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Irish Dancing - talent or pageant?

(17 Posts)
stickchildren3 Wed 26-Jun-13 12:44:55

My dd (age 8) has just taken part in her first competitive feis. In a nutshell, my eyes were truly opened at what initially looked like a 'beauty' pageant. These girls were fantastic dancers but looked, imo, like caricatures. My daughter went with no make-up, no wig or hair piece, hairy legs, no fake tan and no glittery dress or tiara. She was nervous and made mistakes so it was no surprise she didn't get any medals but what I want to know is this -

is it possible to continue with the dancing (which she loves and is reasonably good at) without going down the whole pageant route? I am not criticising the pageant side of this hobby (it's just not our thing) but am hoping any MNers will reply with knowledge of how far you can progress in this hobby without embracing, what i think are, the extraneous elements.

I appreciate as she gets older she will want to 'look her best' but at the moment all she cares about is the dancing. Her teacher has reassured me that it's the dancing that matters but I just want to gauge opinion. TIA.

BunnyLebowski Wed 26-Jun-13 12:46:49

When I did it as a kid it was just dancing. The only nod to the aesthetic was the dress which was usually handed down from a big sister or cousin.

Now it's like a pageant crossed with TOWIE. Not my bag.

WhatchaMaCalllit Wed 26-Jun-13 12:59:54

It is possible but if you want to get 'serious' about Irish dancing you will need to buy into the whole rigmarole that goes with it.

Some of the dresses are very expensive but if you are considering taking part in national & international Feiseanna, you will need to go down that route - dress, wig, socks, sock-glue, fake tan etc. etc.

It is possible to buy all the gear and not look like TOWIE or a beauty pageant - you just have to be subtle is all smile

stickchildren3 Wed 26-Jun-13 13:00:39

Thanks Bunny, I wonder why it's developed like this?

stickchildren3 Wed 26-Jun-13 13:03:54

I'm good at subtle, there maybe hope!

WhatchaMaCalllit Wed 26-Jun-13 13:06:59

I actually don't know how it went from being entirely about the dancing to having these 'costumes' but it has.

I even hoped that when Riverdance started, the style would change to everyone taking part in a very basic dress (if they were girls) or a shirt and trousers (for boys), but that doesn't seem to be the case.

stickchildren3 Wed 26-Jun-13 13:15:43

It does seem rather bewildering and a shame (imo). It was watching Riverdance when my daughter first became interested and there was certainly none of the 'glamour' there.

linoleum Wed 26-Jun-13 20:45:34

All the glamming up is only as the girls become more serious, and I think you could do it in a more subtle way. If your daughter was dancing in a theatre production you'd not bat an eyelid at her wearing makeup etc to look good and stand out under the lights - same thing? It's not really a pageant - the dresses are all pretty modest (albeit short) and the girls are amazing athletes and are judged on their dancing ability not appearance.

MelanieCheeks Wed 26-Jun-13 20:51:37

It's been that way for quite a few years now, but it is possible to continue dancing without the competition element. Not easy, though.

linoleum Wed 26-Jun-13 20:52:34

and boys of course!

Roshbegosh Wed 26-Jun-13 20:53:47

But why the big silly wigs, they look utterly stupid?

linoleum Wed 26-Jun-13 20:55:17

Do you actually get marks for being orange though? My daughters are not old/good/committed enough to compete at top level, more class feis level only for now, but I had assumed that if they do it more seriously when they get older that they'd just be looking paler than the other girls because I'm not flipping spray tanning them! A bit of subtle eye makeup I'd be happy with, and a wig just saves the hassle of having rag rollers or curlers in surely.

Roshbegosh Wed 26-Jun-13 20:56:47

Whatcha, are you saying it is mandatory? The best dancer in the world couldn't win without the massive ringlet wig and fake tan. Surely not.

linoleum Wed 26-Jun-13 21:01:21

They don't all wear a massive bouncy wig - some put their hair up and have a little bunch of curls on top. The big wigs do look a bit daft...

LalyRawr Wed 26-Jun-13 21:04:33

I did my last Feis close to ten years ago now and never once wore make up or got a fake tan.

We did wear those stupidly heavy dresses and either curled our hair or wore a wig if we didn't want to curl our own hair (fuck knows why, but curly hair is a must for some reason).

I also competed nationally, still didn't go orange!

But it seems things have changed!

stickchildren3 Thu 27-Jun-13 15:53:43

It sounds like we're going to have to embrace it to a certain extent confused but subtle it will certainly be. My dd has worn stage make up for ballet shows where there were stage lights but for this particular feis the girls were literally plastered in the stuff and they were just dancing on mats in a gym with natural light!!

sashh Fri 28-Jun-13 04:32:18

Spay tan?

But so many Irish people have that really pale skin. That amazing skin.

Yes I know you don't have to be Irish to do the dancing, but surely the curly hair and clothes are traditional.

OMG I just did a google image search. It's like toddlers and tiaras with dance moves.

This is interesting, not so much the article as the comments after it.


Good luck you your dd for her next competition, without makeup.

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