Name: Emily M.
Congratulations on qualifying for Nationals! It’s been so long since the last major in November of 2019—what are you most looking forward to this year?
I am most looking forward to dancing my absolute best this year, working to incorporate judges feedback with the hopes of improving placement or not getting the same comments each time. Competing with my friends is really important to me as we all support each other as one big extended family. No matter the school, level or the placement at the end of the day, we are always there to support and cheer each other on. I have missed that!
You must have changed so much since November 2019! What have you learned over the last year and a half about yourself as a dancer?
Since November 2019, I've learned more about my style of dance and complicated choreography that would suit me. I think it's important to take a step back and reevaluate yourself and your dancing to know what you want to achieve in your career. Doing this with the help of Courtney, Christian and Bailey has helped me become more confident in my dances and have created a structured mindset for my goals at majors.
What past National competition was your favorite? Why?
Nationals 2019 in Vancouver would be my favorite because it was the first year I was eligible to dance. I was so incredibly proud and honored that I was able to go. I had always dreamed of dancing at Nationals and being part of that elite group and it finally came true!!
What have you missed the most about competing? (And what have you definitely NOT missed about competing?)
I miss competing so much!! My favorite parts of competing would have to be seeing my friends from other schools, being able to showcase what I've worked on and getting judges marks and comments on how to improve. I find the judges marks and teachers' feedback helpful as they have a different perspective on my dances and ways I can improve myself.
What’s your proudest dance achievement so far? Any future dance goals you’re setting for yourself?
My proudest dance achievement is getting into Open Championships and having the opportunity to go to Nationals. I had always wanted to reach the highest level of irish dance but I wouldn't have gotten this far without hard work, teachers, friends and family. Dancing for fifteen years (irish dancing for twelve!) has taught me the importance of making friends that will last forever and enjoying the moment. Sharing an irish dance journey with my friends is the best thing I could've asked for. In the future I'd love to get the opportunity to compete at Worlds!!
What’s your favorite dance to compete in? Which do you think is your strongest?
My favorite dance to compete in would be slip jig! I love the elegant and balletic choreography and I love the music too! My strongest dances have always been soft shoe dances just because the energy and flow of each movement suits my dance style. Growing up watching Lord of the Dance and Riverdance had always interested me as the “good girls” would mainly do soft shoe and more specifically slip jigs.
Have you ever visited Phoenix before? Any plans while you’re there beyond dancing?
I have never visited Phoenix before and I’m looking forward to spending some time there! My Mom and I are planning on making a road trip out of it and going to Las Vegas, San Diego and Los Angeles along the way!
As someone who’s been to Nationals before, what’s your advice to dancers competing there for the first time?
My first Nationals was nerve wracking as I didn't know what to expect and became overwhelmed. So my advice to those who are going for their first time this year is to just have fun and remember that you earned a spot to be there. When I first went I put so much unnecessary stress on myself and believed that I didn't belong. If you go into it with a good attitude, belief in your teachers and have a good mindset, you're ready to reach success. Remember to enjoy your moment and do YOUR personal best. The rest is out of your hands. ☘️
This post is part of a series. Take a look at our last Nationals Spotlight, with Gabby G. and Kellyann, here. Also: 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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