Hearing this just really really bugged me…

medium_mompicAfter a recent feis, a friend of mine sent me a message on Facebook that kinda, sorta, really really irritated me.  I like ‘smack-talk’ just as much as the next guy, but I think this goes beyond way good-hearted ribbing, especially from someone who teaches our children.

I really debated as to whether to post this or not, but it irritated me so much that this attitude is out there, I decided to post it hoping the people involved might see this and catch the hint. The message from my friend is posted below with any identifiable information about the teachers and my friend removed. There is a bit of language, sorry, quoting verbatim.

‘[the teachers] were standing behind me watching one of their girls during the TJ. It was the last dance she[the teachers girl] needs a 1st in to move up to 500. When she was done, [one of the teachers] told her parents, “that was totally first place. All the other dancers weren’t worth shit.” I was so ticked I turned around and let [the teacher] know that MY dancer was one of the girls out there and [the teacher] smugly shrugged and said “truth hurts”‘

The good news is my friends dancer placed higher than the girl referred to by the teacher. Good for my friend and her dancer, not good for the other dancer. I don’t know the other dancer, and I don’t want to wish ill will on any dancer, even those competing against TGC, and it is not fair to that dancer that my friend rejoiced in her lower placement, because her teacher was being an asshat. And I am not faulting my friend, I would have felt the same way.

Really don’t know where I was going with this, or what outcome I expected from posting this, but if these are your teachers, it might be time to consider a move to a new school. And if they are your teachers and you think their actions were acceptable, go ahead and stay at that school, but just think of the message you are sending your children. Oh and don’t worry, karma is like Santa, it will find you wherever you live.

Oh, and don’t bother asking me for the identity of anyone in the story. I have tried to ‘anonymously shame’ here to give people the benefit of the doubt. You decide whether they deserve that benefit or not.

eat, play, whine™

After the immense popularity of eat, pay, drive, and at the request of many (well 2) followers, I have created the non-dance sibling version of the idea. Did I get it right?  😉


Eat, play, whine is a trademark of What The Feis and is subject to copyright laws.

eat, pay, drive™

A t-shirt idea, based on a book I never plan on writing, that I posted about on Facebook. Would you buy one?   😉


Eat, pay, drive is a trademark of What The Feis and is subject to copyright laws.

Explaining the Hair

I am sure you have all been ‘there.’ Maybe it was on the way to a feis when you stopped for a bite to eat, or had to stop at the store for a last minute item on the way, or walking into an airport bar, yes that happened, but I digress. The stares, the awkward smiles, the hushed tones, but you know what they are all thinking and saying, ‘what is with that hair?’

Happened to us again this weekend, when TGC and I stopped at a Starbucks in Memphis on the way to the Memphis Feis. The conversation went almost exactly like this:

Barista 1: [awkward smile]
Barista 1: “Oohh, I love your ringlets. That must have taken forever to do.”
TGC: “Thanks”
Me: “It’s a wig.”
Barista 1: “A WEEK!?”
Barista 2: “Did you say a week? What, did you do a few hours a day? Did that look ok?”
Me: “I said its a wig.”
Barista 1 & 2 in stereo: “Oh!”
Barista 1 & 2: [awkward smiles in stereo]

There was more to it, but that was the jist. I think I need to take a lesson from TGC and next time just say thanks  😉

A Parents Guide to Understanding Feis Judging

dana-carvey-snlI am going to be honest, I don’t understand feis judging, at least not completely, so maybe the title is not quite right. Maybe this should be called ‘A Parents Guide to Helping Their Dancer Understand Why.’ Read the entire article over on Antonio Pacelli and let me know what you think.

If the link above does not work, you can copy and paste this into your browser’s address bar: https://www.antoniopacelli.com/community/article/a-parents-guide-to-understanding-feis-judging


In discussing the latest blog post with TGC yesterday, she mentioned a Voy post about bribing judges. In an effort to find that, I found another discussion that focuses on some of the politics behind judging.

Check out Zebadiah B’s comments. He hits some of the same points I mention in my post, only he did it years earlier (so much for my ‘original’ post idea 🙁  ) , but he also covers a topic I had not considered. The whole discussion is worth a read: http://www.dance.net/topic/8765577/1/Irish/politics-in-judging.html


Had some interesting comments on our facebook page that I wanted to share (with the permission of the submitter). More food for thought.

“One of the factors that affects placing well in one dance and less well in another at the same feis is that all dancers “hear” some types of music better than others. We say there are “reel” people and “jig” people based on which type of music they respond better to. That extends to the other three types of music as well; some dancers who are very good at other types of music never can get the hang of slip jigs, for instance. There are dancers who excel at hornpipes but, unfortunately, dance their treble/double/heavy jigs as though they were hornpipes, and that creates problems. They may both be hardshoe dances but they demand different styles, and that’s true of the soft shoe dances as well. I had one elfin student who couldn’t score in her single jig to save her soul. I told her to growl before going on stage for single jig competition. It embarrassed the heck out of her but it worked – the single jig was the dance they boys did back in the era when boys weren’t allowed to compete slip jigs (late 1980’s; boys still don’t compete slips in champs) and they’re supposed to have an aggressive, muscular style while slips are flowing and graceful. Dancers who dance all their soft shoe dances with the same style will score well in those which fit that style but not so well in the others. That’s “musicality.””


“Also, does your school pass on adjudicators’ comments to the dancers? We do. A lot of them are “turnout” and “point” which are nearly universal, but the biggies are anything to do with timing or rhythm, and the kiss of death is “late start” which can put you in last place even if everything else was excellent. We feel that if the adjudicators took the time to write comments, our dancers need to see them. It helps to understand scores.”

Thanks Bill!

A new feis season, an old reminder…

trustWith a new feis season upon us, I thought it might be a good idea to remind everyone about feis safety. My latest post as Feis Dad on Antonio Pacelli is a recap of what I blogged about in August here on WTF. Take a minute and refresh your memory about making sure that F.E.I.S – First, everyone is safe.

You Might Be An Irish Dance Parent… see the list to find out

Jeff Foxworthy may have the Rednecks pegged, but I think I have created a pretty good Irish Dance Parent checklist.

My second post as Feis Dad on the Antonio Pacelli website, take a look at You Might Be An Irish Dance Parent and let me know what you think 🙂

The Top 10 Responsibilities of Being an Irish Dance Parent

My first ‘real’ post out on Antonio Pacelli on the subject of being an Irish dance parent is what I call ‘The Top 10 Responsibilities of Being an Irish Dance Parent’ which you can find in its entirety at https://www.antoniopacelli.com/community/article/the-top-10-responsibilities-of-being-an-irish-dance-parent.

If you have a minute, give it a read. I would love to hear your thoughts! Thanks.

Life Lessons From Irish Dance

If your dancer is like mine, and you have been doing this for a while, there are some adjudicators they want at the table while they dance, and some, well, not so much. So when TGC (that is ‘the girl child’ for you new readers) saw the ‘cool judge’ sitting at the table to judge her Hornpipe, she was thrilled. And if you follow me on Facebook, you may already know that TGC got a first in that dance, which coincidentally, was the last first she needed to be advanced to PC, so lets just say she was a little happy about it.

After the feis, we saw the judge in the hotel lobby, so TGC went over to thank her. The judge gave her a hug, and as I don’t recall exactly what she said, so I am paraphrasing, I heard something along the lines of “I just judged, you did all the hard work.

My first thought was, giving the credit to the dancer, what a class act, but then, I thought about her words more.

You see TGC (if you even read this blog), you are going to be judged repeatedly in life. In dance, in school, at your job, by your peers, and so on, and the work you do leading to those events, will determine how those ‘judges’ see you. Hard work generally yields the best results.

The other lesson is, if, and knowing you I mean when, you are privileged enough to be in a position where you are the judge, give credit where credit is due. There are way to many people in life who would have taken the thanks expressed to that judge, and turned it into being about them.

So I guess I learned something here too, Julie Showalter, you are the ‘cool judge’. Thank you.

F.E.I.S. Recommendations

This F.E.I.S. (First Everyone Is Safe) Recommendations list is the consolidation of thoughts from a few other posts. If you are new, this is the third in a series of posts regarding feiseanna safety. You can see Part 1 and Part 2 to get caught up if you need to.

Based on input from you, and some of my own observations, this is a concise list on what contributors think can help make the feiseanna environment  safer:

  • No dancer name/school lists posted in the ‘clear’ on any website – access can be granted to teachers and parents with the appropriate login credentials.
  • Posted results use numbers only to keep dancer/school anonymity in the feis environment.
  • While at a feis, use of the buddy system for all dancers, whether it is dancer/dancer or dancer/parent buddies.
  • Appropriate dresscode before, between and after all dances. ‘Appropriate’ can be determined by governing bodies.
  • Age appropriate makeup – IMHO, none of the girls are old enough to wear the makeup typically seen at feiseanna.
  • Visual identification for parents, other family members and friends, obtained at registration or upon paid entry. Registration would have more control to prove ‘association’ with a dancer. Recommendations have been wristbands and brightly colored stickers.
  • Presence of feis security – even a few school dads with ‘SECURITY’ or possible ‘SAFETY’ t shirts wandering the venue would help.
  • Safety signage that shows the feis is paying attention to safety. Examples might include:  ‘report incidents’, ‘be observant’, ‘no videography’ etc…
  • Observation – everyone needs to be observant and proactive.
  • Enforcement of the standards issued by the governing bodies, and common sense. This is top-down from the dance organizations, to schools, to competitions, to parents and the dancers themselves.

So, what do you think? Any obvious omissions? Again, please keep comments brief if possible.

I will be looking for people who are, or are connected to, the dance governing bodies, and people with working knowledge of how to get these ideas properly formatted, and to the right people. I have done some digging, but I am hoping some of you can help the process. If you can help, or point me in the right direction, please contact me.