Month: September 2013

RinceBits: Derry parade of champs, win ghillies, ID Vine MVPs

Welcome back to RincePop’s lated RinceBits installment! Here’s a little taste of what’s been happening in the dance world:

  • It’s officially fall, and that means many dancers across the United States — in my region, for sure — are ramping up for regional oireachtas competitions. With that in mind, here’s a little inspiration to jump higher, point pretty and keep those taps in time: Derry parade of champs! Man, I can’t even begin to comprehend how some of those youngsters got SO GOOD in the few years they’ve been walking.

  • As I mentioned a few weeks back, Irish dancer Christy Dorrity’s new novel “Awakening” comes out Sept. 24. Not only is the author a dancer, so is one of her book’s leading characters! It gets even better: Christy will be giving away a pair of Hulluchan Pro Irish dance ghillies to one of her lucky readers. Find out how to enter the drawing here.
  • Nominations for Feisonista’s Best of Irish Dance are in, and it’s now time to pick some winners. Vote for your favorite shoemakers, dress designers, accessory vendors and more.
  • I’m looking for a few good Vine and Instagram accounts to follow. Know of any? I’m talking about original accounts, not aggregators and rebloggers — I want the REAL DEAL. I’ll feature a few accounts in an upcoming article, so send your suggestions my way.

RinceBits: September 16, 2013

1. Irish dancing beauty queens: Two contestants in the Miss America pageant listed Irish dancing as their talent. Both Miss Connecticut Kaitlyn Tarpey and Miss Illinois Brittany Smith are among the nation’s most beautiful, intelligent and talented women.

Tarpey made it through to the talent round, performing a hard shoe routine to “Reel Around the Sun” from Riverdance. She did not, though, get the chance to answer a question in the interview round.

Miss Connecticut Kaitlyn Tarpey

Miss Illinois Brittany Smith

Miss Illinois Brittany Smith

2. 100 days until Christmas: As of midnight, we’re 100 days away from Christmas. What better way to prepare than to review my Irish dance Christmas list from last year? I’ll be pulling together a brand new list for the upcoming holiday season — a list sure to include beautiful baubles like this hand-painted O’Rourke ornament, posted to the dance school’s Facebook page over the weekend:

o'rourke ornament

3. Lord of the Dance and King of Pop were planning project: Michael Flatley says he was working on a project with Michael Jackson when MJ died. According to UK’s Mirror, Flatley and Jackson were talking about a dance and music spectacular.

“Once he came to my house, he had just turned 50 and we were born the same year. I said, ‘Why don’t we do ­something ­together and we’ll call it 50/50’.

“We were that close to it ­happening and it broke my heart. It would have been a dream. Michael was such a great performer.”

4. Shine bright like a diamond: Feisonista wrote up this fab post about some of the more striking highlighter hues hitting the dancefloor.

5. “Parade of Champions” book on the way: Top Irish dancers from around the globe have been interviewed for a new book all about, well, champions.

“We have gathered the blood, sweat, and tears of all of the top champions, the dancers who have stood atop the podium, danced in the Parade of Champions, worn the sash, and raised the trophy,” the book’s about me section of the official website reads. “We asked them for their secrets, their inspirations, what drives them.”

Here’s a quote from the book:

Screen shot 2013-09-15 at 10.08.50 PM

Kevinah Dargan’s quote from “Parade of Champions” interview

RinceBits: September 9, 2013

Welcome back to for the second batch of RinceBits, Irish dance highlights and happenings from the past week.

Here’s what’s going on lately:

    1. Last Monday, “Heartbeat of Home” gave select audiences a sneak peek at some of the choreography we can expect from the full stage show to debut later this month. The cast of Irish, flamenco, latin and street dancers appeared on RTE’s “Late Late Show,” for one number, which can be streamed here for a limited time.  It’s also embedded below:
    2. Along with acting as the official unveil of choreography, the HBOH performances on the “Late Late Show” and at the BBC Proms also acted as a fashion show of shorts. Feisonista gives an in-depth look at the style choices made for the dancers’ costumes.
    3. This is a little old, but two major Irish dance organizations have come together. Fellow IrishCentral blogger Christy Dorrity reports on the official merger of the World Irish Dance Association (WIDA) and North American Irish Dance Federation (NAIDF). Some dance schools previously associated with NAIDF have formed their own organization, Rince Tuatha Nua.
    4. And speaking of Christy Dorrity, she’s about to launch a new novel centered around an Irish dancing character. “Awakening” comes out Sept. 24. Christy was kind enough to send me an advance e-copy of the book, which I’ll be reviewing for in the weeks ahead.
    5. Irish dancer-turned-model Coco Rocha rocked the New York Fashion Week runway in an interesting way — by dancing, of course. Though she didn’t get much into Irish dance, the performance was otherwise quite stimulating. Watch it below: 

Irish dance falls and fails

One of my biggest fears is that I’ll bite it on stage.

There’s this one part of the “King of the Fairies” traditional set where you stand still, right foot planted, and brush the left foot out, over the right, back out and then behind — but it’s practically in slow motion in contrast with the dance’s otherwise quick movement. I nearly fell over the first time I performed that step on stage, so I’m somewhat scarred.

But we all take tumbles on the dance floor, forget the steps or run face-first into a fellow feis competitor. There’s no reason to be ashamed. To remind myself that I’m not alone in my clumsiness, I sometimes find comfort in knowing others stumble, too.

Here are a few funny falls and fails by Irish dancers. Hope all the dancers came out of the experience without getting hurt!

Rough start, solid recovery:

Not so much a dancer fail as it is a motor scooter blooper:

This is an actual contest?

These dancers are unbelievably talented. Fast forward to 1:06 to see the first take of this video, which features a pretty epic fail:

RinceBits: Irish dance news, served bite-sized

Each Monday, I’ll aim to create a list of buzzworthy news bits from the Irish dance scene.

Without further ado, here’s this weeks list of RinceBits:

  1. Feisonista’s back! Looks like I’m not the only Irish dance blogger who took some time off this past spring and summer. The Feisonista, herself, announced today that her website is back in action and completely revamped. There’s a bunch of fresh content on the site, too!
  2. Hammerstep is featured on the Canon USA website. Watch the guys test out the new Vixia model in this video.
  3. Heartbeat of Home” gears up for world premiere later this month.

RincePop returns

Late spring and summer were especially hectic for me, so I apologize for the lack of posts. Here’s what’s been happening:

hospital bed viewRight before St. Patrick’s Season (yeah, you and I both know it’s more than just a single day of celebration), I ended up in the hospital with bilateral pulmonary embolisms — which means I had blood clots in both my lungs. This particular condition is often fatal, but I was fortunate enough to have strong lungs (thanks, years of Irish dance!), and I made it through after a week in the hospital and a few weeks recovering at home. Parts of my lungs are destroyed, but I was able to build up enough lung strength to return to physical activity in April.

Recovery happened faster than I’d imagined, thankfully. Unfortunately, the doctors weren’t able to determine how or when the clots formed and what caused them to suddenly land in my lungs. I did find out — after months of blood tests — that I have a blood condition that predisposes me to clots. I will most likely be on blood-thinning medication for the rest of my life, which is annoying but necessary.

Dead lung tissue didn’t hold be down for long. By June, I was on may way to Ireland to study Irish music and dance at Blas, a two-week summer program at the University of Limerick. I learned from the best (Catherine Foley, Colin Dunne, Michael Ryan — just to name a few) and danced harder than I’ve ever danced before. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’ll write more about that experience later.SJ and Colin Dunne

Upon returning to the U.S., I jumped back into dance classes and a brand-new position at my full-time place of employment.

It seems like every weekend this summer was filled with activities and responsibilities. And on the two weekends I had nothing of importance to do or see, I ended up sick. This weekend is one of those two weekends.

So, as I sit here sniffling and coughing, I figured I’d get moving on a RincePop relaunch.