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Braintree High Student Press

Braintree High Student Press

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Student Spotlight: Erin Vaillancourt

Student Spotlight: Erin Vaillancourt

Irish step is not an easy sport. For Erin Vaillancourt, the hard work has paid off. She landed herself 21st in the North American Irish Dance Championships. Her passion for Irish step dancing keeps her life pretty busy. This passion started at the age of 4, inspired by the streets in Boston and her family history with the sport. 

“Living in South Boston and growing up there got me into it” explains Erin. “We would always watch the parade on St. Patrick’s Day. My mom also grew up with my teacher, who was popular for how well she danced all over the world.” 

Each competition will differ from the rest. Different components are involved in scoring.

“Every competition is different because of the judges. I could dance well at nationals and the judges really liked me, or I could go to Oireachtas, which is regionals, and dance the best I’ve ever had and the judges still could not like me. so you gotta take everything differently.” 

All sports have their differences and similarities. Like any other sport, there is always some pressure and hard moments involved. For Erin, it was no exception. 

“I didn’t really feel the pressure to keep going but after Covid, I was stuck in a place of not winning” Erin explained. “During that time I wanted to stop but then I kept going and it was worth it.” 

Through her dry period, it was hard to keep going but her strong mindset kept her thriving. 

“I think the drive to win helped me the most, is that in every competition I see a greater improvement because I want to place as high as I can.”

Everyone gets stage fright and it looks different on everyone. In Erin’s case, it would affect her physically. 

“I used to get really bad stage fright up until a year ago. I would get physically sick dancing at a competition,” Erin said, “however, over the past year, I realized that I have no control over how well I place because the judges all have their own opinions.” 

No sport is a cheap sport to support, especially if it is a fully committed sport. The cost of Irish dancing can be shocking to some, but there is a lot to take into account when adding up the cost.

After some thinking Erin explains, “It costs a lot to dance. I go to a cheaper tuition school compared to the other ones around us, however, because of how many competitions I go to the costs add up. Flying to different places to dance, and the costumes, wigs, and shoes together add up. It’s probably upward of 5000 per year trying to combine everything.” 

Some people would see themselves dancing for a long time, even throughout college.

“I’ll probably continue dancing into college but after college, I would probably stop.”

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