Tanning Your Legs For A Feis: Too Much?

Article featured in Diddlyi Magazine.
10.18.11

Obviously, it isn’t something young Irish dancers need to think about, but for those of us who are at least 15 years or older, the subject of tanning your legs for a Feis is going to come up. I confess, I’ve been dancing for 8 years and I’ve never tanned my legs. I’ve seen other dancers whose legs seemed unnaturally dark at feiseanna, but I didn’t even think about doing it myself until Tony Comerford, a judge at the Pikes Peak Feis mentioned it to me. When I purchased my competition results, under Tony’s comments I read only two words followed by a question mark: “Tan legs?”

The comment made me laugh and I decided to ignore it. Of all the things he could say about my performance, he had to mention my white legs? I admit, I am the type of person who has very fair skin, but don’t a lot of Irish people have naturally fair skin? I put off doing anything about it and for a long time and my school never talked about the idea of tanning legs anyway. Then about a year ago, both Tina Shelley & Jo Lambert began insisting that all championship Shelley School dancers with light skin MUST tan their legs for competition. Since then I’ve been wearing black tights with my solo dress since I just couldn’t bring myself to use lotion to unnaturally tan my legs. In fact it made me question why people in general have decided white skin is so unattractive. I’ve always liked my fair skin, I think it’s beautiful.

Recently however, I’ve grown tired of always wearing tights and I’ve decided to start wearing poodle socks again. This means I have to decide whether I’m going to artificially tan my legs or simply hope the judges don’t care that my legs are shockingly white in contrast to the other dancers. Also, if I get on stage without tanner, I’m going to have to deal with two very annoyed TCRG’s.

I’ve decided to finally do it. I’m going to put tanner on my legs for the Oireachtas next month. Personally, I think it’s ridiculous, but I’m going to do it because I don’t want to give the judges any excuse not to place me. If I don’t recall, I want to be sure it was because I didn’t dance well enough, NOT because my legs are too white for the judge’s taste.

What do you think of my decision? Do you think tanning your legs for a Feis is going too far?

Article written by Shelly Allen
Photo by Shelly Allen Photography

TAGS: irish, dance, extreme, style, fashion, tanner, lotion, tanning, legs, orange, feis, oireachtas, competition, sock, glue, poodle, socks, color, white, too, much, far, shelly, school, utah, hathaway, shelly, feisieanna, feis, judge, judicator, tan, fake, pale

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