For Sarah McGing Rowland, ADCRG, Irish dance runs in the family. She began dancing at a young age for her Aunt Mary McGing, Owner and Director of the esteemed McGing Irish Dancers in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a dancer, Sarah’s passion and dedication lead her to win multiple regional titles. Through her experiences as a dancer, Sarah discovered her passion for teaching leading her to pursue the TCRG certification followed by the prestigious ADCRG certification.
During the day, Sarah is a middle school teacher. And at night and on weekends, you can find her instructing classes with the McGing dancers or adjudicating feiseanna. By becoming an adjudicator, Sarah has developed a greater admiration for the fundamental technique of Irish dance and enjoys seeing the different styles and steps performed on stage. It has developed a great love and appreciation for the art form.
We spoke with Sarah about her Irish dance journey, insight into the ADCRG world and tips she has for those looking to pursue their ADCRG.
How did you know you were done competing? Was it an easy transition?
“I was not quite ready to give up competing when I graduated high school so I continued through my sophomore year in college. There came a point when I realized I was content with what I had achieved and I was emotionally ready to stop competing. It was much more of a sacrifice and a challenge to compete in college but I do not regret it. Irish dance is a happy place for me in many ways and I think I needed the stability that training brought me when I first started college. It was also a huge comfort to spend time with dance friends and teachers as well.”
Why did you decide to become an ADCRG?
“I have always loved teaching dance and actually realized my passion for teaching through dance. This led me to become a middle school teacher after college. Once I began working full time, I still enjoyed teaching all ages and levels of dance but became interested in Irish dance as a whole. Out of curiosity, I began to research what it would be like to become an ADCRG. I have always appreciated the different styles and steps that Irish dance has to offer and this was a great way to experience it firsthand. Training to become an ADCRG allowed me to better understand the fundamentals of technique and style on a different level.
What would you recommend to dancers who may be interested in becoming adjudicators?
“I was extremely lucky to have excellent mentor TCRGs and ADCRGs to assist me when I decided to train for the exams. I think it is very important to have a mentor that can break everything down for you in terms of fundamentals at all levels. I went to a feis and pretended to be a judge all day, sitting in the front row on my own. The more competitions that I practiced judging, I became more interested in determining my own system for judging and felt a lot more comfortable. After this, I reached out to local feiseanna to see if I could shadow judges throughout the day. One of the best parts about adjudicating is meeting so many nice people. Everyone is very friendly and helpful.”
“My love for Irish dance has continued and grown over the years. The best thing about Irish dance is the friendships. Every time I see my Irish dance friends it seems as though no time has passed. They relate to me on a different (crazy) level that most people could never understand. We are all so lucky to be part of the Irish dance community.”