17 February 2008
Life as an Irish Dancer
I believe that through hard work and dedication, one can succeed in reaching personal goals. In order to have achieved my goals in Irish dancing, this is something I truly believe.
When I was twelve, I was the youngest dancer in my championship level dance class. I danced twenty hours per week. I pounded through agonizing numbers and strict drills, enduring severe heat and excruciating pain. In order to successfully complete these laborious practices, complete dedication was necessary. Even though I was the youngest dancer in my class, I still earned a position in the final dance, the hardest of all dances. I would be center stage, accompanied by world class Irish dancers.
It was the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day. We worked all year for this very day. I had some free time before my rehearsal, so my sister and I decided to play outside and hold a few harmless competitions. After a short time, we were tied; so there had to be a tie-breaker. It was the long jump: a jump off of the swing set. The object of the game was not only to become airborne, but to gain distance as well. I leaped into the air with a beautiful dismount, but somehow I managed to land on my wrist, instead of my feet.
I fractured my wrist, and was supposed to be out of Irish dance for a couple of weeks. This was terrible timing, especially with St. Patrick’s Day rolling around the corner! I rehearsed all year long, and drilled intensively through summer practices. Everything I worked toward came down to this one night. I begged my doctor to let me dance, and I promised to be careful. After all Irish dancing only takes place on feet, right?
I worked so hard to earn my position, and I was not going to let a fractured wrist stop me. I knew that if I did not work to the best of my abilities, I would be replaced, and I was not going to let that happen. I continued the radical and tiring practices until I reached perfection. I danced until I lost circulation in my arm, and when my fingers started tingling, I raised my arm above my head and continued dancing. I practiced until my feet were bruised and bleeding. My dedication pulled me through the toughest rehearsals and allowed me to achieve my goal of dancing in the final number.
Finally, it was St. Patrick’s Day. It was time to prove myself, to prove my beliefs. It was my time to shine. I stepped on center stage, beginning the a-capella number: bang1, bang2, bang and 1-2 hop back. The thunder grew louder with a percussion of bangs as the world-class dancers joined me on the stage. I finished the final step leaving the audience in awe. I took my bow and looked out into the screaming crowd. I knew that all my hard work and dedication was worth this very moment.