Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wait? We're Adults? When did that happen? And how do I make it stop???

So . . . I am an "adult irish dancer". Not so sure I like that title for a plethora of reasons. It's kind of an unfair qualification. Rather discriminatory, really. It's like saying "a woman pilot" or "a male nanny". What difference does it really make that I sign my own emergency release forms when I'm enrolling for the new semester at Dance class. Or that my boyfriend is not my emergency contact, not my mum? Does it make me a less qualified dancer? I mean, I'm not so good yet, but that's not becuase I'm older. Its because I've had a shakey at best dance education up until recently (more on that later) and because I don't practice enough at home. And sure, there are days that I literally want to crawl off the floor at the studio after my hour is up with aching joints and muscles that about ready to mutiny, that the younger crowd might not feel.But I feel that dealing with that makes me even MORE dedicated then those spritely youngsters who look at you groaning on the changing room floor like your ancient, who leave after their hour looking like they just finished reading a book.

Another reason I think I chafe at such distinction is that I never WANTED to be an "Adult" dancer. I've wanted to dance since I was nine. Lancaster County being full of Amish and Hispanic populations has left it to be something of the final frontieer of Irish Dance. York, Philly, Harrisburg, Delaware - they all had schools and were not much more then an hour away. For financial and hodophobic reasons, Mum was never able to get me to any of them. I found a ballet school eventually, that imported a retired Irish dancer to keep the ballerinas occupied between their pointe and modern classes - not much on technique but I learned my sevens and my threes there and made at least one lifelong friend, so I can't complain too much. I was there for a year or so, then had to leave. After high school I found a specifically Irish school, though they weren't competative. For stupid reasons I only danced for 2 years and then dropped out, and then came back 3 years later to discover that they had grown, changed leadership, become certified and had an actual adults class. So, all this drivel to say, that I still have the same spirit, the same urge to dance as I did when I was nine - almost a stronger urge cause its had 15 years or so to stew. I've wanted to be a dancer since I was a child so it's hard to see myself as an "Adult" dancer. And for god's sake, I'm only just turning 24. It's not like I'm 40 and picking up my first pair of ghillies. Not that I'm at all critical of that - chase the dream no matter what age - but you get my point.

And none of this has to do with the fact that I don't consider myself an Adult. I do, very much so. I'm not one of those people that has to cling to their teens with reckless abandon. I quite enjoy being an adult, thank you very much. The way I see it, it actually helps my dancing, when I put aside the excuses. I alone am responsible for getting me to class, enrolling, purchasing supplies, etc. While this may intimidate some, I have learned the only way you can be 100% sure your going to get everything done or get what you want is to do it yourself. I don't have rely on my poor neurotic mother to brave the traffic to take me to class any more. If the budget is tight, I live on PBJ for 2 weeks and pay class fees, cause I can make that descion. Can we make it to that Feis? Why not, it's not like I have 3 siblings and 2 parents scheduals to work around anymore.

But back to the idea that being classified as an "Adult" irish dancer is kind of critical. . . . I'm very lucky. My awesome school doesn't really do the whole "snob" thing. While I haven't socialized too much outside of my own class, I've seen others interact with the younger set. We're not treated like second rate students or whatever. But I know that can happen at competitions and such. I don't one some shirty 16 year old open champ from some other school to scoff, just cause I have a few years on her but am dancing three levels below her. I've read the message board forums where adult competetors talk about how their feisanna can tend to be rather slap dash, etc. And that's just not right. Once I start competitions in the spring, I fully intend to kick ass and take names.

So, this is my blog. It will be my musings, questions, and observations of the ID world, from the already world-weary eyes of a 24 year old Advanced Beginer. I'm sure my perspective will be diffrent from anything else you could ever read. . ..



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