Blog Challenge: Personal Dance Firsts

The Dance Buzz issued a challenge for the month of January: share a story of one of your dance firsts! I still have solo dresses on my mind, so here it is, the story of my first solo dress!

Getting your first solo dress is what every beginner Irish dancer dreams about. Dancers of all levels spend hours daydreaming about color combinations, dress designs, and everything in between. As an adult beginner I was no different. My college notebooks are filled with dress doodles. I have a binder full of dress designs from my first year of dancing ranging from the traditional, to the more modern (this being a relative term applying to the styles of 2008).

Now, these custom and unique costumes are not just given out. Solo costumes have to be earned. Most dance schools have rules that you have to be at a certain level of dancing. Beginners often compete in a simple blouse and black skirt, and I was no different. I essentially looked like an overgrown six year old at my first feis, (maybe I should have adopted a more Riverdance-esque costume) but I didn't spend too much time at the beginner levels (because I started in advanced beginner) and placed everything up to novice in one feis. This meant the hunt was on.

Prior to entering the competitive world, I had already been trawling through Dance-Again daily in search of The One. I was slightly overwhelmed by the range of styles, colors, and patterns available. I went on a spree, favoriting dresses that I loved and could possibly see as The One. I quickly realized that this was probably not the best option because I now had about thirty dresses saved, and all were my absolute favorite. Some parameters were needed. I finally decided it had to be under $500, my size, and not look like a clown barfed on it.

That narrowed down my favorites considerably, and I printed out the remaining five to see what my TCRG thought. She quickly looked over my print-out and reasoned with me that I really don't need the $800, never been worn and newer style dress as a novice dancer. We decided on The One, a traditional three panel in shiny bubble gum pink with silver, white, and black appliques. With all of my favorite colors and the amount of shine on it, I realized that this was The One from the start, and just needed someone to affirm that my love for this dress was not in vain.

With less than a month before my next feis, it was imperative that I get it as soon as possible, and lo and behold, the owner of The One lived in the area and was attending the feis. I met up with her the day before and picked it up from the hotel, lovingly securing it in my car as I drove back home to admire it and wear it as much as possible before I had to be at work. At the feis, I proudly wore my new dress around the hotel. I felt like a real dancer. There was finally a dress that defined me as an individual among the hoardes of dancers, and something I could deem as my good luck charm. That day, I won my reel competition, making that my first prizewinner level dance.

My pink dress stayed with me through novice and prizewinner. In that year-long period, I doted upon it. I added a hundred rhinestones for extra shine. I kept it neat by trimming threads. I safe guarded it in my dorm room between competitions. I made sure it didn't smell by storing it with dryer sheets and giving it the occasional Febreeze shower. This dress attended my first parades, my first few performances. It was a sad day when I had to part with it to continue it's life journey to New York.

Goals: Smooth out connections between steps
Days till NANs: 155


  1. I loved reading about your first solo costume - thanks for participating! You rock!

  2. Love this post! I can especially relate to the "overgrown six year old look" ... as you can see in my dancing first post :) Love the pink dress, but your new one is my fav! Funny how things change so much with costumes over the years. When I started, the norm was to get a solo dress when you entered prizewinner, if not prelims. Then again, Advanced Beginner didn't exist when I started. Kids these days... haha.


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