Things I learned during my Irish dance teacher’s exam

While this year is the 15th anniversary of Sept. 11, it’s also the sixth anniversary of the day I completed my Irish dance teacher’s certification exam.  As we’re just a few weeks away from getting our new classes started, I thought I’d share with you some of the things I wrote down that weekend six years ago.

I’m writing this note as I’m sitting in my room at the Boston airport hotel where I’m taking my Irish dance teacher certification exam.  Thirteen years ago I started dancing as a nearly 30-year-old adult. Now, I’m here with some the best Irish dancers in the country taking a test to become a teacher. It’s been a wild ride.

  1. When you know your stuff, there’s no reason to get nervous.  I figured that out when I saw the questions on the written exam. Now, I’m much less worried about the teaching portion as well. Because, as all of my folks have been saying, I know this stuff.
  2. Speaking of my “folks”… y’all are the best!  The Facebook comments and wall posts, the text messages, the phone calls…the support… all of it has been amazing.  I’m so grateful to all of you who over the past months, weeks and days, have taken the time to dance, talk, write and cheer me on.  THANK YOU!
  3. Irish dance friendships span geographic distance. They may not be close by any more, but my WI and CA girls are still helping me with this exam:  “Jules Hearts Roses” (or “reel” men like Brooks Laich) got me through the order of The Three Tunes.  And Miss T-Dubs, you made the lyrics “Over the hill and down the road, Amy saw the Derry gates” to help me remember the tune to Gates of Derry. 
  4. I hope they don’t take points off for European versus American spelling.  I spelled it “Center” every time I wrote it out.
  5. For the first time in a long time, I might actually believe what a few of my friends keep telling me:  “Good things happen to good people.”

It’s fun to look back now at those notes and be reminded of all the people who were there along the way and how far we’ve all come since then.

How I became an Irish dance teacher

Taking my Irish dance teacher examIn the end, it all came down to the teaching portion of the test: teaching two dances to students I’d never met.

As I was getting my shoes ready for my practical exam on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, I wondered what the panel of examiners would throw at me. Thirty dances to choose from in the book.  Some I knew better than others.

The answer: The Cross Reel, a dance I had been coaching for competition for 5 or 6 years at that point, and Haste to the Wedding, the one tune I can lilt without a second thought.

It was a case of karma convergence in Boston.

Bluegrass Ceili Academy gets its start

While it’s been six years since I became a certified Irish dance teacher, this September is one of the most exciting anniversaries for me as we’re getting Bluegrass Ceili Academy off the ground.

Our Irish dance classes in Lexington are offered through Artworks, a community cultural arts program. Registration for classes is open now via the Lexington Parks and Recreation website.

Join us on Monday nights for classes at the Carver School in downtown Lexington.  Our children’s Irish dance class is from 6 – 7 p.m. The adult class is from 7 – 8 p.m. Both have a fall and spring session.  The fall session runs September 26 – December 5 and costs $60.  The spring session is January 30 – April 17 and is $70.  No previous dance experience is necessary, but we certainly welcome those with other dance or previous Irish dance experience.