The past couple of months have been littered with firsts…..first time photographing Ice Hockey, first time in Korea…..Now it is the first time I have been involved with Irish Dance! I am honoured to be the official photographer for the Australian Irish Dancing (AIDA) Championships this weekend and tonight was my first night experiencing it.
When you think of Irish Dance you think Michael Flatley – well I know I do! Whilst the dancing itself has been around for many a year, I guess Michael Flatley’s tour was really the bit introduction of Irish Dance to the general population.
It was quite different photographing it compared to other dance. All of the expression of the dance moves to the feet so being conscious of what the feet are doing at all times is pretty crucial – especially since the “peak” of the movements rely on the feet being pointed or on the peak of the kick. I also learnt that dancers need to learn to dance both soft shoe and hard shoe. Hard shoe is reminiscent of “en pointe” in ballet although the shoes seem to be more flexible in the centre. Soft shoe is more like a ballet flat and the moves focus more on flexibility when it comes to jumps and less about being on the toes. To add to this, the first two rounds of competition involve two, sometimes more dancers on the stage performing to the same music but completely independently of each other – so being graded independently.
What I love though is the costumes!! There is bling and diamantes galore!! Not to mention the stunning curly hair that is part of traditional costume.
I am looking forward to the remainder of the weekend and I thank AIDA for giving me the opportunity following the retirement of their former photographer. I hope I can do your dancers just as much justice as he did.