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Well, I decided to give this topic its own page! Please e-mail any tips you have for Irish dancers to me at: One last thing - these are tips from other dancers, not dance instructors, so please use caution - what works for one dancer may not for another. Hope these tips help!

-- Sportscreme (or Flexall, or Icyhot, etc.) has proved to be a lifesaver!! In March I fell down some stairs and as a result I had three stress fractures in my left foot (as well as really messed up tendons!). 6 weeks of physical therapy helped a lot, but my foot still gets a little sore when I dance (not that you really want to know all this, but I feel like explaining a little). I found that a little dab of Sportscreme after I dance takes all the pain away! - Christina

-- The rules of Irish dance demand that you keep your arms at your sides. Well, this has been hard for me to learn. I try to keep my shoulders back as far as I can so that my arms fall towards the back of my body - this makes it a bit easier to keep them down. I also like the trick of holding a penny in each hand to remind me to keep my fists clenched. -Christina

-- Remember to stretch A LOT! I stretch before I go to class, in class, and even when I get back! This is a good idea since your muscles need to be prepped before you dance, and then you need to loosen them out after you dance. -Rayna

-- If you have trouble keeping your hands behind your back when you dance, try holding two quarters in your hands. When you feel them rub against your hands, it will remind you of where they're supposed to be. -Rayna

-- Chances are you've curled your hair the night before a feis and you've got your hair half up like you're supposed to but when you wake up your hair is all messed up in front of the scrunchie! What do you do to get it down and keep it down?! Plain water won't cut it! Go to the bathroom and get the bottle of gel your mom used to spray your curlers the night before. Spray some on your fingers (one or two squirts is fine) and then run the water a little in the sink. Put the hand with the gel on it under the water and then rub your hands together. Use your fingertips to smooth the gel on the stray hairs on top of your head. I usually get a comb and comb across my hair back to the ponytail too. Then you're done! No more messy hair! -Jess

--i know it's stating the obvious, beating a dead horse, all that, but PRACTICE. the two most important things are stregnth and practice. practicing gives you quality, polish, and finesse. stregnth makes you higher and lighter. there's a huge difference asthetically between the weak dancer and the strong. -Nikki

--don't practice on the wrong kind of floor! you'll ruin your shins. -Nikki

--soft spikes hair curlers. fabulous, fabulous things. they work especially well if you use a ton of mousse. i use finesse....i doubt it really matters though. make sure the mousse will be dry in time! the curlers and mousse should be in at _least_ 8 hours. -Nikki

--To keep your hardshoes from slipping, spray them with extra hold hairspray a few minutes before you dance. -Adrienne

--My dance teacher makes us hold a ruler behind our backs when we practice to help keep our shoulders back and our fists closed. -Adrienne

--Smile when you practice, that way it will come naturally when it comes time to compete! -Adrienne

--You can do all the stretches in the world for your legs and it still won't help your feet much, so one of the best ways I have found to warm up the feet is to roll the foot up into a point, keeping the toes on the ground. Slowly roll the foot back down and shift your weight and roll the other foot. Keep doing this over and over, faster and faster until your feet feel nice and pliable. Try doing it with with your feet turned out or crossed. -Cindy

--A girl in my class told me to hold my shoes over a pot of boiling water. Bend the shoes in every which way to work the leather and to soften it. The steam helps to soften the leather so you can break in your shoes. After you break them in by hand, hold them over the steam for a couple more minutes to get the leather soft again and then immediately put them on your feet. This will help the shoe form to your specific foot. I found that this method works great but you must be careful not to over stretch the shoe. -Melissa

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*this page last updated January 13, 1999*