The Can Opener and The Can of Worms

Last night I found myself in a texting session with a friend who’s thinking of moving her daughter to a different school. She was looking for advice and a shoulder and I was happy to give both. The main dilemma is that a new school is opening and her daughter’s friends are wanting to go there and naturally her daughter is wanting to go to. The new school, located in southern Ohio, is cheaper and 5 minutes closer to their family and seems like a better fit. Still, she has some fears about the change. Rightfully so.

Changing schools is always a big step but I’ve observed in the world of Irish dance it is a major undertaking. Paperwork needs to be filed, costumes need to be changed, friendships may be lost and the dancer has to sit out of competition for 6 months. That could be a real momentum breaker for dancers on the move. It could also be very motivating with learning new steps and routines.

But what if the new school doesn’t work out? I’ve been told that unless you move out of the area your old school will most likely not welcome you back. Then what? Stick it out? Find yet another school? Quit Irish dance altogether? Beg for forgiveness from the old school?

My advice to my friend was to weigh the pros and cons of both schools, go to the new school’s open house and ask a lot of questions. How do they organize their classes? How many TCRGs are on staff? Can you dance for sheer enjoyment or is the school strictly focused on competition? I could go on and on. If the school is just starting out the advantage for her daughter would be that she would get a lot of attention because the classes would be small – hopefully.

Friendships are an important factor in any endeavor. It seems even more so in Irish dance because it’s a shared experience. Nobody but the people involved in Irish dance understands what going to a feis or the Oireachtas, bus trips, ceilis, etc. is like and it’s to hard explain. I know we’ve made more friends through Irish dance than any other place since our move to Cleveland so I understand her daughter wanting to stay with her friends. But is that reason enough to make the change? Are there other issues? My friend’s daughter is older and may feel she’s  running out of time to achieve her goals and may be feeling stagnated at her current school.

Ultimately my friend needs to decide what’s best for her daughter and choose wisely. Your current situation is always the known hell and you could be jumping from the frying pan into the fire or, as my friend put it, here is the can opener – there is the can of worms. It could also be the best thing she did for her dancer. Best of luck with the decision wherever you take your dancer’s talents – just please don’t announce it during a prime time special……

Look for another post in a few days about our Mid-America Oireachtas experience. Til then – Slainte!



  1. […] those of you who read Confeissions of a feis Mom, a recent post referred to a feis Mom in southern Ohio who was facing a can of worms. Truth be […]

    • Mary M DeNunzio said

      Good Luck Mike! I hope it works out! It’s a tough decision but it will help girl dancer that her friends are there – not to mention closer and cheaper for you & the MM! I’ll sure we’ll be chatting more about this subject in the future.

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