The Dark Side Of Irish Dance



We live in a strange world where a photo of a little girl glaring at another girl is controversial.

I posted a really funny photo this morning on my Irish Dance Facebook page of 2 little girls glaring at another little girl who won 1st place at a recent oireachtas. I added the caption:

"Jealousy: if you win 1st place, not everyone's going to like it."

Minutes later, many people (I assume the majority of them were mothers) started throwing a hissy fit because I posted this photo.

First of all, why in the world would anyone take a photo and a funny caption so seriously? I don't know if the glares on those little girl's faces were genuine, but the caption along with the photo was very humorous. Also, I can't believe just how oblivious so many people are that a lot of Irish dancers act like snobs to each other, especially at a feis.

Believing that young girls cannot possibly be guilty of snobby behaviour is completely naive. All I did was post a photo of 2 little girls glaring and immediately people started demanding I take the photo down. I took the photo down to put an end to the dramatics, but I don't regret posting it because it's the truth. And it's funny because it's the truth. Irish dancers are jealous of each other, mean to each other and look at each other with disdain all the time. Believe me, I don't like being treated that way, no one does. It's one of the biggest reasons why I've decided to no longer compete.

I've been Irish dancing for almost 10 years so I've been right in the thick of it for a very long time. The environment at a feis has become very hostile. It doesn't help to pretend like these bad attitudes don't exist. Instead of focusing on becoming better dancers, too many girls judge each other's dresses, wigs and criticize un-tanned legs. If you walk through a ballroom at a feis, I guarantee you will get at least 5 nasty looks from Irish dancers before you even get to your chair.

I understand it's hard to admit to yourself that your young daughter may be acting like a snob, but taking it out on me and my hilarious photo is not a solution. Maybe instead you should have a little talk with your daughter about kindness.

Article written by Shelly Allen
Header photo by Shelly Allen Photography.

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