F. E. I. S. – First Everyone Is Safe

After my post from Monday, I was amazed to find that that type occurrence is more common than most of us think, and I was glad to hear that people had ideas on how to help reduce the potential of incidents like that from happening again. There were posts of Facebook, Voy and this blog, and probably others.

I would like to keep the momentum we had on Monday and Tuesday going, and want to gather those ideas to present them to whatever dance governing bodies will listen. My goal is to capture them here, in one place, instead of having to go to multiple websites to find them, and hope to keep them to just the ideas (and not any background stories) so that readers can scan them quickly.

So,  if you have thoughts on how to make feiseanna safer,  please add your comments below.  Please read any current comments and try not to repost the same idea,  and make comments brief if possible. All comments will be moderated. Think outside the box, sure, having the girls cover themselves between dances is good, but creepers are really not the only thing to think about, what other potential threats do we need to consider? What steps can parents, schools, feis committees, venues, etc… take?

After we have sufficient feedback, we can organize the ideas for submission and I will be looking for ‘connected’ people to help get the ideas to the right people.

I am ‘relatively’ new to this, so I am counting on you to help make our children’s passion the safest it can be for all of us.

Thanks in advance.

Parents & Dancers PLEASE Read

At the McMenamin Academy Feis in Milwaukee this weekend, I witnessed a rather disturbing event that I thought would never happen at a feis. I suggest all parents and dancers read this, and share with anyone you think needs to read it…. I suggest all parents, with or without dancers.


NOTE: Please see the comments below this post and on our FB page. This is not the only time ‘creepy’ has invaded our feiseanna.

I have added a second post to capture ideas to be presented to governing bodies on ways to make feiseanna safer. Please also visit that if you have suggestions.


As I watched The Girl Child (TGC) practice in the hallway from inside the room where her stage was, I saw her and her Mom start this very intense discussion, so intense that it made me go out to find what was wrong. When I got to where they were, TGC said ‘that guy is filming us’ and as I looked over, I saw who she was talking about. My wife told me he had filmed a number of the girls who were practicing in the hall, as well as panned the whole area with his phone.

Not sure if he figured out we were talking about him, but he turned to leave, and my son and I followed him and watched him leave the building. I went to the awards table near the door he went out, told them what had happened, described the man and what he was wearing, and then I asked where the ‘Feis Boss’ was. They directed me to the office where I retold the story, wrote down a description of the man and his clothes, and I was informed security would be notified.

I returned to the stage and also told the feis volunteer who was working the hallway outside the stages what had happened. He had seen the man, but did not realize he was not associated with anyone at the feis. I told him I did not think he belonged, especially since TGC, as well as another dancer who was with her father, were both filmed, and we did not know him, and that when I had followed him, he had left the building.

And that was that, or so I thought.

As we were waiting for TGC to do her last dance of the day, I saw the ‘creepy man’ sitting in the back row watching the stage. I went into the hall to notify the volunteer I had spoken to earlier, and he was standing there with two security members, but had lost the man when he went to get security. I told him I knew where he was, and pointed him out to security. He was escorted out, and that was the last I heard of it.

Parents, you  know why I am posting this, and some of the older dancers who might read this get it. If you are like me, you would never think something like this would happen at a feis, and I tried to go through non-creepy scenarios as to why this man was filming, but his actions were just not fitting any of these scenarios.

So parents(and teachers maybe), please talk to your dancers, and let them know that if they see anything that just does not seem right, to tell someone. Do not assume that since there are feis volunteers around, everything is fine. In this case, a volunteer saw the man, but was busy with his job and had no reason to think anything out of place. NEVER go up and confront the person, but tell a parent, teacher or a feis volunteer. It could be someone taking pictures or videos, or who seems to be hanging around but seems to be alone, or whom just seems out of place. Have the dancers use the buddy system, and not run around the venue alone. This typically happens without them being told, but reminding the dancers to do it, and telling them why, is probably a good idea.

Also remember, there are some people who are professionals, and they do these things, but are supposed to be there. A photographer who had photographed dancers at the Dayton Celtic Festival mentioned on our Facebook page that he might fit the description above. I actually saw this photographer working at the Dayton Festival, and reassured him that I could tell the difference between him and the ‘creepy-guy’ right away, and I am sure he, and anyone who is supposed to be at an event, would be ok if they were questioned about what they were doing there. Just don’t assume that everyone is always supposed to be there, because sometimes, like this weekend, they are not. A little paranoia is not necessarily a bad thing.

Dancer Nicknames

I have a feis-free weekend so I decided to write that blog post I have had on the back-burner.

When my daughter started competing, she danced against the same people over and over again, and we began to recognize the girls (and an occasional boy) from feis to feis and year to year, but had no idea what their names were. We started to ‘label’ the other dancers so we could identify them. None of them mean spirited, although I guess some may sound that way if you didn’t know the story behind them, they were just a way for us to be able to talk about things like ”nickname has really nice kicks” or “nickname got a new dress” or whatever, until we eventually learned the dancers real names.

I have been wondering about this topic for a while, thinking that we (my daughter and I) could not be the only ones that had nicknames for other dancers, and when another dance Mom recently told me one of the nicknames her and her daughter had, I figured I would just write this and see if this was common, or if the dance Mom and I were the only ones.

And what, you may ask were the nicknames and how did they come to be? Well…

Amazon – Early on, the girl child would dance against this extremely tall girl, literally a foot or more taller than the other girls and she gained the nickname ‘Amazon’ from the tall female warriors of Greek mythology. We have since met her and her parents and she is one of the nicest young ladies, so she has lost the moniker, but that is where it started for us.

Grumpy – there was this one girl who would NEVER smile on stage, but danced extremely well, besting the competition in most every event. It was almost like she danced because she was forced to, and she kept an Eeyore attitude throughout the competition. The fact she did so well but did not seem to enjoy any of it got her the nickname Grumpy.

Rachel from Akron – I know, not much of a nickname but Rachel isn’t from Akron. That is where we first met her and her family, so in a way, its a nickname.

Rootbeer – the dancers initials were AW so that one just kind of created itself.

Rachel from Michigan – I know, another one that is not so creative, but since we already had Rachel from Akron, we needed a way to tell them apart. Rachel from MI is indeed from MI.

Disco Ball – this is not so much about the dancer as it is her dress, which has SO many sequins, well, you get the idea.

So what about you? Any nicknames or stories you would like to share? Take our poll or add comments below.

NOTE: Please do not use dancers real names and note that all comments will be moderated. Thanks

New friends from Pittsburgh…

And speaking of the Gem City Feis, I met another nice family yesterday. I mentioned in another post that I find it very refreshing to see dancers who excel, but don’t get all ‘diva’ even though they are kicking butt, because I have seen quite a lot of that in the past. Met another such dancer and family.

First saw this dancer in Pittsburgh last week and got a chance to meet the Mom and Dad yesterday. Because of the uniqueness of the dancers name, I won’t mention it, but if they find this blog, I think they will know who they are.

So a big WTF shout out to the parents from Pitt. See you guys and ‘* the big meanie’ at Oireachtas. And ‘big meanie’, CONGRATS again on getting the 1st you needed to advance!

* Before anyone gets all, ‘you shouldn’t call the girl names’, I called the dancer a big meanie after she beat my darling daughter. I didn’t mean it, and the smile I got after I called her that showed me she knew I was kidding.

And speaking of the Great Lakes Feis

Remember Rachel from MI at the Dayton Feis, well she was was there again, dancing against my daughter. Thankfully she got the last dance she needed to move up to Prelim, and she didn’t beat my daughter every time this time 😉  Sorry, I was nice the last time, I am going to be a normal Dad this time 🙂

Whoever told Rachel’s Mom I posted the last post, don’t tell her about this one 😉

Watching her grow… a haiku

OK, so now you get to see the softer side of WTF. A haiku describing the changes I have seen in my daughter because of Irish dance.

clumsy, like a fawn
but feis after feis she grows
like a doe, graceful

and if for some reason I have broken some haiku structure rule, tough, I’m still going to call it a haiku.

T-Shirt Idea

I always say I drive and pay, that’s my job as a dance dad. With that came this idea that I am thinking of making into a t-shirt. What do you think?

Being an Irish Dance Dad….

I often feel like I am only there to drive and pay, but tonight, I had the chance to use some of my Navy training to help my little ‘dancing queen.’

The toes on her hard shoes had no black left on them, so I broke out my shoe shine kit and spent a half an hour on them. I did not do them like I would have back in the day, when I could spit shine shoes and make them shine like mirrors, but I blackened them and gave them a bit of a shine. You really cant see it because of the flash, but its there. My shining ability was a source of pride for me back then (I was actually accused of wearing patent leather shoes for inspections), and to be able to share some of that with my daughter made me happy, but I digress…

Which makes me wonder however, is there a rule for shoes and how much they can/should shine? Is the well-worn look the best, or slightly blackened, or really shiny? Your thoughts would be appreciated. Oh, and if really shiny is best, you guys are in trouble 😉


So this morning after church, we went to a local Mom and Pop place for breakfast.  As we sat waiting for our food,  I recognized one of the gentlemen at the front door of the restaurant.

That is a feis dad,  I thought to myself.  The GC thought she recognized him too.  We are at a small place in the middle of nowhere, no Irish Dance schools for literally miles,  and yet, there are other dance parents a few tables away.

So, after I ate,  I stopped by their table to say hi.  The man had reconized me also so we made quick small talk. ‘What school’ I asked,  and here comes the awkward part…

Our new school is a ‘spin off’ of another area school.  I don’t know all the details,  and don’t really care to know,  but as you can imagine, there are some ‘feelings and emotions’ that go along with a teacher leaving one school to start another…  And now back to the restaurant….

You know what school they said,  the ‘parent’ school of where ours ‘started’.  I told them the school we had just left and then said,  but we just switched to,  and mumbled the name of our new school and smiled.

They laughed,  but I had to wonder what they knew and what their opinions were, but I just said,  ‘just checking the color of the grass’.  I told them I would see them in 6 months and we went our separate ways.