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From the Blog

Dance, dance, wherever you may be!

06. 06. 2023

Nora Brennan has been an avid Irish dancer for most of her life, and although she loved the costumes and competitions, she wanted to express how much dancing has positively contributed to the person that she is today. Let’s hear it, Nora!

What better topic for a blog post than my first and forever love…. Irish dancing. If you’re not convinced that giving so much of your time to a hobby is worth it in the long run, read on.

I danced for most of childhood and teen years, but looking back the time really did fly by. I competed right up until my education got quite full-on and required a bit of serious attention to achieve my (very specific) goals. Giving only a fraction of my attention to something that meant so much to me just didn’t sit right, and I decided to hang up my competitive shoes with memories of only ever giving 100%. I had a successful dancing career, and when thinking back, it really has shaped a huge chunk of my now professional career.

The weekends dedicated to competitions, sometimes missing various parties, days out and a list of other social events, taught me commitment and the ability to prioritise at a young age; to understand that sometimes decisions must be made by our present selves to pave the way for our future selves. Dance taught me that nothing worth having in life comes easy.

The nights I had class were a quick turnaround between school, homework, dinner and getting myself sorted and out the door. Dance taught me the ability to multi-task, alongside commitment and productivity.

Dance made me a motivator. There’s a solution to every problem, and criticism can be constructive. Dance challenged me to constantly better myself, showing me the sun cannot shine without a little rain. Dance inspired me to be a leader, and to never give up or look down on anyone. It taught me confidence, one of the greatest gifts I could’ve ever received.

Dance taught me that winning isn’t the be all and end all of life. Taking part is just as (if not more) important.

At the age of 26, I would struggle to list my placements over the years – I do remember the highlights, of course, but where I stood on the podium doesn’t tend to feature within my most favoured memories. What I can recall in detail; the memories inside and outside of class, the friendships, the costumes, the competitions, displays and functions, the days spent drilling the same 10 seconds of a step, this is what I remember. In these moments there was nowhere else in the world I would’ve rather been.

Dance gave me my ‘can-do’ attitude. The courage to be brave enough to fail at something new. Mistakes, mishaps, bumps in the road don’t define you, your ability to get up and keep trying does.

Practicing so hard and not placing as highly as hoped… totally unfair and outrageous, right? An excuse to walk away? That’s life. There are ups, downs, and everything in between. Failure, disappointment, sadness – all emotions we feel and overcome with courage. I was lucky to learn this at a young age. I was lucky to learn that every disappointment isn’t a personal attack, every feeling of failure wasn’t reason to give up. For every down day in the world of dancing came 6 good days, because for every 7 it remained my favourite thing in the whole world. Dance gave me the blessing of persistence.

My dance teachers were a few of the first people to believe in me, and responsible for some of my earliest and most memorable achievements. Dance gave me a purpose in childhood that has motivated my drive to always have a purpose in adulthood.

Anyone reading this who danced themselves or had a similar hobby that took up a lot of their time will understand it could be hard sometimes; friends from outside of that world didn’t always understand why you chose to devote so much free time to something they didn’t appreciate in the same way you did. This same feeling applies to so many aspects of adulthood. Dance taught me to live for myself and not those around me, to do what makes me happy.

Life will give you the choice to sit it out or dance; I’m glad I gave so much of my time to something I loved, I’m glad I made sacrifices, I’m glad I have these memories. I can confidently say that dance made me into the person I am today, and I will always be grateful for that.

If you’re reading this and weighing up whether to sign your child up to a hobby of any kind… they’ll thank you for it in years to come. That wee toddler walking through the doors of their first class will one day be a well-rounded human adult with memories that’ll last a lifetime and a mountain of skills they don’t teach in school.

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