This week at the CLRG World Championships, Target Training caught up with prolific Irish dancer Jamie Hodges. Jamie competed from the ages of 8 to 17, and while he placed well in solo competitions, team competitions were where he shone—winning worlds twice with a ceili and three times with a figure! He then decided it was time to take a break from Irish dance for what he says “felt like an eternity.” Now he’s reemerged into the Irish dance world starting a performance workshop company called On the Move with his brother, Mitchell. We sat down with Jamie to learn a little bit more about his passion for Irish dancing and how he’s channeled that into his new business.
What inspired you to start On the Move?
On the Move came out of the fact that I was working with a lot of dancers doing things like performance workshops and confidence builders, and I think it’s just good to have something that isn’t driven by how “good” you are competitively. If you enjoy dancing, then you should have the opportunity to dance. I just wanted something that was really inclusive for everyone that could be a shared experience, and not just for the people in your dance school. Say you have friends at a feis or a dancer you’ve never met and you did a workshop with myself or anyone who does anything that I do—it’s just about bringing people together and having that sense of community within Irish dancing. Hopefully we’re going to build on that and have some kind of online social media platform but we’ll see how it goes… that’s looking down the road!
Do you think your experience as a competitive Irish dancer has helped you with your experience starting On the Move?
Not really. Competitive Irish dancing, has the word competitive in it. So you’re out to win, you’re out to beat people, you’re dancing against friends, some people dancing against families. So it’s really more of my general life experiences that have brought me here.
What do you love about Irish dance?
Being able to go around the world and have a shared interest with someone is incredible. I could go to Australia, Africa, Argentina, Kazakhstan—I’ve been to Kazakhstan and I met people where the only thing we really had in common, that linked us, was the fact we did Irish dancing. It was incredible that this little link could bring us together like that. I think it’s just amazing all these people from different backgrounds are at all these events and I think giving them something else other than competition is amazing. It’s the sense of community and that you can go somewhere and google “Irish dance school” in whatever city and lots come up—in New York City, London, Tokyo, Sydney—it’s a sense of community throughout the world linked by a common interest. It’s amazing. Also the music’s obviously very catchy, and the fact that the material and the dancing just keeps getting and better. The dancing now is at a level that’s unheard of, it’s ridiculous, and you watch these dancers and you don’t know what they’re going to do next. It hurts me to watch!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s never too late to change your headline.
To keep up with On the Move and where Jamie’s headed next, check out: