2013 will be my first year since I started dancing where I’m not involved in the carnivals. It’s so super strange, I really feel like an outsider.
I started dancing when I was 3/4 and my first carnival was odd, these people were strange. It all soon became the norm and I was 100% in love with all the strange things about it.
I’m at the back in pink, left. Safe to say I was pretty useless at first.
My early years of dancing were filled with endless fun and laughs and I made some great friends that I cannot imagine never having known.
Carnivals were FUN! they were play time, you got to show off your dance and then spend the rest of your time eating rubbish from the stalls and spending all your pocket money on the rides.
I danced with the same group of girls from the moment I started and we all danced well together, we all got along great. As we got older we went through our ‘we’re too cool to be told what to do’ stage. Thinking we knew best and the carnivals became something too lame to be excited about. Having to walk the parade and see school friends laugh at you in your silly costume. As we got older our tastes changed and I didn’t always like the dances the outfit the hair and make up etc… I saw what other dance schools were doing and they had younger dance moves, skimpier outfits and cool hair! I loved my dance school and loved my teachers but it was no secret that I wasn’t enjoying myself as much.
The icing on the cake for me was when all the girls I had danced with for years and years had to leave dancing for jobs or for university. It was so strange dancing without them and I realised once they had gone that they were the reason I had carried on so long.
I left the dance school I had learnt everything from and had been with for so long. I loved my time there and it was hard to say goodbye to all that, but I’m glad I left when I did. I’ll always be grateful for my time there and what I learnt.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the world of tap dancing in this town and you forget it’s a hobby, something you do for fun. If the fun is gone why are you still there? I was forcing myself to go each week and my mam (who was still paying for my class at the time) was spending a lot of money on something I wasn’t really enjoying anymore. In the end I decided the best thing for me to do was leave. I had changed but the dance school hadn’t.
I knew I didn’t really want to stop dancing, I thought I still had a few carnivals left in me, but I didn’t really know if I felt right going to a different dance school. Dancers and teachers can be quite patriotic and you can easily be thought of as a traitor, no one would ever say it but they’d be thinking it!
I joined a fairly new dance school that had a young choreographer with dance moves I’d never done before. It was hard work again and I had to really work to keep up. It was fun and challenging just what I was looking for.
It was so strange going somewhere new after being in one place for so long. I didn’t really know anyone and being such a weirdo I usually struggle to fit in. Everyone was nice to me and people were happy to go over anything you were unsure about. I’ve made some really good friends since moving but it was hard as everyone already had their friends and groups. Also my mam stopped paying for me, suppose I was about 18…
The main thing for me was that I was, working hard at dancing again, I liked my dances and I was being treat like an adult. I threw myself into helping at the carnivals which is something I never used to do (because I was obviously such a cool rebel).
Because I don’t drive the carnivals became even more hardwork than before, I had no lifts to and from the carnivals from my mam as my little sister had stopped dancing. Even when she joined with me I had to chaperone her each week. Not fun. The carnivals became stress central for me.
So this year I’m just going to be watching at the side lines. I’ll be watching closely and pretending I’m head judge ;)
Who am I to judge?
Well I’m no one really but I quite fancy myself as an Arlene Phillips ;)
I’d love to be a judge at a carnival but I have no idea who I need to be best friends with in order to make that happen. :O
Saying that I don’t know anything anymore! It’s so strange, it’s like when I stepped out of the carnivals I stepped out of a secret room only the people involved in the carnivals are allowed into. Where will I get my first programme to read all the dance names to then spend 15 minutes deciphering what everyone is? Where will I sit at the carnivals. Holy shit is there even an impartial colour I can wear on the field so I don’t offend anyone? Dear me.
Regardless, I’ll be there at Dalton (or which ever bloody one they decide is first this year) with my beady eye watching everyone, making my mental notes, awarding my own 3rd, 2nd and 1st and secretly wishing I was still dancing.
Erin Browne – retired dancer, soon-to-be-head-judge.