I said remember this moment, in the back of my mind,
The time we stood with our shaking hands
The crowds and stands went wild.
We were the Kings and the Queens
And they read off our names
The night you danced like you knew our lives
Would never be the same
I can't help but think of some of my past Oireachtas memories every time I listen to this song. I can't look back to standing on top of the Southern Regional Oireachtas podium with my senior mixed ceili team without a big grin on my face. I can't listen to these lyrics without remembering the feelings of joy we shared, as the voices filled a crowed hotel ballroom cheering for our team, arms around each other, smiles plastered on our made-up faces.
|Drake School of Irish Dance mixed senior ceili team, 2004|
[That's me on the left!]
It's been 8 years [nearly a decade! eep!] since I last put on a costume for an Oireachtas competition, yet the memories are vibrant as ever. Some memories revolve around podiums, medals, world qualifications, and dreams coming true. Others involve flashbacks of heartbreak, missed opportunities, and tears. Regardless of the results of that year's regional competition, one factor resonates throughout my Oireachtas memories: the friendships I've made through dance and reflections on the unforgettable times we shared.
With Oireachtas season in full swing, Irish dancers worldwide are practicing til their feet bleed to reach their personal goals. Some are working for a recall at their very first O. Champions are vying to crack the top 10. Veterans are waiting for their chance to return to the big stage at Worlds this spring in Boston. Everyone is reaching-to-a-star :)
|My 1st Oireachtas, my 1st recall, my first 2-hand partner, and one of my dearest friends|
If you're one of those dancers, here is my [extremely sappy, but heartfelt] message for you: I hope this year's Oireachtas is full of happy memories and goals achieved. I hope you dance your best. I hope if you cry, they are tears of joy. I hope you meet and exceed the standards you have set for yourself this year. I hope every last one of you makes it to Boston, but most of all, I hope you cherish the times you have with the friends and dancers you are surrounded by: the dancers you share your classes with, the dancers you share the Oireachtas stage with, and hopefully the dancers you share the podium with.
|Seems like just yesterday! So glad to still call this beautiful dancer my friend :)|
I'm so thankful for the cherished friendships I've made through Irish dance. I'm not sure what exactly makes Irish dance friendships different than the friendships I've made outside of dance, but they really are unique. Maybe it's the literal blood, sweat, and tears we shed together over the years. Maybe it's the long hours spent at dance studios, in hotels, and on stage together. Regardless of why, my dance friends remain the people I can call and pick things up with like we just had lunch yesterday, even if we haven't chatted in months. They are the friends I can run into at a pub, dance a treble reel with the band together, and laugh hysterically about workshops and Oireachtas antics from years ago. From two-hand partners to former Oireachtas rivals, those dancers have remained my closest friends long after our medals and trophies have tarnished.
Long live the relationships you share with your fellow Irish dancers & long live the unforgettable memories you'll make with those friends at this year's Oireachtas! Best of luck to all!