Laura’s start in Irish dancing
It’s no secret that Becky and I are passionate (erm…obsessed) about Irish dance, and one of the things we love about being teachers is getting to share that passion with our students. We’ve decided to start blogging as another way to share the love with the Rising Tide community and the Irish dance community around the world.
For our first blog, I wanted to share how I got into Irish dance, what I loved about it then, and what I love about it now.
I’ve been dancing in some form or another since I was two years old – starting with ballet. When I asked my mom, a highly competitive swimmer, why she signed me up for dance instead of swimming, she said “I spent my life at the pool – I wanted a dancer!” She definitely made the right choice! When I was nine, I was invited to my best friend’s Irish dance recital. I don’t remember much about that performance, except that I loved it. So much so in fact, that I went to class with my friend the very next day. I’ve been Irish dancing ever since.
When I first started dancing, I loved the energy, the speed, and the liveliness. It was similar to ballet in some ways and so incredibly different in other ways; I was able to apply some of my technique from ballet, while still stretching myself as a dancer. As I got older and more advanced, I loved the challenge dance presented. The intricate rhythm and footwork of hard shoe dances were difficult, and I remember many a class struggling to nail down new steps. While those days were frustrating, those moments when a step would click into place were definitely worth it. What I loved most though was performing and competing. Competitions were a great place to make friends. You grow up with the kids in your age group, and compete with the same people again and again; some of my best memories are side stage at feiseanna, or on road trips to competitions and majors. While you do have the opportunity to make many friends, Irish dance is, for the most part, a solo sport. Each competition is an opportunity to challenge yourself to perform to the best of your ability. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of walking off stage knowing you’ve danced your absolute best; I loved working for that moment.
Many competitions and performances later, I decided I was ready to teach and got my TCRG in 2012. There is so much I love about being a teacher. I love helping others fall in love with Irish dance the way I have. I love helping students push through those tricky moments as they learn steps and skills to master something new. Most of all I love helping each and every one of our students reach their full potential as dancers.
How did you get into Irish dance? What do you love about it? We’d love to hear from you – leave a comment below! Stay tuned for our next RTIDA blog post.
– Laura Hopper, TCRG, RTIDA