my mom took pics of me all in costume for a feis and showed them to all the physio therapists where I go to get therapy after my injury... he made a comment about "big hair" and kind of laughed at me... i was so embarrassed.. but then i realized its because they don't understand the costume or the dance... so i chalk it up to ignorance. anyone who makes fun of you is just that, simply ignorant. if they won't learn about something and choose to mock it they arent worth your time anyway.
if they make fun of the hand dance how about showing the Up and Over it clips and how they have become well known for this skill? you're in TX... the McTeggarts are HUGE... all over the country... those are success stories, so mocking Irish dance is jealosy and ignorance from those people.
be proud, you do something UNIQUE! :D
"The most successful touring show in entertainment history has to day played in over 65 different countries and territories, to over 7 million people on every single continent...Since its world premiere, Lord Of The Dance has become the most talked about, the most written about and the most acclaimed show in musical history".....FACT
Who's best paid dancer in history? I'm afraid it's not Wade Robson, not even Rudolf Nureyev, but Michael Flatley!
Irish dancing is different and maybe "less cool" but it's a genre that influenced world's culture, and pop culture also, greatly.
Other dancers will always look at you strangely, like hip hop dancers laugh at ballet dancers! Or theater don't think much of contemporary! Just do what you want to do and don't be influenced by their IGNORANCE!
I'm currently a student of Broadway Dance Center in NYC and everyone admires me that I'm also an Irish dancer and everyone wants to learn it. And they all are amazing performers, I'm guessing a bit better then the ones from your school (I don't know that though!), so I wouldn't pay much attention to what your inexperienced and narrow minded colleagues are saying.
Also, don't say they're doing "normal dancing". It's a different style from Irish. "Normal" dancing doesn't exist! haha