When You’re Best Friends… and Irish Dancers

August 12, 2012

It has been so fun watching you two find friendship in my classes.  You both walked into your first Irish dance class, and met each other.  Your personalities matched you together perfectly.  Soon you were one inseparable unit.  Practicing steps together at your homes, making silly t-shirts commemorating your mutual wierdness, making everyone in class smile with your inside jokes.  You helped each other through learning the tough steps, surviving your first feis together, facing the little challenges along the way.


You’ve both come a long way, zipping through the beginner levels and working quickly through the novice and prizewinner bottlenecks.  Here is where the tough part starts.  

For being so alike, you’re actually very different dancewise.  One a natural dancer with beautiful legs, the other a hard worker who won’t quit till it’s right.  You’re watching each other intently, figuring out why the other is so much better at (fill in the blank here).  Little bits of jealousy start to flit back and forth.  Secretiveness when needing help on a movement.  Tracking each other’s placements as much as your own. I worry.  The lightness leaves your friendship in the heat of the classes.  More short comments and sitting across the room from each other.


Please don’t give up on each other.  Yes, one will probably progress faster in hardshoe, the other in softshoe.   One may even qualify for Preliminary, leaving her best friend to struggle in Prizewinner just a bit longer… just a year, or two.  It will all even out.


Your friendship can’t be based on dancing equality.  You’re both working hard, both giving it all you’ve got.  Let your mutual drive be your friendship protector.  Help each other, support each other.  Laugh off the differences, especially in competitive level.  Don’t let the competition break what is so special to all of us.


Friendship is more important. Without it, the joy will leave.  Fight for it. Please.

5 Responses to “When You’re Best Friends… and Irish Dancers”

  1. K said

    I really could have written this myself! Thank you for always being dead on with your ideas….. what a great insight! I find this to be true for those entering prelim and also those entering into Open – the stress is so tough between the dancers….. and especially in a small school – it only intensifies! Thank you for the insight that sooo few see! It is enlightening!

  2. Love this post. Reading this really brings me back to struggling to get out of novice at the same time as my Irish Dance BFF and 2-hand partner. It was over a decade ago… and we still refer to that time as “the cold war.” It was hard to talk to each other, let alone be happy when one of us placed higher than the other at a feis. I’m happy to say that 14 years later, we’re still friends, with many more happy memories than hurt feelings…and it’s all because of Irish dance.

  3. L said

    Well said! My daughter has 10 other dancers in her age group at her school. At times they are all friends but sometimes the competition seems to be too much. We love feising with our friends but sometimes try to go out of region just to get away from our own school pack!!

  4. TCRG said

    Just lovely; thank you so much for this! In a perfect world, every dancer would progress at the same rate. It breaks my heart to see rifts forming between friends in my own classes. 🙂

  5. Kimberly said

    Thanks for this!

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