David Janovsky '14
March 19, 2012
WEST HAVEN, CONN. -- Since David Janovsky started Irish dancing in the fifth grade, he has performed around the world. He appeared recently with the Chieftains at The New Jersey Center for the Performing Arts and he has performed several times at Carnegie Hall.
Yet one of his most important performances will be on April 6 and 8, when he will compete in Belfast, Northern Ireland, at the World Irish Step Dance Championships for solo and team dancing. He has competed frequently before in the U.S. and Canada and in Dublin, Ireland. This time, he hopes to win a medal and do better than his first world competition last year, when he finished in the top 25.
“I have won several competitions but not any major ones yet,” said Janovsky, a sophomore who is studying math education and is the drum major of the marching band. “I am striving for the top and to be the best I can be.”
Janovsky, 19, hopes one day to own a world class Irish dancing studio. For now, though, he is concentrating on perfecting the dancing he began when he was just 10 years old.
“My sister was doing it when I was little and it occurred to me that it was a boy’s sport too,” he said. “After I started it, I just stuck with it.” Ironically, his sister, who is older, retired from dancing when she was in high school. Janovsky hopes to dance through graduate school and then obtain credentials to teach it.
“I absolutely love it. It is my life,” he says. “Even though kids would tease me, I knew it was something I was good at and something I didn’t want to give up.”
Janovsky says he has learned self-discipline through the dancing and respect for both himself and his teachers.
“I try to practice for one to two hours a day at least four times a week,” he said. “I practice alone and I go to dance classes when I am home.” A resident of Manville, N.J., Janovsky takes lessons at the Peter Smith School of Irish dance.
Part Polish and part Irish, Janovsky says the competition will include several dancers on stage at the same time performing their routines, which will be ranked by the judges. “The judges rank us on our techniques, skill level and style of dancing. They also judge us on how well we execute our steps,” he said.
The competition is quick. The routine with “heavy shoes,” those made of fiberglass with taps on the bottom (think Riverdance) lasts only a minute and a half. It focuses on rhythm and stamina.
The routine with the soft (quiet) shoes lasts 45 seconds and focuses on fluidity and style. Dancers who do well are recalled for a long round that lasts one to three minutes, which is the dancer’s showcase piece.
Will he be nervous? Janovsky says he is always nervous when he wants on stage. But when the music starts, his years of training result in absolute focus.
“I treat it like a job,” he said. “I know what I have to do. But it is also enjoyable to the point where ‘work’ is the best part of the day.”
As for Carnegie Hall, Janovsky says dancing there was “so absolutely incredible that words can’t describe it.”
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