Our super IDM tech have just upgraded the website to a new server. But, this means that there may be a few hidden glitches. If you run into any glitches - leave a profile comment on my page (cameron.irishdancing) or email me email@example.com. While we are looking for any problems - it always helps to have more eyes!
This is the first step in several exciting changes/upgrades to the website!
We are usually walking around with a dance song stuck n our heads. I had Blackthorn Stick repeating over and over for ages, but now I am started to hear camp songs which is getting me in the mood for summer.
Have you written your camp song yet? The entries have started to come in for IDM's and Camp Rince Ceol's GRAND GIVEAWAY of a week at camp. We are loving reading (and watching) the creative camp songs that have started to arrive. We are having so much fun with this contest and are so excited that one excited dancer will get to win a week at Camp Rince Ceol.
With all of the excitement with the CLRG Worlds in Boston an An Comhdhail Worlds in Dublin this week, I have heard a lot of murmurs about locations for future championships. Here are some for a few of the major competitions. If you are with a different organization or know of other dates, please post them, too!
North American Irish Dance Championships (known as NAIDC or NANS)
2013 - Anaheim, California
CLRG World Championships:
Hey My Irish Dancers,
How are you this lovely September? From what I hear back home, the weather has been picture perfect for autumn. I must admit I miss that. There really is nothing like fall in America; the pumpkin patches, football games, Halloween candy overflowing the grocery store’s shelves and crisp feeling in the air. Ireland’s weather from the summer has carried right over in to the fall with rainy days and colder than desired temperatures. But, I am in Ireland, so you can’t have everything!
While we are use to apple picking and visiting local farms for face painting and haunted houses, Galway is currently coming off of the buzz from the annual Clarenbridge Oyster Festival. From September 14th to the 16th, the quiet village of Clarenbridge, which is nestled on the banks of the Clarin River, celebrate the two things that make it famous – Guinness and oysters!
To me, the combination seemed a little cringe worthy at first. I’m not a big fan of oysters and to wash them down with anything but water made my stomach slightly turn! But, after deciding that trying it won’t hurt me, I came to realize that it wasn’t all that bad.
Besides gathering for good food, great beer and the craic, Clarenbridge describes the festival as “a celebration of the history of this beautiful village and the energy of a vibrant and modern day community respecting tradition.” So all oysters aside, the festival offers lively entertainment, music and, of course, dancing!
After stomaching as many oysters as I could handle (3 did me in!), my friends and I decided to get in on the festival’s action. After listening to some great banks, walking around the village and watching the “most stylist” get crowned, we tried our hats at some dancing. At first, 80’s music took reign and we let loose on the dance floor but as the night went on and more locals ventured in to town, the dancing obviously took a more traditional turn. But after being forced in to doing just a few reels and jigs, I found myself half Irish dancing and half being spun around by the local pup in the pub! The old men loved getting their dancing shoes worn in and getting a brush up on the Irish dances they tried to learn as kids.
All in all, the oyster festival was one of the best weekends I have had in quite a while. What I thought was going to be solely about slimy fish turned out to be about local tradition and laughter. It just proved that my absolute favorite saying about Ireland is always true. “In Ireland, the inevitable never happens and the unexpected constantly occurs.”
Until next time dancers,
Hey My Irish Dancers,
How are you this month? As I always dread every year, I know that August brings the last few weeks of summer. With fall clothes already in the stores, August can sometimes be a bit of a downer. But I am always determined to remember that we still have a great chunk of summer fun left and we shouldn’t dare waste it!
So, with this one last summer “step,” I decided to bring you all an extra special blog post. When I moved to Ireland two years ago and started my Master’s Degree in Journalism, I was fortunate enough to be in a class of amazing Irish people! One of my fellow classmates in particular, Carla O’Brien, shared a very special hobby of mine – dance.
A native of Caledon, Co. Tyrone in Northern Ireland, Carla toured Japan, China, Korea, the United States and Europe with Riverdance for three years as the Principle Female dancer. Some of Carla’s many awards include winning the North American, Ulster, Great Britain, All-Ireland and World Senior Ladies Championships. And just this past year, Carla performed for Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain during her visit to Dublin.
Check out my chat with Carla below full of advice, stories and a bit of craic!
Carla, what age were you when you started Irish dancing?
What was it that made you want to first start dancing? Anything in particular?
When did you know it was something that you wanted to take more seriously than just a hobby?
Another big moment for me was the night of the Eurovision song contest in 1994. I remember tripping around the living room trying to copy Jean Butler as she performed the slip jig to Bill Whelan's Riverdance. After seeing the standing ovation that followed and seeing the reaction of people in the audience I thought, "Wouldn't it be cool to receive applause like that for doing something that you love?”
What was the hardest part about joining Riverdance?
It’s probably a cliché but the hardest part is being away from family and friends. As much fun as you're having there are times and special moments that you just wish you could tell them about or that they could share with you. Sometimes I couldn't help myself...often I forgot about that I was in a different time zone and would wake up my folks at all hours of the morning to tell them how great my day was or how well a particular show went!
What would be your advice for dancers who want to get to a professional level, such as joining Riverdance?
If you work hard and listen to the constructive criticism of your teachers, you'll get the best out of yourself and in my opinion, that's the surest way to make your dream a reality.
Carla’s backup plan? Journalism! She is now a journalist at RTE in Dublin and still dances whenever she can.
A big thanks to my lovely friend, Carla, for her contribution to this blog! I hope her advice and experiences will inspire you, my fellow dancers, to always pursue your dancing dreams and never give up no matter what the hardships.
Until next time dancers,
Hey My Irish Dancers,
How are you all holding up in the Chicago heat? I hope it’s not too unbearable. I do have to admit that I am slightly jealous of all the Facebook snapshots I see of friends back at home. Everyone is living at North Avenue Beach, sipping on ice-cold lemonade and getting a great tan just from one day out in the sun! Galway, on the other hand, has been under a constant cloud of rain and chilly weather. I still have to wear my jacket most days and regret wearing sandals within moments of stepping outside. But, it is the west coast of Ireland so I can’t complain too much!
One thing that has brightened up Galway in the last few weeks even when the clouds refuse to move is the Volvo Ocean Boat Race. As I write you this blog, I am still coming down from the energy, excitement and buzz that have engulfed the city! For those of you who don’t know much about it, the Volvo Ocean Boat Race is a nine-month long race around the world, with teams passing through four oceans and five continents along the way! After making stops at places like Cape Town, Abu Dhabi and Miami, Galway was the perfect city chosen to be the finish line. And as you can imagine, what a finish it was.
Dubbed the “biggest party Ireland will see all year,” the Volvo Ocean Boat Race festivities started on June 30th and lasted until July 8th, even including a great firework display for the 4th of July. The docs were transformed in to The Race Village, which hosted the boat crews and included a main stage with great entertainment. And across the bridge by the Spanish Arch was The Global Village, which included rides and games for kids. And although Team USA came in 3rd place out of 6 teams, it was New Zealand that splashed in ahead of the rest to come in first.
And even though these festivities are over and Galway has somewhat quieted down, I know it is only a matter of time before the pubs are jam packed again and the clinking of pint glasses can be heard from just about anywhere. These anticipated days we have to look forward to are none other than the Galway Races.
With exciting horse racing and jaw-dropping fashion (fascinator’s galore!), the Galway Racecourse is the only place in town worth being at. From July 30th to August 5th, the Galway Races has everything from Ladies Day with a Best Dressed Competition to Family Day and Mad Hatter Day. And knowing just how creative us dancers can be with colors and patters from designing our own solo dresses, I’m sure any one of us could win that prize!
Well dancers, I must get going. Don’t miss my next blog post, where I’ll share my interview with my former classmate, Riverdance’s Carla O’Brien!
Keep it reel, Dancers. ☺
Hey my Irish Dancers,
How are we this week? Well, just like my last blog post to you, the weather here in Galway isn’t the same as my wonderful mood. It’s been raining here for two days straight, but I am hoping the clouds get it all of their system now to give us a lovely weekend ahead! Here’s to hoping.
But weather troubles aside, summer is definitely in full swing here on the west coast. Tourists and study abroad students have settled in to become permanent residents for the summer and the country’s many festivals have begun. And speaking of festivals, one of the oldest and most famous Galway festivals is just around the corner – the Galway Arts Festival.
Running from July 16-29th, the Galway Arts Festival is definitely one of my favorite things about an Irish summer. With everything from music, theatre, plays and of course, dance, the festival’s bright lights and vibrant characters are the perfect thing to set Galway on fire during the summer months! And for so many of you that have been to Galway, you know just how great a setting is it for such an innovative festival. It highlights arts and culture and we all know just how important dance is to that!
With dancing always on the brain, I went out walking the other day and stumbled upon what I think might be an old dance studio that locals use to blow off some steam..through their toes! The windows were covered and the lights weren’t very bright but after hearing traditional Irish music and being the curious gal that I am, I got as close as I could and peered in through the bottom of the window. I saw a group of about 10 boys and girls, all different ages, dancing in both hard and soft shoes to the music being played by the small trad band in the corner. There was no structure, no teacher, just locals dancing and have a bit of a session!
I’ll admit that while I was so excited about this carefree dancing session I found, I decided not to go in and disturb them. I think I’ll go out walking a bit earlier again next week and see if they will let me join in. I’ll let you know how it goes, dancers. It just goes to show you that no matter where you are, a bit of craic is never too far away!
Until next step dancers,
Hey my Irish Dancers,
How are you this week? Unfortunately, the weather here in Ireland hasn’t budged since my last blog post. Rain still spills down at unexpected times and I’ve found myself still wearing my winter coat (only on occasion)! But let’s hope it turns around soon. As so many of you probably know, there really is nothing better than a beautiful summer day here on the Emerald Isle. The magic of this place that so many speak of becomes undoubtedly evident on a sunny day. So as we say here in Galway..roll on summertime!
But on another foot, I just finished watching the amazing video of the An Comhdhail World Irish Dancing Championships on the magazine’s website. I caught a glimpse of Michael D. Higgins, the President of Ireland, and thought that I would share with you my very special meeting with him last year.
It was last April and the previous President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, came to my university – The National University of Ireland, Galway – with her husband and Michael D. Higgins to give a talk to students. After the speeches were over, we had the opportunity to stay and mingle with the country’s future president. After a short and nervous introduction (on my part), I told President Higgins a very short version of how I cam to live in Ireland and how much I love the country and its people. And to my surprise, he asked about my hometown of Elmhurst! He was delighted to hear about my small suburb outside Chicago, my history with Irish dancing and if I had ever met Obama. He is a very sweet man – one you wouldn’t mind having a pint with in the pub if time would allow!
And speaking of pubs, I have an even better story for you dancers to get you on your feet. It was about two weeks ago and I decided to go down to the pub called The Spanish Arch with some friends for a few pints. We had planned on having a quiet and relaxing evening, one with shared conversation and a few laughs with quiet Irish music as a backdrop. But once we ordered our ciders and settled in to a table at the front of the pub, the idea of a quiet evening soon became a thing of the past.
With live Irish music on the stage just a few feet away from us, we couldn’t help but join in the sing-alongs to classic Irish songs such as “Whiskey In the Jar,” “Wild Rover” and “Galway Girl.” It wasn’t long before people were up on their feet and dancing simple steps to the beat of the music. And with my friends not ones to be modest, they sometimes take it upon themselves to tell everyone who is dancing that I did many years of Irish dance and would love to join them!
A few sips of cider and a little convincing later, I was on my feet doing the slip jig – steps I had done so many times they became embedded in my memory. And before I knew it, I was doing the slip jig and treble reel in the pub.
It wasn’t until my friends somewhat forced me to start dancing that I remembered how free it actually makes me feel. Sometimes, it’s as if the entire world falls quiet and it’s just me floating across the floor, doing the steps that I have done so many times before, and realizing that this is one of the greatest forms of expression – a feeling that I know so many of you know all too well.
Well dancers, that’s it for me this time from across the pond. I can see the sun trying to peak out of the clouds so I may have to take a walk out to Salthill – I have to soak it up while I can! I’ll be sure to write you again soon.
Stay reel, dancers. ☺
We've been doing a lot of behind the scenes work on the website lately. We are revamping the dance schools listing, so you can easily locate a school by region. If you think you're school should be listed let us know and we'll get it up as soon as we get permission from the school's director.
But - our biggest news is that we have a new moderator, Caitlin aka eisd4ever. Caitlin is a very active user, who is there to help or just chat whenever you need her. Congrats Caitlin!
Today has been a day of contests here at IDM. From announcing the winners of April's drawing for a week at Camp Rince Ceol to putting up information on our newest contest to help design a logo for the 2013 An Coimisiun World's. It seems there is always something exciting going on here!
I hope that many of you will enter the Worlds Logo Contest drawing. Let me know if you submit an entry and I'll upload a fun new badge to your page.