A Gathering Place for Adults Who Love Irish Dance

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Irish dancing, cooking, and literature, follow me on my new site.

I'm moving. Not physically moving, because we did that in March, and, believe me, I'm not going to want to do that again until the number of kiddos in this house decreases. 

I've decided to streamline my online presence and blog on one site that includes a little cooking, a little reading, a little Irish dancing, and a little rambling. I think it will be fun, and I hope you will like it. 

So, head on over to my main blog at www.christydorrity.com right now and follow me there so that I won't have to lose you! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Book Review and Interview: Heidi Will, author of The Ghillie Girls

Heidi Will is the author and illustrator of The Ghillie Girls: Irish Dance Pals, published in 2008 by Cinealta Press. Will based her book on the experiences she and her friends had in Irish dance. Visit Heidi Will online at www.ghilliegirls.com.

The Ghille Girls introduces four very different girls who have one thing in common: a love for Irish dance. Heidi Will uses these girls to illustrate the terms, and language that is unique to Irish dance. Vocabulary blurbs define the words that are sometimes foreign to the beginning Irish dancer.

Bold and colorful, the illustrations show striking colors reminiscent of the flamboyant solo dresses often worn in competition. The cut-out style of the pictures make me think of paper dolls.

I love the information page in the back that includes vocabulary, basic Irish dance history and directions of where to find an Irish dance school.

We are thrilled to be able to have Heidi Will with us on the blog today. 

Feis America:  What prompted you to write about Irish dance?

Heidi Will:  I initially wrote The Ghillie Girls as a Christmas present for three of my Irish dance friends. Kim (“Addy”) had moved away from Phoenix to New Hampshire, Beki (“Libby”) and I had stopped dancing competitively, and Jacqui (“Keelin”) was the only one left at our old dance school. It seemed that we were drifting apart, and I wanted to do something to bring us together and celebrate the friendship we had developed through Irish dance. It started as The Wig Sisters, which is what we called ourselves. That first version was quite a bit different than the final published version of The Ghillie Girls (I changed the name to make it more specific to Irish dance). I printed copies for everyone and they loved it, and suggested I publish it. I decided to tweak the book to be an introduction to Irish dance in the hopes of exposing more people to this wholesome and enriching art form. I happened to stumble across the Irish dance world in my college years, and still view it as a well-kept secret that needs to be shared!

Feis America:  Your illustrations are unique, how did you design them?

Heidi Will:  Thanks! I considered many different illustration styles and finally chose a simple, modern look. I love color (as one can tell instantly upon entering my home) and so I had fun making the book very bright and colorful. The illustrations translate well into coloring pages, which I use a lot with my own Irish dance students at the Phoenix Irish Cultural Center.

Feis America:  What were the challenges you had in bringing your book to life?

Heidi Will:  I wanted to make the book accessible to non-dancers so I got feedback from several people who knew nothing about Irish dance to be sure that I explained things that dancers take for granted—especially the pronunciation of Irish words. Since every Irish dance school does things a little differently and calls things by different names, I consulted people from different schools and regions to make the book as accurate as possible. It was hard to decide if I should seek a traditional publisher for my book, or attempt to self-publish. I finally chose the self-publishing route, because it allowed me to have complete control over the final product. As a graphic designer, I enjoyed every aspect of the process—writing, illustration, and layout design.


Feis America:  Do you have future plans for the Ghillie Girls?

Heidi Will:  I have more books in mind, if I can make the time to write them. I would love to write about the adventures we had while competing in Irish dance. We had so much fun traveling together; going to Oireachtas, taking road trips, visiting friends across the country while “feising.” I would also like to explore the struggles we had, competing against each other. Sometimes it really strained our friendship, but in the end, I value our friendship and the memories we made so much more than any medal I won. That is what I want to communicate to young Irish dancers: to appreciate what is really important, and not to get hung up on winning.

Feis America:  Can you share anything with us from what you are currently working on?

Heidi Will:  The book that has taken the most shape in my mind tells the story of how the Ghillie Girls meet and become the Ghillie Girls. It is longer, with more words and fewer illustrations. I’m also working on a coloring and activity book.

Feis America:  Thank you for sharing the inside scoop with us. We look forward to reading more about the Ghillie Girls.

To find out more information, purchase The Ghillie Girls, and print off free coloring pages, visit www.ghilliegirls.com.


Readers: Are you an adult Irish dancer, competitive or not, with a story to share? Would you like to inspire others to feel your passion for Irish dancing and culture? Do you have a question about Irish dancing? Please comment in the box below for replies and contact information!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Renowned Irish dance camp welcomes young adult Irish dancers

Camp Rince Ceol Irish dance camp
Photo: Courtesy Sheila Ryan-Davoren

For thirteen years, Camp Rince Ceol has been known as the camp “where Irish dancers spend their summers.” Now, young adults, ages 19-24, have a chance to experience the highly acclaimed Irish dance camp.

Camp Rince Ceol is a summer camp for Irish dancers who want to increase their knowledge of all things Irish dance. Sheila Ryan-Davoren, TCRG began the camp with her husband, Tony Davoren, after they both toured with Riverdance in the Lee Company. Together, they formed a camp that combines an intense study of the sport of Irish dancing with a fun summer camp experience. Sheila says, “I wanted to incorporate summer-time feeling with classroom instruction.”
Campers take a break from classes
at Camp Rince Ceol
Photo: Courtesy Sheila Ryan-Davoren
After receiving many requests to allow older dancers to attend camp, Sheila and Tony decided to invite dancers ages 19-24 to attend Camp Rince Ceol. During the third session of camp in New York, young adults will come together to increase their learning of Irish dance and culture.

Young adult dancers receive all of the benefits of their younger counterparts: a full curriculum of core classes, bonus classes, amazing meals, clean rooms (no tents here), night-time activities, and an opportunity to showcase what they have learned. In addition to the regular privileges, young adults get a few extra perks.  They are allowed the use of cell phones, have access to a Wi-Fi network during camp, and are treated to an off-campus dinner with instructors.

Sheila wants Irish dancers to have a great experience socializing, having fun and sharing the love of Irish dance. Sheila says, “Camp is fun, but we are there for a reason—the kids work hard. “
Camp Rince Ceol campers "hand dancing"
Photo: Courtesy Sheila Ryan-Davoren
What you should know about Camp Rince Ceol:

All of the Irish dance instructors at Camp Rince Ceol are former touring group members from such shows as Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. A list of instructors can be found on the Camp Rince Ceol website.

Camp Rince Ceol is open to campers ages 8-24.

In addition to core Irish dancing classes, other classes include language, sports (hurling, rugby), show steps, behind the scenes, ballet, yoga, foot care, rhythm and timing, footwork, stage presence, and Irish dance and music history.

Camp Rince Ceol has been approved by An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha as an "Open Workshop" for 2012 and therefore is exempt from any association/affiliation rules.

There are two locations:  Dunn School, Los Olivos, California and Union College in Schenectady, New York.

Young adults are invited to attend Camp Rince Ceol in New York during the week of July 29th-August 3rd.

Camp Rince Ceol

Irish Dance Diet - A Change of Scenery

The view from my cabin last week
photo by Christy Dorrity 

It's been a few weeks since I've posted and I think it's been good for me to think about other things besides my weight.  I find that sometimes, when I am obsessing about it, I start to sabatoge myself. 

Last week I went on a writing retreat for an entire week, by myself, in a little cabin on my parent's trout ranch and resort. My loving husband worked from home to be with the kids and let me do this wonderful thing.  I ended up writing over 25,000 words in my YA novel (about Irish dance, of course). 

You would think that sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day would kill my diet, but I actually lost 2 pounds during that week! Here's why:

1-I was distracted.
When I involve myself in things I enjoy, I don't even think about eating. 

2-Because I was excited about something, I didn't use food to fill the void of boredom or entertainment. 
I was on a sort of high from doing so much creative writing that I didn't even want to eat, let alone overeat. 

3-I wasn't in the kitchen as much. 
While I was gone I packed healthy foods to have on hand, sat down to meals at my mom's table (thanks mom), and allowed myself a small treat -the key being small. I'm trying to figure out ways to apply this to my every-day life. 

4-I made a decision not to eat while I was writing. 
Mindlessly munching on chocolate covered cinnamon bears while I'm reading or writing, or watching TV is the equivalent of smearing them onto my hips!  I don't even realize I'm eating and it's not a good idea. 

5-I was surrounded by inspiring scenery.
I felt relaxed and wanted to "drink in" all of the beauty around me. It gave me a positive boost and helped me keep perspective. 

What ways do a change of scenery help you in your goals, weight loss, or otherwise?

Weight lost= It's been a few weeks and I've lost about 3 pounds
Total weight loss= 6.5

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Darrah Carr Irish dance group nominated for a Bessie Award - VIDEO

Darrah Carr Dance 
Photo: Lois Greenfield

Irish dance performance group Darrah Carr Dance, and guest choreographer Seán Curran have been nominated for a 2012 New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie Award) for "Outstanding Production of a Work that Pushes the Boundaries of a Traditional or Culturally Specific Form”.

Artistic director Darrah Carr, is thrilled and honored to receive the nomination. Grateful to the Bessie Selection Committee and to Seán Curran, Carr says, “This nomination would not have been possible without the boundless energy of my company members, and the steadfast support of our presenting partners at the Irish Arts Center and at Gotham Arts Exchange.”
 Artistic Director, Darrah Carr  
Photo: Lois Greenfield

Darrah Carr trained in both competitive Irish dance and classical ballet from ages six to sixteen. When she began her training in modern dance, she learned to relax her arms and torso and work with gravity. “I realized that in modern dance, bucking tradition was the traditional way of doing things,” Carr says. “I began to explore how I could reconcile two very differnt types of training to create a distinctive choreographic voice.”

So began “ModERIN”, a play on words that combines contemporary modern dance with “Erin”, an Anglicized word for Ireland. The result is what Darr describes as “a process of fusion, and a tightly woven marriage of modern dance freedom, and Irish dance structure.”

The Darrah Carr Dance group began in New York in 1998. The group performs extensivly, not only in New York, but in such venues as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and The Yard at Martha’s Vineyard, to name a few. Recently the group performed on NBC’s “The Today Show”, with The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, and featured “Dingle Dewali” at Symphony Space, for which they have been nominated for the Bessie Award.

“I source from two genres,” Carr says, “traditional Irish step and contemporary modern dance. Dance in Ireland traditionally happened at a crossroads, a reminder to respect the road that led me to a place of intersecting genres, while simultaneously remaining curious about the path that lies ahead.”

Darrah Carr Dance in "Dingle Diwali" 
Photo: Matthew Murphy
Not only does the Darrah Carr group inspire from the stage, they also seek to spread their dance expertise through a junior troupe, DCWee, and an outreach program that travels the country. Carr says, “I am proud to spread awareness and appreciation for Irish music and dance through our educational and outreach programs." Carr loves doing school assembly performances. Often the children ask imaginative questions such as if leprechauns are real, and whether or not the group has seen one.

Many of the performers and students involved with Darrah Carr Dance, and the outreach program are adult Irish dancers. Carr enjoys teaching adults in a relaxed and low-key atmosphere. “I also find that adult dancers really want to be at class, which makes them really engaged, and eager students.”

Darrah Carr Dance company member Timothy Kochka in "Dingle Diwali" 
Photo: Matthew Murphy
Artistic director Darrah Carr is excited about the paths that Irish dance is headed down. Many dancers who retire from touring with the major shows, such as Riverdance and Lord of the Dance, are still interested in performance opportunitites. “I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some of these dancers,” Carr says. “They have exquisite technique and incredibly open minds.”

The Darrah Carr Dance group will be dancing their annual New York season at the Irish Arts Center November 16-18th. For more information go to www.irishartscenter.org.

You can find out more about Darrah Carr Dance, the DCWee junior troupe, and outreach programs at www.darrahcarrdance.com.

Darrah Carr Dance -VIDEO

Readers: Are you an adult Irish dancer, competitive or not, with a story to share? Would you like to inspire others to feel your passion for Irish dancing and culture? Do you have a question about Irish dancing? Please comment in the box below for replies and contact information!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Irish dance competitions for adult Irish dancers in August

Adult Irish dancers from Beaton School of Irish Dance in Maryland, USA
Photo: Courtesy Rachel Joy
Many feiseanna (Irish dance competitions) offer competitions for adult Irish dancers. Here's a quick glance at feiseanna that welcome adult Irish dancers in August.

Plan on supporting a feis in your area that includes adult Irish dancers, and keep an eye out for those feiseanna who are offering slow speed dances for adults. 

Key: FF-first feis B-beginner, N-novice, PW-prize winner, O-open championship

Two Rivers Feile 2012
Des Moines, IA - Aug 3, 2012 to Aug 4, 2012
Iowa Irish, Inc.

B1/B2, N/PW
4 soft shoe
2 hard shoe, traditional speed only
traditional set 
8 hand
no specials

Arizona State Championships & Feis 2012
Phoenix, AZ - Aug 4, 2012 to Aug 5, 2012
McTeggart, AZ

4 soft shoe
2 hard shoe
traditional set 
2,3 hand
parent/child special

Milwaukee Feis 2012
Milwaukee, WI - Aug 11, 2012
Milwaukee Feis Society

B1/B2, N/PW
3 soft shoe
2 hard shoe, traditional speed and slow speed
traditional set 
any figure
parent/child specials

McMenamin Academy Feis 2012
Milwaukee, WI - Aug 12, 2012
McMenamin Academy of Irish Dance

B1/B2, N/PW
4 soft shoe
2 hard shoe, traditional speed only
traditional set 
8 hand
no specials

Southern Tier Feis 2012
Binghamton, NY - Aug 18, 2012
Carle Irish Dance Co.

B1/B2, N/PW
3 soft shoe
1 hard shoe
no traditional set 
no figures
parent/child special

Great Lakes Feis 2012
Lansing, MI - Aug 19, 2012
Ardan Academy

FF/B1, B2, N, PW
3 soft shoe
2 hard shoe, traditional speed or slow speed
traditional set 
2,3,4,8 hand
no specials

Cowboy State Feis 2012
Casper, WY - Aug 25, 2012
Irish Dance Association of Central WY

4 soft shoe
2 hard shoe
traditional set 
2,3 hand
parent/child special

St. Louis Gateway Feis 2012
St. Louis, MO - Aug 25, 2012
St. Louis Gateway Feis Society

B1/B2, N/PW
3 soft shoe
2 hard shoe
traditional set 
no figures
no specials

Kansas City Feis 2012
Kansas City, MO - Aug 31, 2012 to Sep 1, 2012
O'Riada-McCarty-Manning Academy

B1/B2, N/PW
4 soft shoe
2 hard shoe
traditional set 
8 hand
no specials

If you have a photo of your adult class practicing or performing that you would like to see featured, please email me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Book Review: Aspects of the History of Irish Dancing by Dr. John Cullinane

Aspects of the History of Irish Dancing
by Dr. John Cullinan

Dr. John Cullinane’s book Aspects of the History of Irish Dancing is the first in a library of eight books that provide invaluable information about Irish dance history.  Because the Gaelic people passed down their history orally, very little is recorded concerning the roots of Irish dance. Through research, interviews and valuable experience, Dr. Cullinane delivers a rich background of Irish dancing as we know it today. 

The first book is written as a reference guide and covers important aspects of the dance’s history. Dr. Cullinane describes the first Irish dance Ceili held in 1897, records the many remembrances of the infamous dance master, and explains the evolution of feisanna, dance costumes, hand position, as well as ceili and  traditional set dances. He then touches briefly on the expansion of Irish dance to England, Australia, New Zealand, North West England and the United States. 

Did you know that much of the dances were preserved during the troubled times of 1916-1921 because they were taught in prisons? In Aspects of the History of Irish Dancing, read about the first ever ceili held in 1897 where participants dined on tea and cakes during intermission. Find out how the infamous dancing master sometimes taught in a kitchen or farm outhouse. Learn about a man who was such a gifted dancer that it was said that “He could write with his feet” (p40).

Dr. Cullinane’s books are a valuable tool for those who want to understand the history of Irish dance and will help ensure that traditional Irish dance continues to thrive.

The New York Times recently published an excellent article with Dr. John Cullinane, regarding Irish dance costumes, and how they have changed over the years. Dr. Cullinane compares the elaborate costumes of today's Irish dancers to those of times gone by, in a positive, and insightful interview. You can read the article here.

Purchase Dr. Cullinane’s collection of books on Irish dance history at www.feiswear.com or www.ossianusa.com.

Parts of this article was published previously in Feis America Magazine. Read the full review on www.christydorrity.com.

Readers: Are you an adult Irish dancer, competitive or not, with a story to share? Would you like to inspire others to feel your passion for Irish dancing and culture? Do you have a question about Irish dancing? Please comment in the box below for replies and contact information!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Irish Dance Diet - Do you eat in the morning or at night?

Everyone is different, some people do really well on their diets in the morning, but inhale food when the sun goes down. Others wake up starving and need the bulk of their calories at breakfast in order to make it through the day. 

This week, I tried to limit my calorie intake early in the day because I am a night time nosher. It worked pretty good.  I made sure to eat protein for breakfast and lunch to tide me over and then I had a good sized dinner. I felt more satisfied and continued to lose weight.  

Here are some ideas for you to try to see what time of day you should save those calories for. 

1-If you are a night eater, try beginning your diet day at night.  So, start counting calories right before dinner, include any night time snacks, then continue your calorie count through breakfast and lunch.  If you are normally pretty satisfied with a small lunch, you may not be as disgruntled about having a small or high veggie content lunch. This way you won't feel like you are depriving yourself. 

2-If you need a healthy breakfast to get you through the day, try pairing a carbohydrate and a protein together, a bowl of fruit and an egg, for instance.  You will get more leverage out of the calories and stay full longer. 

3-Experiment with snacks at different times of the day.  I know some people who absolutely have to have a mid-morning snack, and some who cannot make it through the dinner rush if they don't have a little something before they begin preparations. 

Knowing how your body works will go a long way to helping you be successful in your weight loss journey. 

How do you keep tabs on your body's food rhythms?  Are you a night eater or a morning eater?

*Just a note, I am so missing my Irish dance class that is on vacation for the month of July.  Anyone else relate?

Week sixteen

Weight lost= -1.0
Total weight loss= 4.4 pounds
Slow and steady wins the race!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

New York's O'Rourke adult Irish dancers feel like family - PHOTOS

LuAnn O'Rourke and her adult Irish dancer Ladies 8-hand team
Photo: courtesy O'Rourke Irish Dancers

The O'Rourke Irish Dancers have a healthy adult Irish dancer program.  LuAnne O'Rourke, TCRG, ADCRG began the school in 1995 and it is located in White Plains, New York. 

Feis America:  How did your adult Irish dancer program begin?  

LuAnn:  After I opened my school in 1995, I was approached by an adult to give her private lessons.
She wanted to learn to Irish dance desperately, but no one in the area offered adult classes. I started teaching her after my kids' classes, and actually enjoyed teaching her. Adults have great attention spans, pick up quick, and make corrections easily. I found it refreshing after spending a few hours with young children. Word got out and it snowballed from there. 

Feis America:  What is the culture like for adult Irish dancers at your school?  

LuAnn:  We are like a family. Some of the adults in the school are parents of the kids dancing. Some of the adult dancers are siblings, and we even have an engaged couple. We have danced at many of their weddings and have seen their families grow. The adults are friendly with each other outside of class as well.  Lifelong friendships have been formed, and they support each other in dance and other aspects of their lives.  

LuAnn O'Rourke and her adult Irish dancer mixed 4-hand team
Photo: courtesy O'Rourke Irish Dancers

Feis America:  Where do the adult Irish dancers perform/compete?  

LuAnn:  They dance at St. Patrick's Day functions, parades, weddings, festivals, and our annual recital.    They are also very competitive! Our Ladies 8-Hand team has won the Mid-Atlantic Oireachtas 7 times and the North American Championship 3 times; their 4-hand has won the Oireachtas [Regional Championships] 5 times, our Mixed 8-Hand has won the Mid-Atlantic Oireachtas [Regional Championships] 3 times, and Nationals once; their 4-Hand has won Nationals 4 times. In addition, the Ladies' team are the first North American team to take home a First Place All-Ireland [Irish Dancing Championships] medal in the 4-Hand Ceili Club category. They are setting their sights on the Great Britain Championships some time in the future.   

LuAnn O'Rourke and her adult Irish dancer National Champion ceili team
Photo: courtesy O'Rourke Irish Dancers
Read more:


Feis America:  What advice can you give to others who want to form a strong adult
Irish dancer program?  

LuAnn:  Treat adult dancers with respect, and as an integral part of your school and business. Adults have children that can become a part of your school, if they are not already. They are great volunteers for your feis, and can also become life-long friends. Make time for them, even if it's after all of your kid's classes. Give them opportunities to be an important part of your school by getting them involved in performances, competition, and your feis if you run one.

Feis America:  How do you envision the future for adult Irish dancers?  

LuAnn:  I hope that some day in the near future the CLRG will consider adding an adult ceili
competition to the World Championships. Adult dancers are here, and thriving, and want to be a part of the greater Irish dance community. The more opportunities we give them, the more they will get involved.  

O'Rourke adult Irish dancers
Photo: courtesy O'Rourke Irish Dancers


Readers: Are you an adult Irish dancer, competitive or not, with a story to share? Would you like to inspire others to feel your passion for Irish dancing and culture? Do you have a question about Irish dancing? Please comment in the box below for replies and contact information!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Spotlight on adult Irish dancer Sara Gutis from Connecticut

Sara Gutis and her dad, Mark Gutis
Photo: courtesy Sara Gutis

Feis America: Welcome Sara, we are so glad to hear about your Irish dancing story. Where are you from?

Sara:  I live in Brookfield, Connecticut. My current TCRG (teacher) is Sue Brotherton of the Millennium School of Irish Dance.

Feis America:  How did you get started in Irish Dancing?

Sarah:  The short version of how I started Irish Dancing is that I was a huge fan of Lord of the Dance.  I was sitting in Ireland, watching Michael Flatley and his troupe dance, and knew it was just something I HAD to do. I came home, and started calling around until I found a school that took adult dancers, and started the next week. 

Sara Gutis (in pink mask) poses for a recital photo.
Photo: courtesy Sara Gutis

Feis America: What motivates you to keep dancing as an adult?

Sara:  Irish Dancing is such a huge part of my life. It's part of my identity. I used to be motivated by the next competition and the trophies I would win. Slowly, I moved away from competition though. Now, I'm motivated by my new teacher.  She believes in my abilities, and is teaching me skills that a previous teacher told me not to bother with because I am an adult.

Sara and father, Mark, in action.
Photo: courtesy Sara Gutis
Feis America: I noticed that you and your dad are pictured dancing together.  Does he dance?  Did he begin dancing because of you?

Sara: Dad started dancing because of me. I taught him as an assistant for years! He danced for ten years before I left my last studio. Between that and arthritis in his foot, he has mostly stopped. But, he will occasionally do a choreography with me or some ceili. 

Feis America:  If you could change one thing about Irish dance, what would it be?

Sara:  One thing I would change about Irish Dancing is the odd way that adults are treated in their goals and pursuits.  In the east and especially the northeast, adults are not really cultivated by the teachers.  I know that adults might not be the next world qualifier, but we have a lot to offer.
Feis America:  What does your competition or solo dress look like?

Sara:  My solo dress is black silk with rainbow colored knot work, edged in silver and gold thread. It is the more old fashioned style. I am in the market for a newer styled dress. I really need to learn to sew! When I perform in a choreography, I typically wear an Irish themed dress that is more a la Riverdance in style.


Readers: Are you an adult Irish dancer, competitive or not, with a story to share? Would you like to inspire others to feel your passion for Irish dancing and culture? Do you have a question about Irish dancing? Please comment in the box below for replies and contact information!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Irish Dance Diet - Sneaking in more activity

I'm struggling a bit this week because it seems like I'm doing everything right (two 500 calorie workouts a day, salads for lunch, limiting sweets) and yet the scale is not showing it.  And as we all know, if I'm doing what I've always done, I'll get what I've always got.  That means I need to step it up.

Ways to sneak more activity into your week:

1-Park at the far end of the parking lot and spend a few minutes walking to the store.

2-Take your dog for a walk or go out with the kids and throw a frisbee around.

3-Do some cleaning.  Did you know that housework can burn a lot of calories?

4-Purchase a simple pedometer to keep track of how much or how little you have been out and about.  If you are low on steps, take a walk at the end of the day.

5-Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

6-While watching TV, do stretches or work out on an exercise machine.

7-Dance-it feels like play but it's actually a work out. :)

Week Fourteen

Weight lost= -.2
Total weight loss= 3.8 pounds

Monday, July 2, 2012

Irish Dance Diet - Go Go Go, get that dress!

Photo: KDF dresses

I saw the dress above on KDF's facebook page and I love it.  I showed it to my husband and after his eyes bugged out at the cost, he told me that if I reach my goals, he will buy my one. How is that for motivation?

I'm happy to say that I'm finally seeing some real progress here.  It is a bit embarrassing when I look at my stats and think that I've only lost 4 pounds in thirteen weeks, but I'm only human. I guess I could be four pounds heavier after thirteen weeks, so kuddos to me. :)

So what did I do differently this week? Aside from trying hard to reign in my eating (despite a wedding and a family reunion) I have increased my physical activity. No matter what new diet comes out and claims that you can diet without counting calories, it always comes back to calories in/calories out.  So I've been doing a workout on the elliptical machine in the mornings and then a dance workout at night.  It seems to be working as long as I can control what goes in my mouth.

Calories out - calories in= weight loss.  It's that simple.

Week Thirteen

Weight lost=1 pounds
Total weight loss= 4 pounds

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Irish dance competitions for adult Irish dancers in July

Adult Irish dancers from the Bennett School of Irish Dance in Denver, Colorado.
Photo: courtesy Bennet School of Irish Dance

Many feiseanna (Irish dance competitions) offer competitions for adult Irish dancers. Here's a quick glance at feiseanna that welcome adult Irish dancers in July.

Plan on supporting a feis in your area that includes adult Irish dancers, and keep an eye out for those feiseanna who are offering slow speed dances for adults. 

Key: FF-first feis B-beginner, N-novice, PW-prize winner, O-open championship

Clan na nGael Summer Feis 2012
Columbus, OH - Jul 14, 2012
Shamrock Club of Columbus

B1/B2, N/PW
3 soft shoe
2 hard shoe
no traditional set 
no figures
no specials

Colorado Irish Festival Feis 2012
Littleton, CO - Jul 14, 2012 to Jul 15, 2012
Colorado United Irish Societies

B, N, PW
4 soft shoe
2 hard shoe
traditional set 
2,3,4,6,8 hand
no specials

Badger State Feis 2012
Milwaukee, WI - Jul 21, 2012
Badger State Feis

B1/B2, N/PW
3 soft shoe
2 hard shoe
no traditional set 
2,3,4 hand
parent/child special

Dance For Life 2012
Seattle, WA - Jul 21, 2012 to Jul 22, 2012
Scoil Rince Slieveloughane

B, N, PW
4 soft shoe
2 hard shoe, traditional and slow speeds
traditional set 
2,3,4,6,8 hand
reel special for B, N, and PW; parent/child figure

Nation's Capital Feis and All-American C 2012
Washington, D.C. - Jul 21, 2012 to Jul 22, 2012

B, B2, N, Open
4 soft shoe
2 hard shoe
traditional set 
non-traditional set and treble reel
2,3,4,6,8 hand, choreography
Hard shoe Exhibition Extravaganza, Showcase Style Competition
Parent/child special

Cream City Feis 2012
Milwaukee, WI - Jul 22, 2012
Kinsella Acadmy Family Association

B1/B2, N/PW
4 soft shoe
2 hard shoe, traditional speeds
traditional set and single jig pending
8 hand pending
no specials

Maitiu O'Maoileidigh Summer Feis 2012
Irvine, CA - Jul 28, 2012 to Jul 29, 2012
Celtic Gold Academy

B1, N, PW
4 soft shoe
2 hard shoe
traditional set 
2,3,4,6,8 hand
treble reel special, challenge cup: slip or reel and set dance

If you have a photo of your adult class practicing or performing that you would like to see featured, please email me.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Irish Dance Diet - 3 levels of Performance

I went to a the Utah State Feis this past weekend. Even though I placed pretty well, I danced quite possibly the worst I ever have in competition.  And truthfully, the only reason I placed well was because there were only up to 3 dancers in each competition.  The "stage" was in a remote classroom, where only a handful of people came to watch. Still, that shouldn't be an excuse.  I just didn't have my game on to the point that I was performing.

There are three levels of performance:

At this stage you are worried that you might forget a step.  An observer may be able to see it in your expression as you mental calculate what comes next.

2-Self-consciousness You are worried about what you look like to others. Are my feet turned out? Does my dress flatter my figure? How do I look when I leap?

3-Performing Now you are ready. Your steps are a natural extension of your feet and you can turn inward and give the full expression of emotion and drama to your audience. This is the time to shine. Have you ever experienced the third level of performance? How did you get there?

Week Twelve

Weight lost=.8 pounds
Total weight loss= 3 pounds