The Legs Don’t Always Follow the Mind

Last night we had St. Patrick’s Day classes. It’s only a short time until our rehearsal and about a month until our “March Madness”. Yikes! It was a great class…we got a lot done and I was sweating like New Orleans in July because all our effort turned the studio into a sauna. But as always, there’s a lot of room for improvement on my part.

One of my biggest struggles in Irish dance is trying to get my legs to do what my mind is telling them to do. A strength of mine is quick learning: I pick up steps quickly, I can learn an entire dance in one class, I’m the go to for remembering what we danced a year ago, and I quickly understand technical critique. And then…my legs just won’t do it. A big part of my Irish dance journey is trying to get the legs to do what the mind will tell them.

“Stay on your toes!” I tell myself. Then my heels hit the ground.
“The music is going at x pace and so should I!” I understand. Then I’m behind because my feet don’t move fast enough.
“For the love of dance, PICK UP YOUR FEET!” I scream internally as I’m too tired to pick up my hard shoe-clad foot for a bang.

Side note: If you haven’t seen Irish dance, or haven’t seen it outside stage shows like Riverdance, the Irish hard shoes don’t have metal tips and heels like tap shoes. They have fiberglass tips and heels, and it takes a lot of strength to make good, loud sounds because of this.

I tried to convince myself that I’m struggling with my new hard shoes. While true in part due to their more advanced level design that includes thicker tips, they aren’t so heavy that I can’t pick up my feet normally. If you click the images below, I explain the differences between my original (left) and new (right) shoes as it’s hard to see in the photos.

Champions are made, not born. Some people do have natural talent for physical sports, and that’s not me. Some kids are thrown into dance at age 5 and immediately pick it up and move through the ranks, becoming champions in a few short years and winning major competitions. I didn’t have that opportunity, and even if I did I wouldn’t have been a natural or necessarily have put in the required effort.

But this is the best I’ve ever been at a sport. I always wanted to be an athlete. And after having tried a plethora of team sports in middle school, high school, and college, and ultimately not doing well in any of them, I finally found one I can grow in. I love the competition, I love my teammates, and I love the feeling of a good win at a feis. I need to keep directing those feelings into working hard both in and out of class. Pound it out in class, hit the weights and the hills for cross training, and really get my diet under control.

Short term goal: Do everything I can to prove in 2 weeks time that I’m ready to drop down from Adult competition into regular Grades.

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One thought on “The Legs Don’t Always Follow the Mind

  1. New hard shoes are really difficult! Even if they are used, it takes a while to break them in and feel natural. And brand new shoes are heavier because the tips haven’t worn down yet!

    Like

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