribbons that matched our dress. Or our hair was held back with a simple headband from the drug store.
We took our shoes to the shoe repair shop to have them hammer in hundreds of tiny nails into the soles. As a beginner my hard shoes were tap shoes with the taps removed (and the hundreds of nails) and my ghillies were actually black ballet slippers. We just didn't have any real ID supplies unless we went to an out-of-state feis, so we did the best we could. We learned our dances and had a blast performing and competing!


Now that's old school!
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By kick_ye_bum
On Mon Sep 13, 2004 03:00 PM
Wow i didn't realize how much has changed since i started dance! I definetly remember the days of the velvet dresses, The "extreme" dresses then had more than like two colors, and were neon. Definitly used to make fun of the wigs before they were mandatory for our school, now i wouldn't even think of competing without a wig! Also remember the days of mid-calf- ankle length socks! What about the days before all these "supporting" softshoes that are more than just a strip of leather with laces, now the shoes are all complicated and technical!
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By rowingj
On Mon Sep 13, 2004 04:02 PM
When the groups at the O were small enough for everyone to do their set - no recalls needed (in New England anyway), and no splits at the NANs.

The headbands and scrunchies!!! Since I still have my velvet solo, I also still have the neon accessories for it - bloomers, 2 headbands, and 3 scrunchies I think? All neon of sorts & gold...

The feises were only on Sundays, unless it was a BIG feis, then it overlapped Sat-Sun. And there weren't a load of them - maybe 1-2/month that you'd attend. And I only danced out-of-region twice in ten years (not sure if I am odd chickee out on that one).

Sashes that went from shoulder to hip, attached with brooches.

School costumes that were jumper + blouse style. And yes, my mom used to hand-embroider our school costumes :)
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By AinetheDragonPremium member
On Mon Sep 13, 2004 04:19 PM
although many of my schools dresses are machine embroidered now, mine is still the old hand embroidered one (same designs, just different method) and I helped do the embroidery.

I remember when there werent any spikes, and when people wore spikes to match thier solo dress (I had teal and black ones, to match my teal and black velvet and satin dress.) I also had like 3 headbands for that dress, plus scrunchie.

I remember when butterflys, tips, and twists were the big exciting moves in softshoe.
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when... (karma: 2)
By GreenEyedRascalmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Sep 13, 2004 10:43 PM
i should SO not be posting in this thread since i'm part of the so-called "riverdance" generation. but i think it's neat when members of the riverdance generation reach the point where they're able to critique riverdance and its successors on a technical level and whatnot... okay, that sounded much better inside my head. ha!

~doug
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By TheMidlakeMusemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:22 PM
LOL, rowingj, we STILL have the oversized 'painter's smock' blouse with high neck + jumper combo...can we say '1983'? Hopefully that will change soon, though.

Dani
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By irishbellePremium member
On Tue Sep 14, 2004 01:45 AM
I remember thinking I was the coolest kid on the block when Mum bought me my own tara brooch to wear with my cape on my school dress. And once upon a time I even wore a crocheted headband. Ahhh...those were the days!
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By MrsFinnigan
On Tue Sep 14, 2004 12:45 PM
I'm really feeling old now, seeing people call crowns, scrunchies, and multiple headbands "old school." Back in the early days of my dance career, scrunchies weren't even invented yet, and the first ones looked downright ugly. Crowns were only for royalty, and they certainly were not made out of fabric and sequins. The fanciest headbands were made of satin ribbon with a lace overlay, and nobody wore more than one, if any at all. Hair was simpler, dare I say, more free back then. Curls were, in practice, recommended but not required, as they are in theory today. But I do remember going to Mass with a large kercheif tied around my head to hide the curlers.
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By numba_1_champ
On Tue Sep 14, 2004 01:03 PM
Remeber Tir Na Nog? that level BEFORE begginer?
Hand stitched dance dress.
Had a chance to get a silk dress, but got upset because i wanted a velvet one!
Blumers weren't the colours of the dress underneath it was the MAIN colour of the dress1
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when... (karma: 1)
By greekprincess
On Tue Sep 14, 2004 05:06 PM
i think this should be made a sticky. it would be cool for everyone to see this and reply to the stuff that they remember.
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By criosamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Sep 14, 2004 07:24 PM
I just want to say I love reading this! I first learned of ID in 1996, so I remember reading about a lot of these 'trends'... can't say I remember actually living any of it, but I do remember learning about it! lol!
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when... (karma: 1)
By dance46
On Tue Sep 14, 2004 10:34 PM
Great post!!! Crocheted collars, the hair was pin straight, no make-up. Even before embroidered dresses, there was the sew on patch.So your mom could make the next size and just re-sew the patches.UGGGH. Black tights in 105 degree weather , burnt skin no sunscreen and no indoor air-conditioned feis. Much less people and longer days. No internet. We would write the feis comitee, then go tothe feis and pray your comps weren't done.Don't forget for champs using your hand to raise or lower the tempo for your set, that alone took forever. There was no such thing as a speed .
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when... (karma: 1)
By MrsFinnigan
On Wed Sep 15, 2004 01:10 PM
Ah, yes, the tempo hand signals. Hand waving up meant faster, down meant slower, and either of those followed by thumb and forefinger pinched meant a little faster or slower. And I remember spending nearly the entire 8 bars doing the "faster" wave- and still having to do my set dance to too-slow music! (Yes, some people like The Hunt played fast.)
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By DefyingGravityPremium member
On Wed Sep 15, 2004 04:32 PM
I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned!

<b>Tanner didn't exist on the feis scene! </b> *gasp* (you mean all legs were white?! O MY!)
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when... (karma: 1)
By MrsFinnigan
On Wed Sep 15, 2004 11:37 PM
Darn! I was hoping to forget that tanner ever existed on the feis scene at all. (Grumbles something like, "What next? Taking four-year-old first feis-ers to tanning salons?")
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By criosamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Sep 16, 2004 07:01 AM
wasn't there a bit of a thing with incorporating your likes/hobbies outside of ID into the dress design? like incorporating horses and horseshoes (somewhat tastefully) into the knotwork. I know I've seen a few horse and other themed dresses (that didn't look as freaky as the Wizard of Oz dress)
I could be wrong on this...
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By MrsFinnigan
On Thu Sep 16, 2004 09:25 AM
I don't thing such incorporation is particularly old school, though. I mean, I'm really into music (and would be doing that professionally if I weren't teaching dance), but I haven't ever worn even something as quintissentially Irish as a harp brooch or emblem on any of my dresses.
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By irishbellePremium member
On Thu Sep 16, 2004 07:17 PM
The old school designs with horse and fish and birds and unicorns were all taken from the Book of Kells. Back when dresses were velvet and hand embroidered or machine embroidered and all had lovely celtic swirls and knots. You were uber cool if you had diamantes.
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By dance46
On Thu Sep 16, 2004 08:59 PM
Mrs Finnegan, remember telling the musician your set piece and either slow, medium, or fast.It took forever. We did't need tanner because we wore tights and heaven forbid if anyone wore make-up. We wouldn't dare.
re: You know you're an OLD SCHOOL Irish dancer when...
By OvertheOcean
On Thu Sep 16, 2004 09:32 PM
Our school must be really old school, because we have lace collars on our class dresses and hard shoe buckles!! Haha.
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