Forum: Irish / Irish

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re: Adult dancers (karma: 4)
By boleyngrrl
On Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:50 PM
I have never danced as an adult dancer. Senior lady, but not in an "Adult" category.

Now that's said, I want to tell you about the first time I saw an adult comp. I must have been like 5 or 6, still pretty new to competitive dancing. I saw women my mom's age, there must have been 7 or 8 of them at the time, all in their black tights and black dresses with mesh sleeves. I remember seeing them dance and just being transfixed. It wasn't anything particularly jaw-dropping, I just loved watching them. They all showed so much passion and looked like they were enjoying dancing. I looked at them and the only thing I could think is, "Man, I hope I'm like them one day!" I didn't understand the level. I didn't understand that they were their own competition. I saw people who loved dancing doing a pretty darn good job of it.

Fast forward (many) years to when I was in PW in the &overs. It wasn't my first year there, or my second, but I was complaining about how tough it was now that there were so many girls younger and better than me in our comp. That was the day an adult dropped down into the comp--she danced beautifully and ended up taking a few dances, and medalling in a few others. That inspired me and got me off my butt and to start working harder because if she could do it with a life, kids, job, and who knows what else, why should I sit there complaining because I had some intense algebra homework that night?

Now that I'm in OC I have the privilege of knowing quite a few adult dancers that have dropped down and kicked butt all the way into OC. These dancers are really inspiring--a few of them even have kids that compete.

You know what I think? They're freaking inspiring. Seeing adults compete when I was a kid told me that people of all ages dance. I can't put into words why, but seeing them dance and how happy they looked, even in comps of one or two, always made me feel like dance wasn't just a phase.

Now that I'm older and understand more I've seen adults as they fight with insensitive TCs who won't let them drop down even though they've got the requirements. I've seen adults drop down and whip through levels and become podium placers in OC. I've seen adults worrying about whether or not feiseanna are going to have enough dancers in their level to count. I've seen adults place out of PW and then go through the same struggles in PC everyone else goes through.

Long story short, dancers are dancers. Everyone has their challenges. Adults definitely have to fight more, and I think feiseanna should definitely host more adult comps so maybe more will enter. A lot stop because of the constant fight to compete and advance. The answer is most definitely NOT to stop hosting the comps. Adults are a valued part of dance, and I don't think as many kids are upset about them as you think.
re: Adult dancers
By tinydancer1988
On Fri Jan 24, 2014 07:29 AM
If anything, I think that perhaps they should split some more of the kids competitions. As a kid, I never got upset or jealous that someone placed in a different competition- I just found it frustrating that (at the height of the Riverdance renaissance)there were 60-70 kids in my competition at times. I worked my butt off, and I still couldn't get anywhere for a long time because there were just too many darn kids, and there was only 1 first place. (or, if I didn't work my butt off, I knew that I didn't, and it made me want to work harder. Or, on some occasions, my mom had to tell me to buck up and just work harder if I was having a bad day and was being a pouty kid.)

But never at any point did I look at the adult category and go "that's not fair. They get trophies and I don't". And if I did, I think one of my parents would have swatted me in the bum, because that's seriously unsportsman-like, and that is NOT the way that we were taught to behave. That sort of sentiment was not "OK" in my dance school, or my family, and would not be tolerated.

And just to let you know, yes, this is a topic that people are going to get heated about. And, no, not many (if any people) are going to be on your side. If you don't want people disagreeing with you, and showing how passionate they are about a topic, posting something as controversial as this post will be difficult.
re: Adult dancers
By irishstep
On Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:36 AM
I read your comments and I am an adult competitor and I agree with most of what has been said on behalf of the other adult dancers. We take pleasure in dancing, competing and receiving some feedback on our dancing. To me, the trophy is unnecessary. I don't need the trophy, would almost prefer and a medal for easy storage. Im sorry your 10 year old gets upset when she doesn't place, but maybe you should encourage her to practice more.
re: Adult dancers
By Kirvin3member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Jan 24, 2014 01:56 PM
Having read some of your past posts, I gather you ARE an adult dancer. Rather than suggesting we eliminate many of the competitions we have worked so hard to get into feiseanna, I would suggest you look to other areas in which to feis, if you can.

I gather you're somewhere in the south, as the feiseanna you've asked about were New Orleans, Tennessee and Atlanta. Try going a bit more north. I haven't been to Celtic Fling in Mount Hope, PA in a few years. The last time I was there I was almost 4 months pregnant, since then it's a bit too far to travel with a little kid and my husband couldn't get out of work to join me. That said, they only had 2 levels for adults - beginners and novice/PW, however there were almost always *at least* a dozen dancers there in each level! Last time we had 2 rows of adults lined up for several dances. Feiseanna in Maryland also usually have a lot of adults as several of the schools, including the Caulkins and O'Connor Schools, have adult classes.

As to adults "parading around" with their trophies and medals, again, why does it have to be different for adults and kids? Yes, I absolutely admit, the first time I got a trophy when I got to O/PW, I squeed like a little girl and jumped around. I had pictures taken with my trophy. I've walked around with multiple medals (of all types) around my neck after I'm done because it's easier than putting all my stuff down at the end of the day so I can open my bag and put them in, and because, yeah, I'm darn proud of dancing well enough to earn them, especially when there ARE enough competitors that I did truly earn them.
re: Adult dancers
By irishstep
On Fri Jan 24, 2014 02:33 PM
I really enjoyed reading your comments. I am adult dancer now but when I was in high school, I was a national and world qualifier. I absolutely love Irish dancing. It makes me smile and keeps me happy. I have a husband struggling with acute luekemia and going to dance class is my escape, practicing 4 times a week is my escape. And having a competition coming up is always motivating.

Unfortunately I struggle with constant injuries, bunions, bone spurs, etc., but I carry on despite the pain. And all for the reasons you mentioned in your post. I LOVE IRISH STEP DANCING!!!!! I hope more adults come to ISD. I am in CT and we have about 40 adults in our class.

I love Irish SET dancing too.
re: Adult dancers (karma: 2)
By bigTreblemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Jan 24, 2014 03:38 PM
Why are you up in arms about adult competitions but not about boys competitions? They often only have a handful of competitors. Should we just make this an all girls sport, maybe let the boys have a traditional set or something?


Here's the thing. Just because there was only one competitor in a competition does NOT mean that he or she danced poorly.They could have been phenomenal. They could have still been placed first if there were 50 in the competition. So don't assume just because they are the only one, that they aren't any good.
re: Adult dancers
By PogMoGilliesmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jan 26, 2014 07:00 AM
Adults pay for their dance classes. They pay for competition entry fees. Many pay "family entrance fees" to get only themselves into a feis. They pay for their costumes, shoes, tights or socks, and their (gasp!) wigs.

They already have to live with being treated like second class citizens in the Irish Dance world (at least, in the CLRG world). Don't make it harder for them.

When I was an adult competitor, I had to go through feisanna where I was told by the stage manager that we didn't need to check in, or be counted off for our competitions, because "you know what you're doing." That was my 3rd competition. I would have still liked to have had help to make sure I was in the right place. I had competitions where the stage help left, because Adults were after the champion dances, and had to check myself in, and dance. I've been to competitions where Adults danced on a completely different day- a plus in some ways, but awfully lonely to dance for just a judge and maybe 2 audience members. Venders weren't there, the rest of the venue was dark, it was like we were a shameful secret.

You suggest limiting adults to dancing in only a trad set. Oh gee, can I please pay $35-$50 to dance one dance, that I learned three levels ago? Do you think that would fly if they tried that for kids?

I've seen feisanna where there was only one twelve-year-old in the beginner two dances. Why don't we tell her that she can't dance.


I was lucky to dance in a region where there were enough dancers that other than one or two random feisanna, I had enough dancers in my competition to place. I worked my tail off until I won all of my dances in Prizewinner and then dropped down, so that I could continue to challenge myself competitively.

Now, there are still times when the 15 and over category don't have enough dancers to count. And you know what? Getting a medal or trophy for placing 4th out of 4 dancers doesn't make you "flaunt" that medal.
re: Adult dancers
By chevrechevalmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Jan 29, 2014 08:12 AM
Fear not, Gracie0214. There are others who agree with you. The school who runs the Memphis Feis, for example. They do not allow Adult level competitions. May I suggest that you attend? There will be no Adult competitions at all.

As an Adult dancer, of course I disagree with you. More than once, I have danced alone. Did I ever win a trophy doing so? No. Did I still dance my heart out? Yes. The highest level of dance an Adult dancer can achieve is Prizewinner. I know Adult dancers who have been trying to level up through the legal feis method for more than a year. They are often unable to do so, because of low numbers.

To all those who have responded in support and defense of Adult dancers, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Adult dancers, when you dance your best, people are going to criticize you. Dance your best anyway.
re: Adult dancers
By Cinnawiz
On Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:57 AM
Adults flaunt their medals/trohpies? I'll have you know that I am indeed an adult dancer and I have NEVER, not even ONCE, even put a medal around my neck and I've been competing over 10 years! I collect it gracefully and take it back to my "camp" and put it in my bag. That's it. In fact, that's how ANY adult that I've ever seen collects their prize.

Adults make 10 year olds cry because they won and the 10 year old didnt? Perhaps that 10 year old should start practicing and paying attention in class. Not everyone wins all the time! Judges have their preferences to styles and each and every dancer has their own style, regardless of the steps being taught to the school.


Adults have been given the short end of the stick for many years. If you don't want to see adults compete, take a trip up to Eastern Canada who eliminated all of their adult levels!

You can't possibly come in here and start a post with "stepping on toes" and not expect some heat. Name one other age group that gets forced to compete with dancers of a different level at a feis - not a nationals, just a regular feis. It never happens and never will. They just combine ages to get the numbers, never levels. I've actually started competing more out of my region than in it because I do not believe it fair to dance against dancers not in my level. So do you really think it would be fair for a first timer to dance against someone who's been dancing for 10 or more years??

While you are entitiled to your opinion - so are we. And the majority of the adult dancers will disagree with you. And find your opinion a bit insulting.
re: Adult dancers
By JenBlackerbymember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:06 AM
aside from whats already been said, taking awards away from adults, taking their competitions away isn't going to change ANYTHING for anyone else. Maybe the feis would run a few minutes faster. And fewer entry fees for the organization hosting. The 10 yr old isn't going to get a trophy because the adults didn't dance. Its not like they don't order enough trophies and have to decide who gets one and who doesn't.
re: Adult dancers
By irishstep
On Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:40 AM
If the feis ever ran out of awards and it meant that children wouldn't get their trophy but that I would get mine. I would gladly give up the trophy. Adults aren't necessary in it for the trophy. The competition provides a nice platform for us and it encourages us to practice and do better.
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