|Satellite view of Ireland|
From the first slip jig of the day to the last reel at the end, one fact was abundantly clear: every competitor in this Irish Dance Feis (Fesh) was still a kid.
Oh, each one gave their best to stand tall and be mature.
Their toe points were perfect. The arms were straight. Knees straight on the kicks. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7, Hop 2 3, Hop 2 3, Back you go 4 5 6 7, Hop 2 3 and Hop 2 3.
Wigs are now required as dancers move up the ranks—curly crazy wigs that bounce to accentuate the dance. The dance schools each have their own school color and design. It can be blue with red pleats, the Celtic designs in bold embroidery, white with orange pleats, or any of many variations. The shoes are either soft shoe or hard shoe. The white socks are held in place up to the calf with sock glue.
This is a long way from the surge of Irish dance of Riverdance fame.
For an article that compares the past to the present click here. You will see the before and after photos of Irish dancing!
Many words could be written about how something simple and pure morphs into a huge business in the world of dance with rules and regulations, expense (one “worn only twice” solo dress was for sale: $1,200) and dedication. They won’t be written here.
They stand before the wall with the results numbers. There is both joy and disappointment. One little girl (in the beginners 1, under 8 yrs. competitions) searched for the scores for her dances. There she was: a 3rd place, another 3rd place, oh and a 2nd place. Oh, Mommy, there I am! I got a 1st place!!
That little face lifted to her mother, those sparkling eyes, and a huge smile say that the dancers are still kids-- kids who want a hug and then go to get some ice cream, and maybe a movie.