Forum: Irish / Irish

Reevaluating my dancing but mostly a rant/vent.
By Lunamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:20 PM

So at my first feis back in over a year I go and break my foot, again.

I’m trying to stay positive and hopeful but I’m just very frustrated that when ever I actually start to progress again in dance I get injured or life gets in the way. I’m a super senior lady and I’ve had A LOT of life happen that has made me put a pause on my dancing on and off for the last 9 years or so (various injuries, college, marriage, a baby). I guess I just feel like I’ve been constantly trying to get back to where I was when I was a teenager and it’s like I’m trying to row furiously up a strong current and it’s pushing me further and further from my goals no matter how hard I row and try to move forward.

My goal ever since I had my baby 6 months ago was to get back into shape and compete solos at this year’s Oireachtas in Phoenix. I haven’t been able to dance solos at the Oireachtas since 2006 so I’ve been so excited to finally reach a point where I felt like I could compete at that level again but now all that is gone. By the time this injury heals I won’t really have enough time to physically prepare to compete and do decently and I don’t want to spend the money to go to the O’s if I’m just going to get last place and look ridiculous up against the more accomplished dancers in my competition.

At my age it is a constant battle against my brain and my body. In my head I feel like that I can do and be as good as the rest of the champs in my school but my body just won’t let me since I physically just can’t do all the things I used to (as much as I wished I could). It’s takes twice as long to gain stamina and even just to learn steps since I can’t go to class more than once a week. I have a life now, a wonderful life, but since I have a baby and a family to take care of my time is limited which makes it harder to practice and get into shape.

I even had a new solo dress made, which is almost done, and now I won’t be able to wear it. My husband said I could sell it but I have been dreaming and planning and designing this dress for the past 5 years and it would break my heart to have to get rid of it but what’s the point if I won’t be able to wear the dress?

Should I just retire? Maybe this injury is the universe telling me to just stop and give up on my passion. I’m a grown adult woman now and shouldn’t be desperately trying to become a champion dancer in my spare time when I have so many more important things to concentrate on now. My husband even thinks I’m crazy to continue dancing especially since I keep getting injured (he worries about me). Maybe I should just take a break for 5 years and come back as an adult dancer even though it’s not as challenging as champs.

I think I’ve just felt that if I stuck around in Irish dancing long enough I’ll finally reach my goals and achieve what I couldn’t when I was a teenager. I feel like I have unfinished business in the Irish dancing world just like a ghost who is forever haunting their old home.
I just want to place a couple times in Prelims and do decently at a couple of Oireachtasi, is that so much to ask for? My dreams are simple and I had hoped achievable, but apparently not. I have no aspirations to be a world champion I knew that would never happen, I think the craziest goal I had was to dance solos at Nationals by either qualifying at the O’s or by being an Open champ. Now I’ve reduced it to just placing for once in Preims and dancing at the Oireachtas and not looking like a fool.

Anyways I just needed to vent a little and just share out loud the turmoil that has been rolling around inside me.

8 Replies to Reevaluating my dancing but mostly a rant/vent.

re: Reevaluating my dancing but mostly a rant/vent. (karma: 1)
By JenBlackerbymember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:32 PM
This could have been me posting. EVERYTHING about it. Except different region and I make my own dresses. Don't ever feel like you have to quit!! If you love it then do it! it'll keep the rest of your life sane. I'm on my way to class and can't write much right now, but please feel free to email me if you want to chat jen dot blackerby at gmail dot com.

Sometimes though you just need to let go of the commitment in your mind, and just "dabble" for a few months while you get your passion back. That's where I've been the past few months. Its been so hard to get back in shape after I broke my foot in October. I'm only now feeling better about dancing. And if you decide to take time off, that doesn't have to be the end. You can take a year off and come back. (I'm preaching to myself here, I try to make things WAY more complicated and black and white than they should be!)
re: Reevaluating my dancing but mostly a rant/vent. (karma: 1)
By Realtreble
On Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:46 PM
You didn't mention your doctor's or PT's opinion of your future in dancing. While having the support of a husband is invaluable, the opinions of the professionals in charge of your health should be an important factor in your decision-making.

I would be like you; completely frustrated. However, perhaps you need to take a bit of time before making a decision to retire.
You have my complete and utter admiration and respect for your commitment to dance, no matter your final decision.

Good luck.
re: Reevaluating my dancing but mostly a rant/vent. (karma: 2)
By TheMidlakeMusemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:48 PM
I hear so much of myself in your words when I'm in a dance funk. I am so sorry about your foot. Give yourself some time to mourn, because it is a loss and you are perfectly okay being upset about this. I just came back after a broken bone and its associated injury and it is HARD. My stamina is shot and I'm having to rebuild muscles I haven't been able to use since before St. Pat's. It's a long, difficult slog, but even injured I was up at the studio most dance days because I couldn't imagine NOT being part of the fun.

My biggest piece of advice is to take it slow. I'm not your doc so I can't say what you did to cause that injury--even the fittest and youngest dancers break bones sometime. But take a step back to evaluate your habits at class and make sure you're not trying to jump in with both feet (so to speak) and take it too fast. When I first started back after 4 years off, my mind remembered a lot more than my body was fit enough to do. That's frustrating, but you need to remember that as a teen, you were building up your strength, stamina and habits since beginner class. After a long time off, you need to think like a beginner (literally) and build up from there. My sister is a Prelim dancer now (also married!) and when she came back, she started in our Intermediate class doing easy steps and worked her way back up. Before she stopped as a teen, she'd never danced in Champs. She was 9 away from a recall at Oireachtas last year after being 9 from the bottom the year before.

My second piece of advice (which is related) is strengthen, strengthen, strengthen. You've changed mentally since you were a teen, and it's only natural that your body has changed too. Not good, not bad, just different. Irish dance uses such specific muscles, and I've found that if I'm ONLY dancing my entire body is out of whack. I do boot camp workouts and run in addition to dance and it has helped me be able to dance for much longer and harder where before I was in pain almost immediately. Squats, squat jumps, lunges, bunny hops, hill runs, etc. will all help strengthen the muscles throughout your leg so that you're better protected from injury and pain. I'd recommend full-body strengthening (arms and core as well) to help you get stronger overall.


I'm a grown adult woman now and shouldn't be desperately trying to become a champion dancer in my spare time when I have so many more important things to concentrate on now.

You are important. Your dreams are important because they are your dreams. You don't have to justify them to yourself with anything other than that. It's not good for your marriage or your relationship with your kid(s) for you to fold up completely into wife or mommy without taking some time for yourself, so go to the studio, work out, and do what you need to feel like yourself.

You're not alone in the oldster club. I am married, firmly in my late twenties and STILL haven't competed in a Prelim yet. I decided I just couldn't let that stand, because I decided I'd be saying "what if" for the rest of my life if I didn't go back. I am hoping to do Oireachtas this year (it's up to my teacher), but if not, I am going to keep my head high and push for next year. Somebody has to get last place, and if it's me--I'll be okay. I just need to check it off my list.

Keep pushing. You do not have unrealistic goals, you are not too old or too broken, and it isn't over until a doctor says "no more".

You are welcome to PM me anytime! My school collects senior dancers--we may have as many as 8 going to Oireachtas this year--and I wish every school had a "club" like mine.

PS - Watch this for may need tissues.

re: Reevaluating my dancing but mostly a rant/vent. (karma: 1)
By Hop_123member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Jun 25, 2014 06:27 PM
Welcome to the incredibly frustrating world of injury when you would rather be dancing. :( I am soooo sorry you broke your foot. The sign above kept me sane when I couldn't do much with my broken foot.

I hear all you say about having goals for the O, but also having more responsibilities with your family. I totally relate to your concerns about a body that is getting older, learns slower and heals slower (but we still learn! and we still heal!)

I hear your frustration on not getting to wear your solo dress. When I broke my foot this past February, I had just finished the new skirt on mine and also wondered if I was not going to ever get to wear it. (I have competed in it twice now!)

Maybe this injury is the universe telling me to just stop and give up on my passion. I'm a grown adult woman now and shouldn't be desperately trying to become a champion dancer in my spare time when I have so many more important things to concentrate on now.
There is a very telling phrase in there "my PASSION" That says to me that you are not ready to retire, that you shouldn't retire. But maybe what you need to do is revamp your goals. Feeling like you are madly swimming upstream is not going to be any fun for you.

Keep your big goals on the back burner, but just let them sit there. Work on recovering from your broken foot. Do strengthening ex while you are healing. I bought ankle weights and did a bunch of exercise every other day. Work on your core. Stretch everything. Go to class and chair dance. Walk thru your steps once you are allowed to walk on your foot. I learned 2 hornpipes while I was in the boot and worked some on turn out and cross, and when I started dancing again, it didn't take too long before they were presentable (though my stamina was AWFUL)

Then ease back into competing. Do a few feiseanna and see how it goes. Dance because you love the music, you love flying and you love pounding out the rhythms on the floor. Then set goals to reach for. Maybe it will be to place in prelims, maybe it will be to not come in last! But right now, is too early to figure that out.

And as far as only going to class once a week, I have a friend (a very driven friend) who qualified for Worlds only going to class every OTHER week. She is also a super senior lady. So you can learn the steps!

I am so sorry you have had this setback. It doesn't have to be the end if you don't really want it to be, but only you can decide what is right for you.
re: Reevaluating my dancing but mostly a rant/vent.
By LoriCook
On Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:49 PM
^glad to hear your foot is better! I know how discouraging it was for you.
We need a senior lady broken foot club!

Don't quit dancing if you love it. You could also break your foot just going for a walk. Life is risky. Heal up, take it slow, do your best and wear that new dress. Don't worry about looking foolish. Dance the best you can for as long as you can. When you are 80 you won't regret a minute of striving for your goals. You might well regret quitting without knowing how far you can go.
re: Reevaluating my dancing but mostly a rant/vent.
By Lunamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:18 PM
Thanks everybody. I really appreciate your positive comments! I feel a little better now. I get out of the walking boot in only 3 more weeks so that isn't too bad and after that I can slowly get back into dance again.
re: Reevaluating my dancing but mostly a rant/vent.
By Mariel4444
On Sun Jun 29, 2014 06:52 AM
Remember even if you don't compete for awhile there are always shows and recital!
re: Reevaluating my dancing but mostly a rant/vent.
By newdresswanted
On Mon Jun 30, 2014 05:20 AM
I have been in a similar situation (minus the baby) and have had many injuries. I am now at the point where I have corrected the issues that were causing me to hurt myself so fingers crossed I will have no more injuries.
I would recommend having your bio mechanics assessed by a PT or podiatrist to see whether you have specific issues that could be addressed or if you have just been really lucky. Generally injuries don't just happen out of the blue for no reason.

And you are lucky getting out of the book so soon. I had mine for 3 months.....and another 2 months before I could consider dancing again.


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