Five or six years ago, Jonathan saw a sign outside of our neighbourhood community centre, advertising Irish Dancing, alongside a sign for martial arts. Jake was given the choice (at 5 years old) and chose the dancing. No surprise there. We struck gold. His instructor was fresh off the Riverdance tour and was starting up her own school. Cara was a sweetheart and Jake loved her immediately. What started off as a recreational, fun activity for Jake, soon became a competitive passion that has somewhat defined him. When Cara's boyfriend, Mark joined in the teaching, Jake now had a male dancer to be inspired by and he caught the bug.
He has come such a long way.
(Jake with good buddy, Kera, beside him)
We asked him why his hands were in his pockets and he innocently replied, "well I wasn't wearing any underwear and it's the only way I could keep my pants up!".
Jake has had his struggles in dance and it was in class that it was most apparent that he was challenged with focus and attention issues. It's amazing that Cara and Mark lasted all these years with him, and that Jake managed to persevere through it to come to this level. But if you know Jake, you know that he's a natural born performer. He hits the stage and as Cara nicknamed him, he's the "Shocker". After suffering through practices of not paying attention or getting his steps right, once he's on the stage, he's "on" and nails it.
(Cara, Will, Jake and Mark)There's an amazing camaraderie that is formed with these kids, especially from all the travel to various feisanna. It's not an easy thing to be a boy who loves to dance, and it's nice to know that Jake found an extended family with the girls in his class (and not to forget Will who recently joined the competitive ranks!).
(Kera and Jake at a feis in Edmonton)
I wish I had some video of Jake competing, but since filming isn't allowed, here is some footage from St. Patty's Day this year, at our favourite coffee shop in Calgary (Garden's Grace) with Lauren, Clare and Roisin).
So Good Luck Jake! Can't wait to hear the results on Thursday. xo