Monday, April 22, 2013

Wrapping Boston & Jane in Our Love

{Photo from the Clifden Academy Facebook page}
One week ago, the world watched in horror as bombs went off at the finish line of the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. Almost immediately upon learning of the loss of 8-year-old Martin Richard, and critical injuries sustained by his mother and 6-year-old sister Jane, Irish dancers worldwide banded together in support of one of our own. One week later, what can we do to help the Richard family and other victims of this senseless crime?

Wrapping Jane in Our Love 

Irish dancer Bree Johnson and her mother Trish {of the Glencastle Irish Dancers} began this facebook group to support Jane. The pair were inspired to donate a quilt to Jane, a beginning Irish dancer at the Clifden Academy, to comfort her and show how much the Irish dancing community loves and supports her. They have gathered over 400 T-shirts from Irish dance schools across the country and world. These shirts will be sewn into quilts and donated to Jane. Even Michael Flately {the Lord of the Dance himself} has offered his support to this project, saying "T-shirts will be on the way early next week from Michael and the Lord of the Dance Troupe currently touring Russia. Jane and her family are in our thoughts and prayers." 

If you would like to donate a T-shirt, visit Wrapping Jane in Our Love on facebook for more information. Monetary donations are also appreciated. As a quilter myself, I can only imagine the amount of threads, fabrics, and supplies Trish and Bree will require for this massive project.

Red Sox for Jane

Another Irish dance family was inspired to support Jane and the victims of the bombings by collecting poodle socks. Irish dancers can mail their new or used {and clean} poodle socks, to be dyed red by dancers and sold as a fundraiser. Profits will be donated to the victims fund. More information can be found on the Red Sox for Jane facebook page.

Donations to the Richard Family

According to the Richard family's pastor, the family is asking for prayers and privacy during this difficult time.  Fr. Sean M. Connor of Saint Ann Parish Neponset in Dorchester, Massachusetts made several suggestions to support the Richard family in a letter on the parish's website. If you are in the Boston area, consider donating blood to Children's Hospital Boston through their "Pints for Half-Pints" program. If you're unable to donate blood, consider donating toys, books, stuffed animals, or other items to Children's Hospital Boston. More information for donation of items can be found {here}.

Many Irish dancers and schools have organized dance-outs to raise funds and support for Jane, the Richard family, and Boston. Are you one of those dancers? What have you done to show your love and support for these victims? Let's hear what else Irish dancers are doing to show their compassion in the aftermath of this tragedy. 

Keep Dancing,

Monday, April 1, 2013

Back to Boston

Congratulations to everyone who danced at Worlds this past week! Hope everyone had an amazing time in Boston... know I did! From the dancing to the sightseeing, it was a week to remember :)

Caitlin, myself, Laura, & Danielle at Faneuil Hall 

Sadly, I couldn't make it to Boston for Worlds this year... but I was in Boston for the North American Irish Dancing Championships back in 2002, my very first NANs! Boston holds so many amazing Irish dance memories for me, from NANS 2002 to several fabulous summers at Boston College's Gaelic Roots summer program.

Still one of my favorite hoodies!

Can you tell these pictures are from nearly 13 years ago? I haven't rocked jorts and a cami in public in quite some time. Or puka shells for that matter. [Boy, do I feel old.] However, my super-tan legs have 2013 World Championships of Irish Dance written all over them!

Our poodle socks were taller and our crowns had less crystals, but it seems like just yesterday we were side-stage for a major in Boston. Times & styles have certainly changed, but I hope everyone in Boston this past week had just as much fun as I did with my friends from the Drake & Butler Schools of Irish dance.

Were you in Boston?! This year? Happy April Fools!

Keep Dancing,

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Keep Calm & Irish Dance - Free Printables!

Top Dance Blog update: Don't forget to VOTE for On My Toes in the favorite dance blog and recreational dancer categories. Click here to vote! {please}

Voting takes just a few clicks & ends January 31st at 10pm. Thank you for getting On My Toes into the final round of the Top Dance Blog competition! 

With St. Patrick's Day and Worlds coming up in the next few months, Irish dancers everywhere {including myself} are in practice overdrive! I don't know about you, but I love am obsessed with motivational posters and trinkets. My sister makes fun of me, because I adore corny, inspirational everything. thing led to another and I found myself making these inspirational Irish dance printables. You can download them for free! 

I picked a few colors I like, but feel free to leave a comment on this post, send a tweet to @MoiraOnMyToes, or post on On My Toes' facebook page if you have a specific color request... maybe to match your solo dress, or in your dance school's colors :) 

Keep Calm & Irish Dance

Keep Calm & Train for Boston

What are you practicing for? St. Patrick's day performances? Worlds? A feis? Just for fun? Do you like this printable? What other printables would you like?

Keep Dancing,

Monday, January 28, 2013


PLEASE VOTE for On My Toes in the favorite dance blog recreational dancer categories: {click here to VOTE}
Voting just takes a few clicks {of your mouse, not your hardshoes! haha} Thank you! Polls close on January 31st at 10pm.  Thank you for getting On My Toes into the finals for the Top Dance Blog competition!

While preparing for the TCRG exam, I'm learning & re-learning the traditional set dances required for the exam: St. Patrick's Day, The Blackbird, Jockey to the Fair, Job of Journeywork, King of the Fairies,  Garden of Daisies, & Three Sea Captains. As Irish dancing has evolved greatly since these sets were created, these hardshoe dance may seem a bit... well, traditional. {duh!} They're made up of trebles, tips, drums, rocks, toes, heels, kick-your-heels, and the occasional click. No axles, double clicks,

Despite the lack of exciting new moves, practicing these sets has really made me feel like a part of something bigger. Being an Irish dancer is kind of like being a historian. Each of us has a duty to help our artform evolve  through new, competitive, creative steps & tricks, but we also have to remain true to what makes Irish dance special, unique, and different from other forms of dance. Maybe I'm just a history nerd...I was historian of my high school class, a two time county History Fair winner, & the Vice President of Fraternity Development of my sorority in college {aka the VP that makes sure the chapter retains the values of Pi Beta Phi's 146 year history}... but I really love learning more about the history of Irish dance.

This compilation of video footage from a 1929 Irish dance competition in Dublin has been circulating through the online Irish dance community for the last few weeks. After watching it, I definitely feel more connected to those dancers, the traditional set dances I'm working on, and the Irish dance community at large. Though the costumes, shoes, and steps have evolved, I love seeing historical footage like this just as much as watching the top dancers of recent years.

What do you think of the 1929 Irish dancers? Do you like dancing traditional sets?

Keep Dancing,

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ceili of the Week: The Three Tunes

Before we get to into all the ceili fun, please don't forget to comment on the previous post {click here} to vote for On My Toes in the Top Dance Blog 2013 Contest! Thanks! Now, onto the fun stuff... 

As the new year begins, the dance classes at the studio where I teach are beginning to learn their dances for the spring recital. Recital dances, as they're called, are really looked forward to by all the dancers. My beloved "Ceili Club" will be performing The Three Tunes this year, and the dancers are SO excited!

The 1996 Minor Ceili World Champions
Dancing The Three Tunes {1st dance of this video}

Weren't those dancers phenomenal?! Their energy, precision, and lines are definately qualities all ceili dancers should strive for... which is probably while I'll have the Ceili Club watch this video too! 

The Three Tunes is ...
-- An eight-hand Figure dance, from County Armagh
-- Danced to three tunes: Haste to the Wedding (jig), Leslie's Hornpipe, The German Beau (reel)

Movements of the Dance
Formation: Eight dancers in ring, holding hands
          {a} Sides (jig)
          {b} Rings (jig)
          {c} Lead Around (reel)
          {d} Stamp and Clap (reel)
          {e} See-Saw (hornpipe)
          {f} Roly-Poly (hornpipe)
          {g} Hook and Chain (jig)
          {h} Rings (jig)
          {i} Sides under Arms (reel)
          {j} Stamp and Clap (reel)
          {k} Thread the Needle (hornpipe)
          {i} Roly-Poly (hornpipe)

Why do I {love} this Ceili? 

Originally, the Ceili Club & I debated between performing the Sweets of May vs. The Three Tunes in the recital this year. After watching both dances on video, we decided that The Three Tunes was more appealing to an audience, because of the music changes and lack of repetition throughout the dance! We love that this figure dance doesn't have a body that repeats between figures, so the dance remains exciting to watch.  Plus, this dance has lots of stamping, clapping, roly-polies {is that the plural of roly-poly?!}, and even threatening fist shaking! Yes, Ar Rince Foirne actually says to shake fist "in a threatening manner." Only in Irish dance...

Have you danced The Three Tunes, or even competed in a feis with this dance? What do you like about The Three Tunes? 

Keep Dancing,

Monday, January 14, 2013

Top Dance Blog Contest 2013 {VOTE for On My Toes}

The Dance Advantage is running their annual Top Dance Blogs Contest for 2013...and I've decided to enter! Last year, I remember reading the "Top Blog" winners and feeling so inspired to write & dance... & write about dance!
Vote for On My Toes by commenting on this post!
I'm entering the "Recreational Dancer" category {teen or adult dancers discussing classes, making time for dance, & more}. Like I said in my last post, I couldn't have dreamed how many readers and dancers have viewed On My Toes and I can't thank you all enough! Connecting with dancers and bloggers from across the globe has really become my favorite aspect of writing this blog.

Will you help me become a Top Dance Blog? 

All you need to do is vote for On My Toes, by commenting on this post by Tuesday January 22nd!

So easy, right?! Comment with your favorite post, something you've learned from this blog, what you like best about this blog, a topic you'd like to hear more about, or just say hi. Just comment... please?! :) Oh, and maybe tell your friends, family, dance class, or anyone with a computer to comment on this post too?! Thank you again for all the support you've given me! The blogs with the most comments will enter the "finals" voting round of the Top Dance Blog Contest.

Keep dancing,

PS: One of my favorite Irish dance blogs, Rince Go Bragh, is also entering the contest {head over to her blog to help her too!}.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

One Year Later {On My Toes' Top 10}

Just over a year ago, I began writing this blog as I ended my lengthy hiatus from Irish dancing and began really thinking about becoming a TCRG. On My Toes was a way for me to connect with other Irish dancers and share my love for Irish dance with whoever happened upon my blog. I could never have imagined that one short year later I would have reached over 27,000 readers and dancers from the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Not only have I gained the support of thousands of people worldwide, but I'm also teaching Irish dance at a local non-profit dance school as I prepare to take the TCRG exam this fall. What a difference a year can make! 

Thank you all for reading my blog, following me @MoiraOnMyToes on Twitter, liking On My Toes on Facebook, and supporting me as a dancer, teacher, and blogger. Here are your top 10, most viewed posts from the past year! 

Keep Dancing,
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