Sabrina Holmes: fencing and Irish dancing, step by step

Jonas Padilha, Staff Writer

Whether it’s cutting people up on a strip or winning 1st place in an Irish dancing competition, you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to know that what Sabrina Holmes puts her mind to, she’s the best at.

Inspired by her older brother, Holmes began fencing at the young age of 11 years old.

“My older brother did fencing, and when I was little, I looked up to him a lot. I just wanted to be like him, and fencing helped me do that,” Holmes said.

When considering fencing combined with her successful Irish dancing career, it’s clear that Holmes has been a jack of all trades since she was seven years old, when she took up the soft shoes for the first time.

“A lot of Irish dancing is just practice and experience, as well as listening to my teachers and doing what they say,” Holmes said.

These years of practice culminated in her first place win in a Feis (pronounced “fesh”, a celebration of Irish culture that has been around since 1897, where they write, bake soda bread, and most importantly, dance) on October 23. Holmes was overjoyed during this moment, as she felt that her years of practicing had finally paid off.

“It always feels really good to win. Winning this time was better because I had just learned new steps,” Holmes said.

Finding time to practice for these activities is challenging, as Holmes has a job outside of school on top of advanced classes, so she dedicates any leisure time to perfecting her craft of fencing.

“I always practice two hours a day,” Holmes said, “and over the past few years, I’ve seen it pay off as my reaction time has increased.”

This practice is taxing, however, as Holmes often shows up to school tired after staying up late perfecting a new step for Irish dancing.

“With everything going on in my life,  it’s really stressful trying to fit it all into my schedule, especially when I’m training for competitions,” Holmes said.

While some people would feel overwhelmed at the mere notion of putting forth the effort that Holmes does into her sports, the determination that she presents has often stunned her peers. Getting recognition for her achievements is secondary to her, however, as the real prize is the feeling of satisfaction that she earns through each hour of practice and dedication.

“When you pour so much effort and so much of yourself into something, it almost becomes part of who you are,” Holmes said.