Mainland European Championships in Irish Dancing in Salzburg

Salzburg is famous mainly as a Mozart’s city and from the movie of Robert Wise “The Sound of Music”. Without hesitation I can say that it is very picturesque place with lots of romantic narrow streets where parking a car borders on a miracle. You can also meet here one of the most magical creatures on this side of the mirror – Unicorns – and this is not everyday view.

This year Salzburg was chosen to be a host of Mainland European Championships in Irish dancing, which took place in Radisson Blu Hotel. In general this kind of competitions has a particular atmosphere. On one hand, they gather together people from over the world who loves this kind of dance. On the other hand, I noticed that many of them desired to make their love object too perfect. That is why they started making Irish dancing very technical, bit artificial, deprived of pure joy and true dialogue with musicians. Nevertheless, you can meet there many likeable people who are able to manifest their love to dance in more natural way with sincere smile on their faces. Paradoxically, not always these kind of dancers win prizes but it does not take their energy. They are here not only to compete but also to have a good time and draw inspiration for the future.

Competitions looks like one big dancing conveyor belt where you can see people of many different age categories. Several dozen of competitors prezent themselves in two rounds, so called heavy shoes round and soft shoes round, and then the best among them are recalled to dance their modern set – the most spectacular dance in hard shoes. The judges and accompanying musician hardly ever get up from their seats being constantly focused nearly for the whole long day. What completes this spectacle is the audience where somebody still runs afer something, rests, watches, dresses up, repeats steps, tries on new shoes or wigs by the special stalls… You can meet some more surprises like little children chasing under your legs. It is all spiced with a huge pinch of Irish cheerfulness and excitement. It is impossible not to turn your attention onto competitors’ costumes. Well, I know that everybody has their own taste but when you see little kids in full make-up, in colourful, sequinned, stiff dresses and curly wigs you can have impression that we are in a bit unusual and one of a kind circus in the world. Of course these are only subjective author’s opinion :) However, I also managed to meet many people who could dance and dress up with good taste awakening audience’s respect and admiration. Next year we will meet on championships in Poland. See you there! And Salzburg…I am sure I will visit it one more time :)

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