Name: Laura F.
Dancer at SRL: Emma F.
How old was your dancer when they started Irish dance? What is your earliest memory of them dancing?
Emma began Irish dance at 8 years old. My first memory of her dancing was sitting in the local Irish-American club on a Saturday morning watching her learn her Point-2-3s.
How long has your family been dancing with SRL?
We joined SRL in April of 2017
Emma was looking for a focused experience that would allow her to continue to advance competitively. Working with Courtney, and now with the addition of Christian and Bailey, Emma has continued to improve as a dancer. While, as of this writing, she has not yet qualified for Open, I can honestly say the time spent working with the teachers at SRL and the friendships she has forged with other dancers are by far the best things that have happened to her.
Best dance memory?
There are so many! Looking back, I appreciate all the pre-dawn departures for feis and all those drives. In the moment, it wasn’t always fun to be up before the sun and be pinning a wig on a cranky teen but those hours spent driving to and from when it’s just us are such great memories. Without dance, we wouldn’t have had all those adventures together.
Any dance parent fails or funniest moments to share?
We’ve never lost a wig on stage but we have had capes come loose and numbers fall off.
If your dancer is retiring, which parts of being so involved with the Irish dance world will you miss the most?
Emma is planning to continue dancing in college, but now that she will be away and competing with a college team, I see my time spent at feis coming to an end. I’ll miss seeing our dance families and friends from other schools. It has always been so nice to catch up with everyone. As crazy as things always get at Oireachtas, I will miss a weekend spent watching not only my child compete but to spend time cheering for her friends, running from stage to stage trying to watch everyone. It’s this amazing dance family we have built over the years that I will miss this most.
What’s the most important life lesson you think your dancer learned from Irish dance?
I would have to say resilience and grace. In competition, it can be a struggle to keep going to achieve the placements you need to move up and you have to withstand the disappointment and grace to accept that it is a journey that isn’t always easy but you keep at it and get a little better each time along the way.
What are your dancer’s plans for the future so far?
Emma will be attending the nursing program at Sacred Heart University this fall. She has also auditioned for and been invited to join the Irish Dance Ensemble, The Claddagh Dancers, which is a collegiate competition team.
Any advice to graduating dancers?
I wish all our graduating dancers the best of luck in whatever their next steps may be and wherever life takes them. Enjoy this next chapter and stay in touch with your dance family because we love you all and are so very proud of each and every one of you!
To younger dancers and their families?
Try not to become overwhelmed and don’t be discouraged if progress takes a little while. Enjoy the moments because it goes so quickly. Our kids do this because they love to dance, first and foremost.
What are your hopes and dreams for your dancer’s life?
Dance has been such a big part of her life for so long that I hope Emma keeps dance in her life in some way, be that with continuing to compete or as an assistant in classes or maybe as teacher herself one day. Most of all, I hope she continues to find joy in her life. I want her time away at college to be happy and for her to be successful as a student as well as have fun and make amazing memories and ultimately find a job that she loves in her chosen field.
This post is part of a series. See our last spotlight with Judy D. & Cayla B. here. Check out the blog every Monday and Thursday for more posts about Irish history, dance culture, community news, and spotlights on our dancers, staff, and families—among other fun projects! And don’t forget to dance along with us on both Facebook and Instagram.
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