Your Ultimate Oireachtas GuideNov 22, 2023
Oireachtas season is here and you may be an Irish dancer who is looking for help. Whether you’re unsure about what to do the week before dance day, what to do on dance day and how to deal with the highs and lows of the day - your MWM Ultimate Oireachtas Guide is here to help!
Oireachtas is the CLRG regional qualifying event for every region around the world. Every Irish dancer who is entered into their Oireachtas has the chance to qualify for the World Championships. Each dancer must live in their region that they compete in, which means that some dance schools may have dancers compete in multiple regions.
Why is Oireachtas so special?
Oireachtas is so important and special to so many dancers because it is a very exciting chance to qualify for the World Championships, surrounded by their friends and family. Although the event is smaller than major championships, it still has a prestige surrounding the event which can often make dancers feel extra excited and sometimes extra nervous - which is where we come in to help.
What to do the week before you dance at Oireachtas
So, it’s the week before Oireachtas and lots of dancers come to us asking ‘what shall I do this week before my Oireachtas?’ Here’s our top three pieces of advice:
Make sure you are getting enough rest time so that you can wake up on dance day feeling refreshed and energised. Find the time to take part in activities which aren’t related to Irish dancing, so you can give your mind and body a break away from the intensity of the week.
2. Be prepared
Spend time this week making sure that you are prepared for Oireachtas. Create a packing list, ensure you have enough of your feis essentials (e.g tan, tape, sock glue etc) and give yourself enough time to order anything you may be missing. By making sure you are prepared in advance you can feel rest assured on dance day that you have everything you need - which will help to keep you calm.
Stretching is really important the week of Oireachtas as it will help you to feel relaxed, in control and prepared. Stretching also helps dancers feel like they can still work on their dancing without overworking themselves.
What to do the morning before you dance at Oireachtas
It’s the morning of Oireachtas and there’s so many things to be thinking about. We want you to be focusing on things which are going to help you throughout the day, not things which will hinder your performance on stage.
The morning of Oireachtas make sure you have done these three things:
1. Given yourself plenty of time
The last thing anyone needs on the morning of an important day to be rushing around and increasing their levels of stress. That’s why we always suggest dancers and parents leave extra time to allow for things which may not go to plan. When we have lots of time to get ready, we have more time to enjoy the process of physically and mentally preparing for the day ahead and taking things at a relaxed pace.
One thing our MWM Mindset Coach Annabelle always recommends dancers try is journaling. The morning of Oireachtas (or the night before if you have a super early start) spend 5 or 10 minutes writing down everything that’s in your head; including everything you think and feel about your dancing and the Oireachtas. Don’t hold back. No one is going to be reading what you have written and so you can write freely. This is a great way to release negative feelings you may be holding on to. For younger dancers, it is a great idea if parents ask them to write down what they are worried about then hold on to that piece of paper during the feis. The dancer will feel more settled after watching their paper of worries being ‘looked after’ by a trusted adult, and they won’t feel the need to hold on to them anymore.
3. Warm up properly
This is something we talk about a lot at MWM because it can make a massive difference to your dancing on stage, and it is also something you are in control of. Spend a good amount of time doing a thorough warm up, including dancing a full dance - this is often the step dancers miss out on. But we want you to be sweaty when you are ready to dance on stage - just like you are in dance class.
The emotions of Oireachtas
No matter what the outcome of the day is, Oireachtas is an event which is often filled with high emotions. Our MWM Mindset Coach Annabelle jokes that every single year she cried at Oireachtas, whether she was happy with her dancing or she wasn’t. After a busy dancing year and a feis which means so much to dancers, it isn’t uncommon for dancers to feel highly emotional before and even after the dancing has finished.
Before you dance, remember to stay focused on one task at a time, and take some deep breaths. Stay focused. Stay in control and stay confident in your own abilities and hard work.
Whether Oireachtas goes amazing or whether it wasn’t your best dance day, you still have a lot to be proud of throughout the whole 12 months leading up to this so take some time to be proud of the journey you have been on and the improvements you have made.
Remember, emotion isn’t something to be scared of or to shy away from.
We hope you all have a highly successful Oireachtas season and we cannot wait to hear how you all get on. Feel free to share this post with your feis friends so we can help everyone have an Oireachtas that they feel prepared for.
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