The Western US Region Oireachtas 2010

Article featured in Diddlyi Magazine.
11.29.10

I just got back from a fantastic weekend at The Western US Region Oireachtas in Sacramento, California! I arrived on Thursday and enjoyed some free time exploring San Francisco with some friends. I’d never been there and was able to see some really beautiful sights, browse through a few shops, and even try some amazing food in China Town.

I spent the next few days watching my friends from The Shelley School compete in their competitions and trying to run through my dances as much as possible to get ready. It’s always difficult to know whether it’s better to push yourself hard right before a competition, or take it easy to save your strength. In the past I’ve had more personal success in competitions when I pushed hard a week before and then took it easy a few days before, so that’s what I did this time.

After two days of waiting and watching other Shelley dancers compete, it was finally my turn. That’s when I began to get nervous. I set a goal for myself after the 2009 Oireachtas to do my best to recall this year. In 2009 I’d missed the recall by ten girls, so I decided to work hard and do everything I could to get a call back the next time around.

I’ve found it never helps to set personal goals that you can’t complete on your own. For example, I did not set a goal for myself to get a recall. I set a goal to do my very BEST to get a recall. I have no control over what scores the judges decide to give me. However I DO have control over how hard I work to convince them I deserve a recall.

So with this goal in mind, I went on stage and danced my very best. I made sure I smiled the entire time, kicked as high as possible, and gave every effort to perform both dances with all the knowledge I’d received in my 7 1/2 years of Irish dance.

Literally the moment I finished my soft shoe I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I’d achieved my goal! Even though I did not know yet if I would receive a recall, I had without a doubt given my very best effort and done everything in my power to get it. As I took off my shoes I couldn’t stop smiling. I’d accomplished a goal I’d been working on for a whole year and knew it didn’t matter what the judges decided. I’d done my very best and it felt great!

About an hour later they finally read the recall list for my competition. When I heard my number called out I was so excited I could hardly contain myself! It was completely unreal as I rushed on stage to dance my Set Dance and later on received 19th place in the whole Western Region!

Every Irish dancer should remember it’s important to make realistic goals and recognize your own improvement. Perhaps to some, getting a recall at an Oireachtas isn’t a big deal, but for me it was a grand achievement and gave me a huge amount of confidence in my ability to dance and compete.

What goals have you set for yourself as an Irish dancer?

Article written by Shelly Allen
Photo by Shelly Allen Photography

TAGS: 2010, western, region, US, oireachtas, competition, feis, irish, dance, ireland

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