A few weeks ago we were in California for the North American Nationals Irish Dance competition held in Anaheim. We actually extended our stay out in California and made it a summer trip. Miss P has been preparing for months for this competition. She qualified when she placed at the “O” in November.



We really prepped the trip by making it seem like it was just a family trip to make it less pressure or stressful for her. We wanted for her to have fun and enjoy the experience. I really admire Miss P, because at her age, I could never be as poised as she is when she is on that stage.



There were 129 dancers in her competition. She had to dance two dances, the Slow Jig and the Reel. Only half of the competitors will get a recall. So only 65 dancers would get the recall. Miss P placed 20th!  When we heard her name we couldn’t contain our excitement for her. She then had to dance a traditional set to get an overall placement. She decided to dance the Job of Journeywork. She had never danced this on stage before , so we really had no idea on how she would do. After she danced, we chilled for a bit and waited for the awards.



I am telling you the Irish know how to party. There was a band that played before the awards and the kids loved it. It really helped with the anxiousness we were all feeling at that point. It was a long long day and we were all ready to  just release some energy.



Awards were amazing! Our dear Miss P placed 36th! We are so unbelievably proud of her. Way to go my Irish dancer! Upward and onward. She really is a perfect example of how hard work and never giving up pays off. She was just happy she could go, for her placing was just the added bonus. What I love about her the most was she doesn’t dwell on whether she places or not. She is already on the next goal, next practice or next adventure. Good attitude my girl.




I think every day in March is St. Patrick’s Day. Well, not really, but it feels like it. Miss P’s dance school, Sheeaun Academy Of Irish Dance, has a packed event calendar for the month of March. Regular practices, Boston 2013 World practices, feis, Hair of the Dog Extravaganza, and dancing events around the state for St. Pats. Last week, Miss P and some of her fellow dancers had an amazing opportunity to dance on a local FOX affiliate for their Morning Show. The segment was to talk about the Irish Parade that weekend and to talk about Irish dance. The girls were thrilled and I have to say, I was thrilled for them as well. Miss P missed the parade and a dance event a few days later because she was a bit under the weather, but I know she will always remember these times.



2012 Oireachtas

Last week, Miss P and her dance school from Sheeaun Academy competed at the New England Regional Oireachtas. This is an Irish Dancing Competition in which over a thousand dancers compete in solo competitions, traditional sets and team dancing. Last year, Miss P was invited to compete and it was such an honor for her. Seeing all the beautiful dancers set a goal in her mind that she was determined to meet. A goal that would have to wait for a year, but it was something she thought about for 365 days. Every day for that full year. Her goal was to return the following year and compete in the solo round.

Her first “O” in 2011, she competed in a traditional set dancing and danced to St Patrick’s Day. She was only two spots away from a recall. A recall is when half of the competitors are called back and will place for an award. She was devastated at first. She also danced a four hand that year as well. When she competed at feis, she always placed, so it triggered something in her mind that made her alter how she practiced for the rest of the year.

This year she convinced her teachers that she was ready to go to the “O” again and compete in the solo round. I was very hesitant because the pressure is very high. For this she would dance a jig and a reel. If she received a call back, she would dance the St Patrick’s Day. Getting a call back was the goal, because it meant she placed and would get an award. For this round, there were 32 competitors so only half would move on. She would compete against dancers who also competed in the Nationals and Worlds. Tough competition, but she was absolutely ready.

She got a call back! Waiting in the ballroom to hear her number was like time standing still. When they announced 126, she squeezed my hand and screamed, “I did it Mom! I did it!”  I was proud of her either way, but the absolute joy that beamed from her face will be a memory that will last my lifetime.

For awards, sitting in the ballroom waiting for her competition to be called to go on stage and hear her placement, Miss P looked at me and said, “Mom, is this real?” I literally choked back tears, and told her this was not a dream. This was the real deal. When she climbed those stairs, I looked at her. Joy and pride literally leaped from her face. As a parent now, my joy does not come from my own actions, it is entirely from my children and the joy and pride they feel about themselves.  When they announced a number, and it wasn’t her’s, she literally jumped and beamed. 16th place, 15th place and so on. She was 8th place, amazing and beautiful. She received a crystal award and that moment in time will be one of my most cherished.

She also danced a 4 hand and two 8 hand team dances. Her 4 hand was also recalled!

My daughter is one determined little girl. She was tireless in her practice. Her talent is everything to her. I told her teachers, Moira, Frank, Kathleen and Michelle that they have this amazing gift that they hold for each of their dancers. They provide the tools for these kids to feel like they are special, that their talent sets them apart and makes them different in a positive way. I can assure you that Miss P will remember these moments and talk about them to her children and grandchildren decades from now.

Children need something to strive for. Children need an outlet to express themselves in a safe and meaningful way. Whatever hobby or sport that they love, will provide countless opportunities for them to believe in their abilities and to strive again if they fail and to be both humble and excited for their successes and accolades. For Miss P, her dance teachers have given her that. But just as important is how she feels for her teammates. Her pride for them as they competed was so apparent. They are a family.

Mr. & Mrs. W

Miss P was honored to dance with her friends from Sheeaun Academy Of Irish Dance for Moira and Tim’s wedding last week. I have written about Moira and her influence on my daughter in-depth. Moira has impacted my daughter’s self-confidence in such a positive way that will guide her and embrace her throughout her life. For the last month, Miss P has practiced at home every day because it “had to be perfect”. I swear she practiced over 1,000 leaps. She did it to make Moira and Tim proud. As I watched her dance the two numbers, my eyes shifted from Moira and Tim to Miss P. Miss P’s pride leaped out of her little being. I have said it before, but a teacher, no matter in what field, has such an important and meaningful job. Moira and Tim, congratulations! We adore you both and were so honored to celebrate and witness your first day as husband and wife.

Tim waiting for his bride. Did I mention he has a band? The Alternate Routes. He wrote a song for Moira and sang it at the reception. Goosebumps.

Moira walking down with her father. Miss P kept whispering how beautiful she looked. I kept thinking how unbelievably happy she was. She was beaming.

 The eye contact with Tim. Loves it.

 The vows. I think Miss P was practically in the aisle so she could see everything.

The Mr. and Mrs. I love how Tim is shaking hands. They were literally grooving down the aisle. How cool are they?!

 Bagpipes as we left the mass. Can you get anymore Irish than that!

 Wheels for the bridal party to the reception.

 Practice in the parking lot with Frank, Michelle and Kathleen. All of these talented dancers were so excited. You could literally feel their happiness. These kids will remember this day forever.

Let’s Go Sheeaun Academy! Let’s go MOIRA & TIM~

The first number, Moira and Tim knew about. The second dance they had no idea. Frank, Kathleen and Michelle taught the girls without Moira knowing. They danced to Oh Happy Day. A beautiful and meaningful song to the couple.

Frank and Moira.

Michelle, Kathleen and Moira.

Moira & Miss P.

Congratulations Moira and Tim! We wish you a lifetime of love and happiness with many dances and songs~