A Gathering Place for Adults Who Love Irish Dance

Thursday, October 6, 2011

IrishCentra: Adult Irish dancer from Murray Irish Dance Academy

Kim Carney, adult Irish dancer

"No one else was making me dance, it was my choice. And my responsibility." -Kim Carney

Today I am pleased to introduce Kim Carney, an adult Irish dancer who began dancing at age 22. Kim danced at the World Irish Dance Championships 2010 in Glasgow, and 2011 Dublin, and qualified for Belfast 2012. Before retiring, Kim placed 22nd at Nationals this year, qualifying for Worlds 2012.  Kim dances with Anne Murray MacRitchie at Murray Irish Dance Academy. 

Kim talks today about what inspired her to begin Irish dance as an adult, what influenced her decision to retire and gives advice to other adult Irish dancers. 

When did you first start Irish dancing?

I started dancing at 22 years old. I had always wanted to try it. However it was an expensive hobby and I was one of five children so I was unable to participate as a child.
When I graduated from college and got my first job at 22, I
thought it would be fun to try.

What inspired you to begin Irish dancing as an adult?

I knew that when I moved I wanted to continue
to dance. I sent an email out to several schools in the area. I
had several teachers who either did not respond or responded by telling me I was too old to transfer. At this time I knew I was not ready to stop and wanted to see what I could accomplish. I was lucky enough to have Anne Murray MacRitchie respond to my email. I stared to dance for Murray
in 2007.
Kim Carney, adult Irish dancer
I have been told that you qualified and attended Worlds as an adult dancer.  What qualities do you have that gave you the extra push to get so far?

Hmmm, this makes me feel self conscious. :)
But if I had to name a few it would be...

Perseverance. Dancing is just harder as you get older. Adult dancers have more responsibilities. The last few years I have been working
as a nurse full time and going to graduate school. Dance served as my stress relief and was the best part of that busy time.

I also wanted to push myself as far as I could. No one else was making me dance, it was my choice. And my responsibility.
If Anne was going to take the time to teach me, I was going to take that seriously.

Passion. I love the music, I love the rhythm. I love the dance. I truly enjoy the performing aspect of the dance. When it is your passion, it does not
seem like work.

I am very proud of myself but I owe alot of my success to my teacher Anne, and our workshop teachers, all who worked with me regardless of my age.
Kim Carney at the World Irish Dancing Championship 2011
What did you learn about yourself when you competed at Worlds?

That hard work really does pay off. My second worlds, 2011, though I did not recall, I did get a rank, 63rd, and was in the top half of my competition. I poured myself into my dancing. Between strengthening, practicing, and classes I was putting around 20 hours a week in. My hard work really paid off.

I also learned that the only people who had to be okay with my competing were Anne and I.
There were a few times were I was looked down upon for competing at local feis and the Oireachtas (message board posts, and heard through the grapevine of people griping).
People felt I was too old. They probably did not realize I had started so late, though that should not really matter. Anyone who wants to put the work in and compete should be allowed to.
Kim Carney(in blue), adult Irish dancer
What influenced your decision to retire after qualifying a third time for Worlds?

I rounded off my Irish dance career at Nationals this year by placing 22nd and qualifying for Worlds2012. It was unbelievable. I had hoped, but never expected to qualify for worlds at nationals. I retired about a month ago after nationals, just shy of 7 years of dancing. I have a new job as an RN at a Boston Pediatric Hospital and dancing will unfortunately not fit into my schedule anymore. I have decided that this is a good stopping point for me. I love to dance, but I at this point in my life other commitments (job, family) are taking over.

Will you continue dancing as a teacher or a performer?

I plan on remaining involved with Murray. I hope to help Anne out with school events, and with the younger dancers as my time allows.

Kim Carney and Anne MacRitchie, TCRG
This article first appeared on IrishCentral.com.

What advice do you have for other adult Irish dancers?

Do what you love and love what you do.
If you want to take your dancing to the next level, do it, don't let fear or other's negative opinions stop you.
If you are willing to put in the time and energy you can achieve so much. Find a teacher who is supportive and see what you are capable of.

What do you envision for the future of adults in Irish dancing?

I hope that the adult Irish Dancing field continues to grow. I was very happy to see a team of young adults in the film Jig. I was also very happy to see the number of senior ladies dancing at Nationals. The competition has required a split that last two years. 
Dancers are dancing longer, and starting later than ever before. 

And because of this the competition is getting tougher. If adults continue to push for the right to compete, at whatever level they choose,there is no stopping them. :)

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