Dancing competitions are extremely important events in the life of an Irish dancer. Whether it’s a local feis or Oireachtas, competing is not only about trying to win. It is just as much about improving yourself as a dancer. Striving to become the best out of hundreds or thousands of talented people is a brilliant motivation to become the best dancer you can be. The pandemic has made this more challenging by canceling competitions. However, more recently, many dance studios have begun to organize competitions again, bringing many enthusiastic and eager Irish dance competitors back on the feis scene.
Little by little, Irish dance competitors have started to prepare for competitions. The main requirements are the same: going to competitions is about diligent practice, but also appropriate dancewear. Apart from traditional apparel, a dancer needs flexible and high-quality Irish dance shoes that are comfortable and can withstand many hours of wear. After making sure that they have all they need for competing, dancers have to also keep in mind that the rules have changed due to the pandemic.
Irish dancing during the pandemic
The fact that competitions cannot go back to how they were before during the pandemic does not mean that people cannot enjoy dancing just as much as they did before. Dancers have found new ways to share their passion for the Irish dance with the world through social media. Besides, many magazines, social media pages, public figures have mobilized to keep morale high in the Irish dance community. Now that many national and international dance competitions are back, however, Irish dancers can go back to feis-ing and their usual dance routine. After all, nothing compares to the feeling of getting up on stage and performing. In order to participate in competitions, dancers must abide by local or state governments’ rules. Restrictions may include wearing a face mask or quarantining. These are simple rules, but they are essential for creating a safe environment for participants.
The dancers’ way of coping with the pandemic
The pandemic has majorly affected the Irish dance competition scene. Dance organization took different strategies for adapting to the pandemic situation, and that made things uncertain for Irish dancers for the most part. Luckily, a lot of teachers continued their classes (mostly online) and the perseverance of dancers has helped them to go on dancing just like before the pandemic. An Irish dancing app asked 17 Irish dance influencers about their routine during the pandemic. As was expected, most reported that Irish dance is what kept them on the right track during social isolation. For them, Irish dancing is an essential part of their lives and daily routine, and that did not change because of the pandemic. In fact, focusing on Irish dancing-related tasks helped many of them maintain their physical and mental health during such challenging times.
Now that competitions are held again, dancers are signing up to compete. The costs for travel and accommodation, the uncertainty, and all the restrictions do not keep enthusiastic dancers away from participating. As long as a safe environment is provided for dancers, the “new normal” at Irish Dancing competitions is just as enjoyable for everyone involved!