When the world stopped spinning due to COVID-19, all our Irish dance competitions did too. The North American Championships, the Worlds and all the local feises. The teachers quickly pivoted to Zoom classes and kids around the globe were doing their jigs and reels on little squares of plywood in basements and kitchens and hallways for many months.

So, it was great to see things start to return to ‘normal’ recently as competitions opened up again, with all the safety protocols in place.

My youngest attended the Eastern Canadian Irish Dance Championships this weekend in Toronto. Although she didn’t place, she was three off and earned her personal best. She was thrilled and I was so happy for her. But the story that made me cry this weekend was about a family I didn’t know.

When the numbers were called for World qualifiers in the highest age category, ladies over twenty-two, one girl was so overcome as she ran up onto the stage. She was in tears and shaking. After dancing her whole life, it was the first time she had qualified.

Although I didn’t know her, the tears started rolling down my cheeks. To have that kind of grit and perseverance as the world stops and life moves on, making time for dance even more rare.

I went up to her parents to congratulate them and her dad, with his strong County Down accent, said that her sister was blessed to attend the Worlds a number of times, but this was her first time. What an outstanding moment.

To all the people who think they are too old or it’s too late to make that dream come true, never forget that anything is possible, tomorrow is another day, and if you take action, you will get there. Dance on.