Well, I guess I should finally answer this.
At the age of 6 I was offically diagnosed with ADHD and my mom spent a long time figuring out what activity she was going to get my into to keep me active. At the time, one of her co-workers had a daughter who danced and she thought that would be a good fit for me. Little did she know that I would throw a massive fit before going to dance. After promising that she would give me a Beanie Baby (back then they were cool) I went to class and fell in love. I started my dancing career with the Trinity Irish Dancers in Milwaukee. My first competition was Gaelic Park in 1996 and I took home all first places. Little did I know, that I was pretty dang good at this and within two years was dancing with their top classes. Thats when I met Bridget, who is my current teacher. She and Amy Moran saw something in my that the other Trinity teachers did not. She did everything she could to get me into workshops on invitations. When she left Trinity, my world shattered. I was no longer invited to workshops and it felt like everyone has just given up on me. So when she opened up her own school, I decided to take a look into it. That’s when Trinity realized they should probably do something before I left, so they stuck me on a ceili team for the 2000 Oireachtas. We did alright from what I could remember. But I still decided to transfer in early 2001. Upon departing, a teacher at Trinity told me that I would never make it as a solo dancer and should just stick to show dancing. That’s totally what you should tell your students, right? Good job on that one.
That brings me to the next chapter of my dancing life with Glencastle Irish Dancers. And let me just say, I couldn’t have been more happy to have transferred. Back then, you didn’t have to qualify to go to Oireachtas to after serving my 6 months of suspension, I competed for solos at the 2001 Oireachtas. I had NO idea what I was getting into. I got up, danced two solid rounds and waited for recalls. Thats when the world felt like it stopped. This was also the time where you just got numbered from ‘1’ instead of ‘101’. So, my number was 4. I kid you not, people thought my mom was having a heart attack after she screamed and dropped to the floor after hearing my number. She left the hall shortly after and ran into the same teacher who told me that I wouldn’t make it. The teacher proceeded to ‘comfort’ her by saying “We told you that she wouldn’t make it”. I don’t think my mother shot someone down so fast in her like. “She RECALLED’ she declared and walked away. That first year I took 39th out of about 200 dancers. Yup, thats right.
Oireachtas’ were an up and down thing. Over the time span of 14 Oireachtas’ I recalled in all but two of them. Well, one I technically did but they never read my number. Thanks for that guys. I was never the dancer who was placing high up in the numbers though. Up until 2009, the highest I ever got was 25th. Which totally puzzled me because I was placing really well at the Nationals (23rd my first time out- which was good for me). After getting 25th in 2008, I was determined to qualify for the worlds. I didn’t care what place I got, I just wanted to go. So I worked the hardest I ever did. I remember my teacher pulling me aside the week before Oireachtas and saying “I have no doubt that you will qualify for the worlds, it’s just a matter of where you place”. Those words of confidence really stuck with me. I got up on stage and danced a horrible first round, which was hard shoe. I got off stage and sobbed and no one could calm me down. I knew it was over. But then one phone to a friend later, i got up and danced the best soft shoe round I have ever danced. To the point where my teacher was in shock at it. So the recall was inevitable. I got up danced my set and waited for results. I remember I felt beyond sick waiting for my results. And then I was called up for the top ten. I had at first never felt so out of place. I didn’t know any of these girls and I am over there sobbing like a crazy person. Well, 10th place was called. Then 9th and so on until 5th. I literally thought they had missed my number because if you know Tim O’Hare, its a common mistake. Then 5th was read out and it still wasn’t me. I was beside myself. That year I got 4th was the best year of my life. I felt like everything has finally clicked. (By the way, I got a 1st, 4th and 6th in my hard shoe.. the round I thought was crap)
Worlds 2010 was alright. Honestly, I had just gone out there to have fun and gain the experience. I got 55th, 5 away from a recall. I was beyond pleased. Then Oireachtas 2010 came around an I had dropped to 10th place. I quit dance that night. I isolated myself from the dancers in my school, spent the rest of the night crying my eyes out to my parents and telling them I was done for good. I was heartbroken and felt like the year before was a fluke and I didn’t deserve it. After a while, I realized that I was being rash and came back. I competed in three more Oireachtas’- 2 solos and teams last year).
My dancer career ended with me dancing 14 Oireachtas, 6 Nationals, 2 All-Irelands and 1 Worlds. With all of that, including qualifying for the worlds, my top two dance moments haven’t even been with me and dancing. Number one would be Wrapping Jane and all of you beautiful souls that helped. The second being watching our little worlds team take 7th in Boston and walk (and discount double check) across that world start to accept their Worlds Medal. Best. Feeling. Ever.
That has lead me to where I am today, sharing my passion for dance with the dancers at Glencastle and studying to take my TCRG. I never want any of my dancers to feel like they aren’t good enough or had the words spoken to them that were spoken to me. If you truly set you mind to something, you will achieve it. My story probably isn’t the most inspiring, but there it is. I’m sure I left out a lot but I tried to keep it a little short.
I love this