Thursday, March 8, 2007

I could dance a jig!

Well, if I truly knew how.  It's likely best I not:)  I'm wearing M's NEW Irish stepdance hard / jig shoes to help break them in.   I tried a couple Irish dance steps I DO know, from ceili / set dancing, and almost slipped on the carpet.  (Dancers usually put duct tape on the bottom of the heels and tips specifically to avoid slipping and falling.)  Once I wore M's current pair while she practiced with her older pair.  We both just cracked up while I tried to do some of the fancy footwork I've seen others doing so often, so easily for them.

M so did NOT want a new pair.   M's TCRG (certified Irish step dance teacher), Ma, told M probably in January, that M's shoes needed new tips.   In addition to not sounding loudly enough to be appropriate, M pointed out to me some sort of other problem that occurred with them over time.  

And, to be honest, M's feet have finally grown more, so that we now wear the same size.  She also has a narrow back ankle like I do, and the width is on the narrow side.  (My feet at her age were AAA width.)   She can't wear Antonio Pacelli (sp), as their medium is too wide for M's feet.   I forget why Corr's Irish stepdance hard shoes didn't fit M's particular feet so well, or perhaps it was the style.  I ordered these directly from the New York store of Fay's Shoes, which was down for a few days a week or so ago.   (Their main store is in the UK, just like the other Irish dance shoe stores are.)  These came fairly quickly, however, so I'm pleased.   There is a local dance store that carries some celtic-dance items, and we've ordered through her in the past.

But, M had broken in her current pair of hard shoes.  This new pair is comfortable, to me, yet admittedly, they do feel like shoes.  Even with the flexi-sole, which does bend, they'll need to conform more to M's particular pair of feet.  The girls go up on their toes, and the shoes will arch similar to ballet toe shoes.  It's really hard for me to bend them in quite that direction while wearing them.  I've heard of people putting them, bent, in dresser drawers.   M's current pair likely feels a lot more as if an extension of her feet themselves, soft leather.   I'll likely let her wear those for this weekend'sevents, she knows their feel, they conform to her even if a mite small now and the taps not loud enough; she won't have to think about it.   There's not truly time to break these in, yet, I'm excited them came in time, though, just in case.

The coworker who brought me over the box was curious.   So, excitedly, I opened it up to show her.   I tapped the shoes on the counter, how loud!, and she looked them over.   She's Chinese, and has not seen shoes quite like these before.   Yes, the heel is loud, but the toes also heavy and loud.  It's weird to feel something akin to a heel, also under my toes. 

The first jig I ever knew I was seeing,was one danced by my late grandfather.  His son, my father, doesn't care for Irish or Scottish music.  (My mother is primarily Scottish, with some Irish, so I'm both.)   I had to seek out this music community on my own, and still have a LOT to learn.  So, Grandad thought a moment, then decided he'd best support himself between a sturdy doorframe.   He was elderly at the time.  Arms are usually kept straight (think of the man in the movie, Babe, except Grandad didn't dance for THAT long).   Grandad instead put his hands on the doorframe, and kicked up his legs, telling me that this is what a good Irish jig is.

Sometimes, I imagine how proud he could be of M now, or that there I was, dancing in that big parade last Saturday, um, dancing I should say.   I have some relatives who enjoy Irish music, but none in the US that I know of, who play or dance to it, other than M (and my laughable but serious attempt to learn how to play a pennywhistle).  

Update:   Dancing Shoes the third style down are the ones that I ordered for M.   The ghillies, or soft shoes, are supposed to fit "like a glove," very similarly to ballet slippers.  (I just realized, she likely could use a new pair of those, too, yet, they stretch more readily.....  hmmm, when did we get her last pair?)

Their home page shoes examples of dresses and poodle socks, too. 

Each Irish step dance school has a specific dress, the "school" dress, and then once a female dancer is at a particular level, she can chose to wear a "solo" dress in competitions and other events.   Anyone wishing to see the dresses M and her school wears, may e-mail me, or check out my previous entry, (let me figure out how to add that).....  M at feis / Si' first feis


  1. you should show us with pics, what do they look like, your dress and shoes?

  2. I learned so much from this entry and it was all so interesting.  I checked out the dresses in your previous entry and I love them, so bright and colorful!--Sheria