Forum: Irish / Irish

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Adult dancers
By Gracie0214
On Wed Jan 22, 2014 01:17 PM

I'm sorry if this steps on toes, but, is there really a need to continue hosting adult comps when feis after feis, there are only one or two entries? It seems so wrong to me to watch kids dance their hearts out to win medals in grades, and then adults dance alone on stage and 'win' trophies. Not a fan of 'adult' comps if fewer than 5 are entered.

35 Replies to Adult dancers

re: Adult dancers (karma: 1)
By AutumnLily
On Wed Jan 22, 2014 01:46 PM
I know what you mean and believe me the adult dancers are not happy about the low entries either. And for me the trophies won in competition with thee dancers don't mean very much, I feel like I didn't really deserve them...
I don't know which region you are from, but in my region there is quite a lot adult dancers. The problem offen are age groups as there are like 3 dancers in each group... If they just put them together it would make everybody happy.
And (as an adult dancer myself :)) I believe we have a right to dance in competitions.
re: Adult dancers
By lightfoot_champmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Jan 22, 2014 01:58 PM
adult dancers practice just as hard as the children do. so why not let them have competitions.
I don't mean to step on anyone's toes, but some parents would most likely moan if an adult competed against their child and won, and yet you're moaning when adults compete against themselves and win.
also children only really have school and dancing to deal with (there are of course exceptions to this).
Adults have dancing, jobs and often children too, which makes dancing much harder when you have a million other things to do as well (I'm sorry but children just do not have this problem no matter how much school work they have)

Although I don't compete in adult category (in my org I dance in open champs under 25)
I have been competing since I was 5 and am now 23, so know the problems faced by children and adults so I have experience on both sides of the debate.

I say let adult dancers be, I personally applaud them for getting up there and giving it a go, I'm luck that I have don't it none stop for so long, others didn't get the opportunity to do as children

I just had to say this
Jono
re: Adult dancers
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jan 22, 2014 02:17 PM
Why punish the dancers who DO turn up, when others don't? Why should people have to travel long distances only to have their competitions cancelled when there aren't enough entries for one mother's liking? The threat of having a competition cancelled would only mean that people wouldn't bother entering in case it happened (I suppose that's ultimately your preference eh). the saying is "build it and they will come" - you have to keep offering the competitions in order to boost the numbers. And how far do you want to go with this? When I danced u16 intermediate there were frequently only ever two of us competing. Me and one other person who interestingly enough was different every time. Should my competitions have been cancelled too even though I was still technically a child? Actually, in some regions (Europe), adult competitors far outnumber younger entrants. So do we cancel the two-strong u8 primary, so that the 20-odd entrants in the u35 primary don't feel bad when they don't all get trophies? Sorry, no. Nothing to do with you.
re: Adult dancers
By JenBlackerbymember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Jan 22, 2014 02:20 PM
They paid for the trophies so what does it matter? Not trying to be snarky, but business is business
re: Adult dancers
By Gracie0214
On Wed Jan 22, 2014 02:42 PM
Ultimately, 'build it and they will come' in regards to adult dancers only worked for the first dozen or so years following the debut of Riverdance. Classes were full of able-bodied, eager adults. It seems that the numbers of adult entries have dwindled in the past 3 years. My ultimate suggestion is to combine all adults in one comp, such as Traditional set. Perhaps more would enter and then they would actually place instead of being handed awards.
re: Adult dancers (karma: 1)
By DayOver30member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Jan 22, 2014 02:50 PM
I'm trying to see the perspective from which the original poster is writing this. Gracie0214, are you an adult dancer? Because I am, and I will admit that most of the time, I hate being in the adult category for reasons you mentioned as doing away with it. Low numbers, a feeling of unearned medals...and at many of the feisanna I attend, the adult prizewinners, novice/prizewinners, or intermediates, however the highest adult category is labeled, don't even get trophies like the prizewinner kids do. The best I can hope to get is the same medal that the beginners get. I wish the adult competition was just another age group, like in road races, and I wouldn't mind if the age groups could be combined if there are less than 5 dancers.

Would I like to drop down? Yes. But I have heard stories of parents who don't like adults dancing against teens, teachers who won't let adults drop down, and schools that offer limited (if any) class options for adult dancers. I really like my current school, but what happens when/if I move to another area? Also, work has caused me to miss more practice time than I would like, and concerns about dress costs have kept me from asking about dropping down yet. Even though I can keep up with the kids in my class, should some of my competitors who are my mom's age be forced to dance alongside the teens, or not dance at all? What about the adult dancers whose teachers won't let them drop down? They shouldn't be forced to stop competing just because there are not enough other adults interested.
re: Adult dancers
By DayOver30member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Jan 22, 2014 02:59 PM
Sorry, my comment posted before Gracie0214's response did. To comment on her suggestion...I am guessing that the traditional set idea probably stems from being from an area where there were several adults competing in traditional set at Oireachtas (I live in a region where an 8-hand is the only Oireachtas option for adults, though). I think it is probably the excitement of dancing at Oireachtas, not something particular about traditional set dances, that caused many adults to sign up.

We rarely work on traditional set dances in class, so I personally would not like that idea, and I think it would actually lead to fewer adults competing at local feisanna.
re: Adult dancers (karma: 1)
By Kirvin3member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Jan 22, 2014 04:14 PM
I am an adult dancer. I have been at feiseanna where I was the ONLY dancer. Yes, I turned down the medals (well, I took one for the dance I thought I did very well in). Our trophy's (IF we get them) are not like the kids.

I work a full time job, have an hour long commute and a two year old. I only have one class a week and no opportunity for private lessons - I lost my spot while pregnant and there haven't been any more openings. I like to compete. I don't want to compete against someone at their first feis when I've been competing for 9 years, adult or not.

If anything more adults should be encouraged to compete than get rid of competitions for us. As an above poster said, we don't say the same for kids (we don't combine open/prizewinners with beginners for them). We've fought to get feiesseanna open to us and don't want to backslide! There were SIXTY adult competitors at the Mid-Atlantic Oireachtas for traditional sets, but I sure don't want to be stuck ONLY competing in traditional sets forever either.
re: Adult dancers
By highlanddncr
On Wed Jan 22, 2014 04:18 PM
Edited by highlanddncr (80397) on 2014-01-22 16:25:07 added stuff
I am guessing Gracie that you are not an adult dancer....and how on earth is it fair for adults to be able to do one dance at a feis? There have already been some great replies stating that adults would love more people to sign up too and that trophies/medals earned with few competitors mean little to us. Another point I think you need to consider is that adults are not moving up with these under 5 competitor "victories". It can be really frustrating waiting for the higher number of competitors so that you can move up in a dance.

If this is not directly impacting you, I think you need to worry about your own dancing and not about adult competitions. If it is directly impacting you, I'm sure we'd all like to know how so we understand where you are coming from. I can assure you most adults are working just as hard as child dancers.

Edit- after looking back at Gracie's 12 posts she has done it appears she is an adult dancer...or at least has posted as one on another thread. Not sure what is going on because the other post references a feis and wanting there to be enough competitors but this post is def. written as someone who is not an adult dancer and doesn't seem to think adults should compete. Confusing...
re: Adult dancers
By Oboemeg
On Wed Jan 22, 2014 04:59 PM
I think a lot of people share your frustration with adult comps; unearned medals, small size, etc. but that doesn't necessarily mean adult competitions shouldn't exist. Hypothetically, should we also eliminate U16 novice when there are only 2 kids? Does the child that wins a small competition not deserve to win? It seems like adults are still in flux, with adult trad opportunities at some Oireachtas but still inconsistent attitudes. It took time to get where we are, so let's not throw away the opportunities we have because they aren't perfect.
re: Adult dancers
By hannicamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Jan 22, 2014 07:11 PM
I am an adult dancer who just started to dance in feisanna. An older girl who started the same time as me did really well. We both practice hard and both attend the same classes. At the feis she had no competitions under 5 people. My lowest was 3 and highest was 4. I was happy just not to compete against myself, because how do you know if you danced well or not when your by yourself?

We both placed well in our favorite dances and came away with medals. Its truly not my fault that I started late (I didn't start because of river dance) or that there are so few of us. Also I don't think you get a medal for dancing by yourself as another adult in a different category didn't get a medal for doing so. I would rather a silver medal out of 7 to 10 dancers than my gold out of 3. But there are just not enough people in my category.

Really the only ones who have a right to complain are the adults themselves. But we are not a furiously competitive crowd. My mum is more competitive than me and she's just in the audience. We just go to show off to the others and meet up and talk. If more parents would dance and compete with us then maybe we would have numbers like the children.
re: Adult dancers (karma: 1)
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Jan 23, 2014 02:31 AM
Combine all adults into one competition as in combine beginner, novice, prizewinner? Yeah, you haven't thought this through. You'll have people dancing their first feis against people who could be holding their own in the andovers prelim or open champs, if only their teacher would let them drop down. So in fact you'd get fewer entries rather than more - the people who win all the time wouldn't see the challenge and would think what's the point, and the people who were just starting out would think well I'm only going to place last, I don't see the point. So competitions are therefore eliminated. Which is the same effect as cancelling separate competitions if not enough turn up.

Medals are pennies. Plastic trophies are pennies. I really don't see why it matters - they're bringing money into the feis so leave them to it. And if you are "one of them" as others said you seem to be, then why do you want to eliminate your own chance of competing? If you personally don't want to compete, then don't enter your person into a feis. Extend others the courtesy of making their own decision.
re: Adult dancers
By seannettaPremium member
On Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:13 AM
I always think adults who compete are pretty brave trailblazers. It can be more nervewracking to compete as an adult, as I've noticed adults can be pretty self-conscious, especially at the beginner stage. Those who do get up on stage, *especially* if there are only one or two, should be celebrated. And if they're treated with respect and as if they are a legitimate (and not secondary) part of the feis experience, then I can pretty much guarantee more adults will eventually sign up -- but it takes time.

Although there was indeed an influx of dancers when the Riverdance phenomenon first hit, I have found attendance in the adult classes I teach to be very steady over the years. There is always a core interest in ID from all ages, even with normal ebb and flow. And finding opportunities for those core adults, such as competing, gives them something to work toward.

Simply dropping into adults into &Overs is not the best solution. I just went through 3 years of competing as an adult in Highland, starting right in beginner. There were times when I had to compete against 8-year-olds, and it was awful. (Highland has lower numbers of competitors, so age groups are frequently lumped together). Even against teens (I am almost 35), our bodies and abilities were so different that a judge once told me she had difficulty evaluating a competition with large age gaps. Adult competitions make sense, and they are not a burden on the committee putting on the day's feis, so why not have them? It is indeed a "build it and they will come" situation, as others have mentioned. Make the atmosphere comfortable, and you'll get more adults and more income for your feis. It just takes time to change attitudes around stuff like that, and people are unfortunately impatient.

In the meantime, who cares if an adult gets a trophy or a medal or whatever? Who is it hurting exactly? The adult dancer will know how he/she did in that competition based on feedback from teacher and judge and his/her own assessment, and that is what matters.
re: Adult dancers (karma: 1)
By tinydancer1988
On Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:13 PM
Edited by tinydancer1988 (262376) on 2014-01-23 12:14:59
Gracie0214 wrote:

It seems so wrong to me to watch kids dance their hearts out to win medals in grades, and then adults dance alone on stage and 'win' trophies.


You think that these adults who sacrifice to go to class, bust their asses at home (around 40+ hour work weeks, kids, relationships, pta meetings, and everything else) aren't dancing their hearts out???

Seriously? These are some of the hardest working dancers out there!!! I have NEVER seen an adult Irish dancer who is too busy goofing off in class to learn anything, messes around, disrespects the teacher, and is just generally disruptive because they don't want to be there. I have NEVER seen that.

However, I have seen plenty of kids who are in this situation because over-zealous parents keep them in a sport that they aren't interested in, and live vicariously through their wins in competitions. Which the kids don't care about.

I'm not by any means saying that this is how all kids are- plenty of them work their little tushies off, try hard, take pride in their sport, and are wonderful competitors.
But every adult is a great competitor. Every. Single. One of them. Do not ever try to deny them the right to compete, just because they are in a minority.

Many of them are great dancers and actually would "earn" their medals and trophies if there were enough competitors. But every single one of them EARNS their placement through the sacrifices that they make to be a part of this wonderful community.

Go adult dancers. You guys are freaking awesome.
re: Adult dancers
By Gracie0214
On Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:28 PM
I was not trying to fire up tempers. I was just suggesting that adult participation, from what I have personally seen, has dimished to the point of having 1 - 2 participants in each category. At the 2013 SRO, there was an adult category for Traditional Set and people seemed to be pleased with this option. I was only suggesting that it might work at feis, also. No one is going to stop adults from competing, so relax. But to answer 'Who does it hurt?' IMO it hurts the 10 yr old (just an example) girls who compete against a dozen dancers and cry when they don't place; and there you have an adult parading around with a trophy when she only competed against herself. Each of us on this msg board is entitled to our own opinion. Thanks for playing.
re: Adult dancers
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:38 PM
No-one's in a temper. You're just being pretty unanimously disagreed with - that doesn't make us a baying mob. We're entitled to our opinion, as you said but don't seem to get.

I've never seen anyone but a kid "parading" around a feis. Adults do their thing and leave - kids wear their sashes all weekend. Ten year olds aren't crying about adults getting a flimsy bit of plastic and they're not crying over a fellow ten year old wearing a sash either. If you asked them why they were crying, I'd be amazed if they said it was because an adult got a trophy. HUNDREDS of people get trophies every feis. Blaming everything on adults seems to be needlessly provocative.
re: Adult dancers
By RinceorNosretep
On Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:46 PM
Traditional set IS one of the competitions at regular feiseanna, at least around here (Western US Region), just like the kids. Along with reel, light jig, single jig, slip jig, treble jig, and hornpipe. If you're lucky there MIGHT be some Adult specials, but those are rare.

Perhaps the child that didn't win against a dozen people should look inward and ask herself what she can do differently for next time. Did she practice as much as she could have? Did she do quality practices? Does she work hard in class or waste the time goofing off? If she practiced, drilled those trouble spots, and worked hard in class, then perhaps the judge that day simply didn't like her style; continue working hard and try again next time. This is way more constructive than saying "Waa, poor me I didn't win, look at these people flaunting shiny trophies I didn't get."

Everyone has their own setbacks and hardships. Children may have it hard because they have some really good dancers in their age group that always win. Adults may have it hard because they have barely any competitors, and are unable to move up because of 5+ dancers rulings. Apples and oranges. And saying that adults are parading around with trophies is really condescending, IMO. What about the kids parading around in sashes?
re: Adult dancers
By sarahrID
On Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:52 PM
As an adult dancer who competes, I can say that no adult is happy to get a medal or trophy when there are no other competitors. I've had to dance by myself at a feis before (and will do so again this weekend because no one else signed up for the novice adult slip jig). While I enjoy dancing for the judge and love receiving comments (when there's no one else to watch, the judge almost always takes the time to write a comment or two), I'd much rather have a robust competition against other dancers.

And I don't think anyone is losing their temper here. However, to suggest that adults parade around with their trophies and hurt the feelings of a 10 year old is verging toward the insulting. As many others here have said, adults work just as hard at dancing as the kids do (and given the struggles of balancing dance with other life responsibilities, I'd suggest that some adults work even harder than many kids). We paid to compete, we worked hard to be there, and we deserve the same treatment as any other dancer at the feis. As others have pointed out, there are other age groups with very few dancers, and the winner of those age groups still receive medals/trophies. Whether I win a trophy or medal in my competition against other adults has absolutely no effect on other competitions at the feis.

And finally, if a child is crying because he or she did not win a trophy but someone else in another age group or competition did, my suggestion would not be to eliminate that other competition. Instead, it's an opportunity to work on teaching the child how to be a good and gracious competitor, whether he or she wins or loses. It is an important and valuable lesson, and this is one of the main reasons so many parents steer their children into sports and dancing.
re: Adult dancers (karma: 1)
By GannTheGloriousmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Jan 23, 2014 02:12 PM
sarahrID wrote:


And finally, if a child is crying because he or she did not win a trophy but someone else in another age group or competition did, my suggestion would not be to eliminate that other competition. Instead, it's an opportunity to work on teaching the child how to be a good and gracious competitor, whether he or she wins or loses. It is an important and valuable lesson, and this is one of the main reasons so many parents steer their children into sports and dancing.


^^^ This!

If a kid is crying because they didn't win something, it's not the problem of someone who did, whether the other person won against 0 or 100 other competitors. Kids should learn that it's OK to be disappointed if you lose, but it's not the end of the world.

Also, yeah, I haven't seen adults parading around with awards either. The adult dancers I know usually just pick up their medals, stuff 'em in their bag, and then go home. Or, if it's me, go to the bar.
re: Adult dancers
By Joyette78
On Thu Jan 23, 2014 03:12 PM
Gracie0214 wrote:

At the 2013 SRO, there was an adult category for Traditional Set and people seemed to be pleased with this option. I was only suggesting that it might work at feis, also...


We were excited about this because it was the FIRST time we could compete as a soloist at Oireachtas. It's the ONLY way we can compete as a soloist at a higher level.
re: Adult dancers
By Hop_123member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Jan 23, 2014 03:12 PM
I don't get your statement "IMO it hurts the 10 yr old (just an example) girls who compete against a dozen dancers and cry when they don't place; and there you have an adult parading around with a trophy when she only competed against herself"

If a 10 year old is getting upset that they didn't win and someone else did, then why not stop OC's from getting their trophies? Don't want to make the littles feel bad, you know! I honestly don't think a child dancing has a clue how many dancers an adult is competing against, or even cares. They are upset because they didn't place in their competition. Said same 10 year old would still be crying when they didn't place, whether that feiseanna had adult comps or not.
re: Adult dancers (karma: 7)
By Nyssasisticmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Jan 23, 2014 03:51 PM
Gracie0214 wrote:

IMO it hurts the 10 yr old (just an example) girls who compete against a dozen dancers and cry when they don't place; and there you have an adult parading around with a trophy when she only competed against herself.


In that case, let's not allow the boys to compete at our Oireachtasi- many of them are practically HANDED the title of world and national qualifier while girls in the exact same age group tend to have a much harder time.

Yep, let's eliminate ANYONE who seems to do better than others because their competition/circumstances are different.

If you're going to get snarky and pull the "everyone's entitled to their own opinion", I will kindly point out that, while you are entitled to your own opinion, I am MORE than entitled to tell you exactly why your opinion is ill-informed, ill-thought out, and just plain wrong.

I've never danced in an adult competition. I have absolutely NO real investment in retaining adult dancers as our school has very few adult (as in dance in adult competitions) dancers.
However, to watch as a group of dancers are ostracized by the ENTIRE Irish dance community like adults are really upsets me.

Adult dancers have had to fight for their right to dance the same dances their younger counterparts do (slow hornpipe and slow jig were BANNED from adult competition for years)

Adult dancers were almost forced to wear black tights in competition, regardless of whether they wanted to or not.

Adult dancers have been forced to dance in beginner I/II categories and Novice/Prizewinner categories, because they are SUCH a low priority that feises don't care to give them proper competitive categories.

Adult dancers are barred from competing in Championships unless they "drop down" to the &Over category, for which they are CONSTANTLY heckled by people that don't want them competing against their own children.

And you're worried about a 10 year old that could probably afford to practice more feeling bad that she wasn't handed a medal?

Adult dancers often have to BATTLE to make it to class and continue to progress. They have jobs, children, marriages, social lives, etc to contend with and because dance isn't an absolute necessity, many of them have to really sacrifice to make it to the same class that 10 year old is chauffeured to.
The blood, sweat, and tears may not be visible on the competition stage, but I will tell you without an ounce of doubt that the adult competitors deserve their medals as much, if not more, than the darling 10 year old does, regardless of whether they're the only one in their competition or not.

I'm entitled to my opinion, and it is that you have NO clue what an adult dancer deals with, and that's before catty dance moms decide to weigh in on what is best for them.
re: Adult dancers
By highlanddncr
On Thu Jan 23, 2014 04:01 PM
Gracie- are you an adult dancer? From your number of posts it seems you are a new member here. One of your previous posts seemed to indicate that you were an adult dancer. Just curious. Either way, this post doesn't match the other post so are there two people posting from your account?
re: Adult dancers (karma: 3)
By DerryDancer
On Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:05 PM
Gracie I have danced long enough that I can remember when there were 10 to 15 adults in a competition. I can remember when, if we were in prizewinner, we were required by the rules to do slow speed hardshoe. The reason why there are so few adults in competitions has a lot to do with eliminating the slow speeds. There was very little challenge for adults who wanted to push themselves and go further. Adults who could dropped down to "and overs". Then there were dancers like me. We can't pass for teenagers like some of my fellow dancers. We really don't want to. I would look ridiculous in a wig and a blinged out dress. I am comfortable in my own style. And I don't want to compete with kids who could be my grandkids. But I still want to dance and compete. And yes there have been small competitions and sometimes a trophy comes my way, usually at a feis that appreciates me as an adult. But one thing had remained and it is my love of irish dance and my desire to dance. With the return of slow speeds, I think you will see more adults return to competitions so don't count us out yet. I really don't think you feel that way. I think you had a bad feis and didn't get a trophy even though you worked really hard, and looked over and saw some adult who did get one. Don't begrudge us a little recognition when we get it, if nothing else for having the courage to get up and give it a try.
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