Competing A Set Dance That Fits You

Article featured in Diddlyi Magazine.
03.03.10

We’re learning a new set dance at The Shelley School. The Four Masters has a few new moves in it that I’ve never tried, but after practicing them a little, I am now able to dance the whole first step on the right foot. I really like how the dance feels. I can feel the rhythm easily and the moves convey my personal strong points as an Irish dancer.

The funny thing is, a few months ago I requested to learn The Drunken Gager. Tina Shelley said she’d love to teach it to me and plans to start showing me the steps very soon. But now that I’ve started learning The Four Masters and can tell the dance fits me well, I have a difficult choice to make. If I find that the steps to The Drunken Gager fit my abilities better, then I’ll gladly compete it. If in the end however, The Four Masters feels much more natural to me, I’ll be using that set dance at my next Feis.

I’ve made the mistake in the past of selecting a dance with steps that are far more challenging for me to compete. The moves emphasized elements of Irish dance that are not my strong points. I ended up feeling tired, constantly frustrated that my body didn’t move how I wanted it to, and just plain didn’t have as much fun overall.

This does not mean that I stay away from steps that are more difficult, it just means when it comes to competing at a feis, it’s always best to perform a dance that works well for you. It’s easy to tell when a dance fits you because you’ll simply have a fun time while dancing it. That’s how I feel about The Four Masters so far, but at the same time I’m also excited to find out if The Drunken Gager will fit me even better.

Article written by Shelly Allen
Photo by Shelly Allen Photography

TAGS: set, dance, irish, comfortable, judge, competition, dancing, fits, Ireland

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