9 Steps to Becoming an Irish Dance Champion
1. Trust Your Teacher. Many dancers get so caught up in the grand scheme of things, that they forget their teachers really know what they’re talking about. Make sure to listen carefully when your teacher gives you instruction on things you need to improve/work on. Your teacher is certified (TCRG), and likely has many experience dancing themselves. For example, if your teacher says your kicks need to be higher, you need to work on your kicks.
2. Don’t Expect That Every Feis Will Yield A First. Some dancers (and sometimes even parents) have the expectation that every feis will yield a first. Very rarely does a dancer go through many feisanna without getting anything but firsts, but just remember to keep a positive attitude and that it is only one judges’ view of your dancing. The next feis may yield more good fortune!
3. Be Patient. This is very important. Make sure to attend a lot of feisanna. It takes a lot time to win firsts and move up through the levels!
4. Practice! This is the single most important thing you can do. Even on days when you don’t have class, go through your step(s) at least twice to stay in shape. This will improve overall technique, coordination, and will relieve some of the stress that comes with prepping for a competition.
5. Attend Classes At Least Twice A Week. If your school doesn’t offer two classes a week (and very few don’t), you may want to consider another school that does. The classes need to be at least 2 hours long to build up your stamina and endurance. Your teacher should be pushing and motivating you in class. While no one likes to be yelled at or corrected, the alternative is a teacher who thinks you look great, when they know that you’ll never get a first dancing like that.
6. Practice The Execution of Your Steps. Even if you think that your steps are not the greatest, practicing your technique is really important. Remember, the judges are not judging on your ability to memorize choreography, but they are looking at turnout, height in jumps, etc. If your execution is great, odds are you’ll place great too. Remember to never be sloppy, fore a sloppy dancer can ruin even the nicest choreography.
7. Set Goals For Yourself. Try to stay away from general ones (ex: I want to reach Preliminary Championship level) and focus on the more specific ones like: I want to place in my hornpipe for that feis in a couple of months. Then set up a strategy for achieving that goal, including how much you need to practice, how many days a week, etc. Although you may be tempted to stray to the big dreams (and who hasn’t been guilty of daydreaming every now and then), those big dreams won’t happen unless you focus on the more specific goals.
8. Make Friends At Classes. School spirit will always motivate you and dance friends are some of the greatest things you can have. It’s always nice to have someone else cheering you on besides your parents, and dance friends can be great for support. Wear your dance school gear (i.e. t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc) to school and other places, and have dance friends sleepovers and parties. It’s always nice to have friends who share these major lifetime experiences with you.
9. Help The Younger Dancers. If you are a teenager, help the little ones in class. Younger children always look up in awe to teenagers, and helping then will only help you in the end. It’s hard to tell others to cross and turnout your feet and then not do it yourself. (You can do this even if you’re a beginner yourself).