I was an Irish Dancer for 14 years.
“Why did you do it if you’re not Irish?!”
I had tried all the other types of dance. They didn’t engage me. My mom said that if I didn’t stick with Irish, I wouldn’t be a dancer at all. So I tried it. And I was a dancer.
I loved that my feet could do something beautiful, intricate, and mesmerizing while my body was still. I loved the feeling of finally understanding a move and being able to execute it flawlessly. I loved the way my velvety dress felt beneath my fingertips as I subtly grabbed on to keep my arms from flailing.
I loved dancing on city streets and bar floors. I loved the urgency of quick shoe changes, when I’d go from a graceful reel to a loud and proud jig. I loved plastering a smile across my face because it wasn’t really plastered there at all, I just really loved what I was doing.
I love that my ankles don’t look quite the same because of my career ending injury. I love that I get to share the magic of dance with my students each year. I love that though I am not Irish, my heart will always belong to the rhythms of a people with feet of fire.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, dear reader!