Strictly Mary: That Sickly Feeling At The Thought Of The Dome

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Mary and dance partner Richard Walsh.

Our Beauty Columnist, Mary O’Donnell, is taking part in this year’s Austin Stacks Strictly Come Dancing, which takes place in the Dome on August 23. Here she keeps us informed on her progress…

I SAW the construction of the dome yesterday as I passed in the car and I felt physically ill.

It is one thing to sign up for strictly, but in the cold morning light, the harsh reality for a non-dancer to strut their stuff in that big dome is beyond terrifying.

So I contacted my dance partner, Richard Walsh, and said we have to up our game. So we practiced for two solid hours and at the end of it he said, “I can see why you did not get that Irish dancing medal now”.

This has helped matters – my head has the steps but my toes are not obliging. There is an air of panic among the participants as everyone feels the time is getting closer and there is a lot of work to be done.

Continued below…

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I feel immense admiration for everybody who is training. A lot of steps go into three minutes and for those of us who could not master ‘step, one, two  three,’ the holy grail seems very long away.

I have been aware of this event since it started, but the committee behind it, work like beavers to make it a success.

Choreographer Jackie O’Mahony has some job; every week she has to sort out 24 people for times, venues and remember all the 12 dances.

People get times  mixed up or forget and have to be rearranged again. For my part she has always encouraged me and has confidence that I will get it right in time for the big night.

Karyn Moriarty is making our costumes and I can’t wait to put the dress on – she has great ideas and is also doing Richard’s costume and we have all had such a laugh about the outfits (let’s say you wouldn’t be doing your shopping in them).

I had my first fall this week and whacked my ankle off the ground. I saw my dancing career flash before my eyes. But fear not, as an ice pack and rest ensured I was as good as new.

Fitness levels are really improving and under the guidance of Joe O’Conner and his intensive 5 week programme, it is hard but doable. It’s finding the time for it all that’s the problem, but it’s a juggle and well worth it.

So the first group dance was held in Fels Point Hotel on Thursday with everyone was in excellent form and the craic was something else.

Brian Hurley was there as he is MC for the big night. The people from FAS  were also there to video our efforts and this will also be shown on the night.

If anyone has co-ordination problems, they will empathise with me.

Picture this: you are unfortunate  enough to be put up on the front, so I had no one to copy and as the 23 went left, I went right.

For the competitive couples, I  was clearly no threat at all. I did enjoy it though and I’d imagine if this was a Disney movie I  would dance flawless in the Dome on the night.

But we’re are talking about the dome in Tralee and I will just have to blend into the crowd as best I can!

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