Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blog Challenge: Happy Halloween, Irish Dancers!

One of my favorite dance blogs, The Dance Buzz, issued yet another fun challenge this month: share an idea for a fall dance class!

Now, I love fall just as much as the next girl, but here in Florida, fall isn't all that special [Correction: fall isn't that special besides Florida Football! GO GATORS!]. The leaves don't change color or fall off the trees. The weather is just now beginning to get a bit chilly, by Florida standards of course.  Nothing really makes fall stand out from summer here in the sunshine state...except for Halloween!

My roomie carved this adorable University of Florida jack-o-lantern! #freehand
I'll be the first to admit, I'm slightly super obsessed with Halloween. First of all, the Irish practically invented Halloween, not to brag [read this article to see what I'm talking about]. Secondly, what's not to love about a holiday that includes costumes, candy, parties, candy, trick-or-treating, and did I mention, candy?! [Hi, my name is Moira, and I'm addicted to candy...] Anyway, combining one of my favorite holidays and Irish dance is even more exciting than a mountain of candy!

Lucky for me, Halloween falls on a Wendsday this year, and on Wednesdays, I teach a super fun class called Ceili Club :) For Halloween, the dancers are encouraged wear a dance costume of their choice to class, instead of their usual dress code [plain white top, black shorts or skirt, and poodle socks]... how fun is that?! I've seen some cute pictures of other Irish dance costume classes for Halloween [like Scoil Rince Saoirse] & I'm thrilled for ours :) Oh, and I'll be channeling my inner Lord of the Dance star for class...teaching in a costume inspired by the show! [photo in costume to follow]

This LOTD costume to be exact...on the ladies. I will NOT be wearing a gold satin shirt  :)
On top of costumes at Ceili Club, I'm planning to teach a Halloween-esque ceili. I'm thinking we'll dance the Bonfire Dance. Although the Bonfire Dance was traditionally danced on St. John's Eve, I think it's perfectly suited for a ceili class that falls on Halloween. Centuries ago, the ancient Celts celebrated Samhain, or the end of summer, at the time when we now celebrate Halloween. Since they believed on this day the spirits of the dead could return to the mortal world, those crafty ancient Celts lit bonfires and wore disguises [read: costumes!] to ward off malevolent spirits. I can't think of a more perfect way to celebrate Halloween than to dance the bonfire dance in costume... just in case there are any evil spirits trying to get into the dance studio?! SpoOooOOoooky :) 

Want to learn more about the history of Samhain in Ireland, and how that has influenced our modern celebration of Halloween? Read this great article from Irish Central: Top Ten Irish Traditions for Halloween

Happy Halloween, Irish dancers! What are you doing to celebrate? Does your dance school do anything fun & spooky for the holiday?

Keep Dancing,

PS: Here's my treat for all of you... My all-time favorite seasonal video, "Halloween" by Jerry Seinfeld! Enjoy & get candy :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Giveaways on Facebook [The Irish Dancer & Usula Celano Ireland]

Two great giveaways for Irish dancers are currently running on Facebook! Up for grabs are a lovely bag and purse set + a gorgeous tiara. Be sure to enter for a chance to win!

Bag & Purse set [Ursula Celano Ireland]

Win a traditional boat bag and matching purse by liking and sharing Ursula Celano Ireland's picture on Facebook! Enter by Halloween [October 31] for a chance to win.

Link to the picture to like and share:

... wouldn't it make a lovely dance bag? Or beach bag? Or school bag? ...So many possibilities!
Tiara [The Irish Dancer]

Win a stunning gold plated, A/B crystal Sinead Tiara from The Irish Dancer [] by liking their Facebook page [] Enter by November 30th!

The perfect crowing touch for any Irish dancing look! 

Good luck to all, and thanks Ursula Celano Ireland and The Irish Dancer for these great giveaways! 

Keep Dancing,

[Note: These giveaway contests are not from On My Toes. I'm just sharing these great giveaways from two of my favorite suppliers of goods for Irish dancers worldwide]

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Irish Dancing: Gangnam Style

I honestly have no words for how hilarious I find this parody of  "Gangnam Style" from the Drake School of Irish Dance...

Sometimes Irish dance is ALL about dresses and wigs and perfect feet and winning...and sometimes Irish dance is just about having way too much fun with your dance school and being seriously silly with your teachers! This video from the Drake School manages to combine it all.

Oh, and yes, this is my old dance school, and my fabulous TCRG, the one and only, Mr. Karl Drake. 

Drake's "Gangnam Style" parody definitely had this Drake alumna cracking up at her computer. What do you think of their take on Gangnam style? 

Keep dancing [and laughing!],

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dance Outfit of the Day: Hot Pink + Navy

I've been on vacation for the last two weeks-ish, and today it's back to the real world...including dance! This outfit is almost identical to the one I'll be sporting at class tonight.

Dance Outfit of the Day

Top: Hot pink [October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, after all] & flowy [since I've been in Italy eating far too much delicious pasta]

Leggings: Capri length so my students can actually see my feet, and navy [I'm loving this hot pink + navy combo]

Shoes: Trainers, lights, & heavies [duh!]

Hairband: Required to keep my massive quantities of unruly hair off my face! I usually wear my hair in a bun, but my locks have a mind of their own...

What do you wear to dance? How do you keep your hair back? Does your dance school have a dress code?

Keep dancing,

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What's in Shelly's Dance Bag?

[Remember this summer's "What's in my Dance Bag?" series? It's back! I'm out of town in Italy this week, so in place of "Ceili of the Week," here's a fun look into another fantastic Irish dancer & blogger's dance bag...enjoy!]

Shelly Allen is an open championship Irish dancer who dances with the Shelley School of Irish Dance in Utah, USA. She is also an artist who specializes in graphic art, photography & web design. Visit Shelly's website:

My name is Shelly Allen! I dance with the Shelley School of Irish Dance in Utah, USA. I've been dancing with the school for 9 years now. When I'm not dancing, I love to create graphic art, take photos of other Irish dancers, and update my Irish dance blog ( ).

My dance bag is basically a small carry-on travel bag. I bought it a couple years ago when I was traveling a lot to feiseanna. It's small enough to fit in any luggage compartment, yet big enough to fit everything I need (minus a solo dress) for a weekend feis trip. Since transferring shoes and other things from one bag to another all the time can increase the risk of losing things, I take the same bag to class during the week. I have never bought anything but Rutherford Super-Flexi hard shoes. I love that even when they aren't yet broken in, I can still toe walk in them. I always buy Hulluchan 2 ghillies. I actually prefer Hulluchan Pros, but they stopped making them a few years ago. I love that they are padded on the inside and they hug your feet better than cheaper brands. I also like to keep some practice sneakers in my bag for long classes. My feet will start to cramp up if I've been dancing in my tight ghillies for more than 2 hours, that's when these practice sneakers come in handy.

As I said, my bag can fit a lot of things at once. I've packed for a 2 day, 3 night trip to the Oireachtas a few times and easily fit everything I needed in this bag! Since I haven't gone to a feis for a few months now, until I pulled everything out to take photos, I'd forgotten a lot of this stuff was in there!

Besides my shoes, here's a list of everything else I found in my bag:
  • Headphones ~ Great for long flights that offer free movies or satellite TV on the way to a feis.
  • Flower Hair Clip ~ I wear this flower with my pink solo dress. I've started just keeping it in my bag so I don't every forget to bring it to shows.
  • Bobby Pins & Pony-tail Holders ~ I use these pretty much every class, plus I need them for shows to help keep my wig on.
  • Theraband ~ We use these in class to stretch our feet and ankles. I bought one off Tina so I could stretch my feet at home as well.
  • Black Duct Tape ~ To keep my hard shoes from slipping at shows.
  • Blister Bandages ~ I use these when breaking in new hard shoes. I still don't know how to prevent blisters!
  • Safety Pins ~ I always keep a few of these in my bag to pin on my competition number at feiseanna.
  • Extra Shoes Laces ~ You never know when you're gunna need one!
  • Oireachtas Badge ~ I didn't even realize I still had this in my bag! I got it at the 2011 Oireachtas and forgot to take it out and put it with my trophies. :)
  • Bun Wig and Tiara ~ Our dance company does a lot of shows this time of year, so I've just been keeping my bun wig and tiara in my bag so I never forget it. It's always embarrassing to be the one dancer who doesn't quite match everyone else.
  • Sock Glue ~ We all know what this is for... :) However, this particular bottle is completely empty. I'm only keeping it in my bag to remind myself to buy a new bottle!
  • Sweat Shirt ~ I always keep one of these in my bag. I don't know about you, but I sweat a lot in class. Sometimes it's nice to have an extra layer to hide all the perspiration. ;)
I've been using this bag for about 5 years now and I love it. We've seen a lot of great times together! The sides are a little beat up, but I won't be giving it up anytime soon. It's going to see a lot more feiseanna before I'm done with it.

Photos & blog post by Shelly Allen.
Visit Shelly's Irish dance blog:
Check out Shelly's Irish Dance graphic art on Facebook: Irish Dance

[Thanks so much to Shelly Allen for this wonderful peek into her beloved dance bag! I adore her wonderful photography, blog, and AMAZING graphic art!] 

Keep Dancing,
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