Monday, April 10, 2017

Prelim or Bust Part Two: Hansen Keohane Feis

Do you ever have one of those days where you wake up and you're just like: "Nope."?  Well, that was what Sunday was like for me. I knew before I even woke up that this was not going to be the day that all my dreams came true, but I figured what the hell, maybe I'd be pleasantly surprised.

I had a dream the night before the feis that I misplaced my shoes and I roamed all over the feis venue trying to find them, I ended up missing my dances and was very upset, so even though that wasn't real, it definitely set the tone for the day. Then I stopped at the bank to get cash and thought I locked myself in the lobby vestibule and panicked. Haha I'm not kidding. I couldn't get the door to open for like fifteen seconds. The scariest 15 seconds of my life.

The feis itself was not bad. It was two hour ride and I went alone so while I was very calm with my tunes as I was driving in, it was sort of a pain in the ass to get ready without my mom or TC. There was a girl from my school that danced in a different room and I didn't want to rely on her mother so I had very nice random moms ask if I needed help instead. The stages were large and they rotated judges after every dance and the groups were not super large like last weekend. But as I said, it was not my best go. I always seem to have unfortunate luck and I get sick when I have competitions or you know the OIREACHTAS (I legit slept 13 hours today. I don't know if was feis hangover, this cold I'm fighting, or both) but my body just didn't feel right as I was standing in line.

Reel was a mess, it was frantic. Even my 2nd step that I think redeems the not perfected bits of my lead was off. I danced my slip jig on my own and thought it was a good go but no placement. Treble Jig was just okay. The tune had a weird feel to it and the other girl actually had trouble with coming in at the right time so I don't think it was just me. I may go back to wearing my school dress for these two dances because I haven't placed since I've started wearing just the solo. I wonder if the judges expect better dancing when they see me (It was an open champ's dress before I bought it) and then I'm a let down. We'll have to see what happens at Horgan.

Hornpipe had the potential to be great. In fact, when I started I was like "OH? Today might be the day for this one." It was confident, I was louder than the other girl, I hit all my small clicks, my big click was high. Things were going great until my second step where I slide on my heel and I slipped. I recovered well and I didn't stop. I would say that I even finished strongly. I felt very "meh" about the whole day (besides being done after like 30-45 minutes that was nice) So much so that when results finally came out I thought I didn't get anything.

I don't know how I missed it the first time, maybe I didn't see that there were placements for 4th but I tried to be positive about it. I didn't cry. I was more disappointed that I drove all that way and got up so early to not get anything, but I've been trying so hard to not get down about this whole trapped in the grades thing. So many of my friends that are champs were in the grades for a lot longer than me so it feels like I'm being a brat for being so annoyed about it. I told my classmate I'd wait for her results before I left, but then something was telling me to look again. I'm glad I did because otherwise I wouldn't have saw that I got 4th in hornpipe. While I wish it was higher, I'm grateful that the judge saw the potential in it. If I hadn't slipped I'd like to believe that it would have been higher.

So yes, I'm still a grades dancer. I'm coming to the conclusion that my goal of being a full prizewinner by age 28 might not happen. I'm trying really hard to be positive and calm but I was definitely placing better when I was freaking out before the Oireachtas. I don't plan on being that way because I don't want to feel burnt out again. On the plus side, I can't believe I'm already placing in prizewinner dances. Trying to find that silver lining!

Nothing this weekend because of Easter but the following weekend I'll be back at a Horgan Feis!

Bye,

Kay

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Prelim or Bust Part One: Lenihan Feis

Well today was my first feis back after a two month hiatus. I always fluctuate about which feis is my favorite, but I really do love this one. It's well run, it has great trophies, and I always enjoy myself.

I would love to tell you that today was a magical day where I swept everything and I only have two dances until I'm completely qualified for prelim, but it didn't go quite as I thought it would. I'm not too shaken up about it. For one, I've got at least three more chances this month and plenty of other options in the upcoming months. Trying to keep that mantra of "There's always another feis" so far I think it's working. I also felt that I danced everything really well and my TC was very happy with how things went too so I call today a success just for that. If she is happy and seeing improvements than I have to believe that the placements will follow. Third and final justification, I hadn't danced at a feis in two months. I did new steps too. It's all going to come together eventually.

I ended up getting a third in prizewinner reel. In my humble opinion I felt that this dance was the worst of the four, but I'll take what I can get. I've always naturally excelled in this dance. I just love the energy and feeling like I'm flying. I'm also proud that this is the second time in a row that I've placed in this dance so I'm hoping with a bit of fine tuning (I feel like my left foot of the first step still isn't perfect) it will become unstoppable.

I thought hornpipe went okay. I felt Meh about it, but my clicks were high and I felt confident. I danced with a girl who only needs hornpipe to be in prelim so I'm sure she got more attention than I did. I'm not really sure what happened in novice because my TC had nothing but compliments to give but they only gave out 3 placement despite there being 10 of us so I'm hoping I'm close. Feisweb had 2 competitions this weekend so while I'm waiting with bated breath, I have a feeling I won't know until tomorrow.

All in all very pleased and I'm hoping for even better returns next weekend at Hansen Keohane!


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Detours

Well, it's been almost a month since I posted. Jeez.

Honestly, a huge part of it is that my book ENSHRINE is going through edits so every free moment (which seems like a rarity these days) has been spent rereading and fixing and rereading and fixing. That and I've been trying to promote myself because I want someone to actually read it once it comes out.

There also hasn't been too much to share. I did do eight performances this month which was significantly less this year. The majority of them were nursing homes and libraries. But I also danced at this really intimate whole in the wall theater as well as a wedding which was really cool. I don't have too many pictures to share as I am now one of the "advanced" students so I don't wear a school dress anymore. My black performance outfit is not the most flattering so I will be fixing that for last year so I don't want to puke when I see a picture of myself.

Pretty sure that room was haunted...

What your hair looks like after a parade (where you were wearing a hat) and two shows. I wanted my wig!
Anyway, my entry is called detours because I find that I'm struggling to achieve my dreams and be a responsible adult, attentive wife, as well as functional human being at the same time. Don't worry, I'm not quitting. It would take a lot more to make that happen! It was just between performing, class two times a week, working at the grocery store one night a week, freelancing, parent teacher conferences, and getting my book ready for publication...I just about had a nervous break down last week. That and my "super supportive" husband went into a down swing about dance that made me feel like a horrible person so I had to stop and try to figure everything out.

I am dropping down to one day a week for dance, but I don't see this as a defeat. I spoke with my TC and I'll take the class I normally take on Mondays and I'll have an hour to eat and recover and then I will take a second class with the champs. So far I am really happy about this arrangement. I spend more time on my hard shoe and it's the night they do sets, so I'm hoping I might get to learn one depending on how these next few months go. I also feel like being around people that are a higher level than me will help me rise to meet them. I am praying that I get a new higher paying job so that the grocery store will no longer be needed (or you know, get something in HR at the grocery store) so everything will be less stressful.

I'm definitely going to the higher level camp this summer so that's a great feeling! Now to get the results I've been hunting for so I have plenty of time to plan for the future. My first feis in almost two months in on Sunday and I'm super excited. I'm also dancing against more girls that I've ever danced against but I'm hoping that will mean more placements!

Talk to you soon!

Kay

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Feeling and Seeing Progress

This will be a short one. I'm just so happy with a few things that happened that I can't not share.

1. We started our St. Pats tour yesterday. We danced at the same library that I had my first performance with SRL about a year and a half ago. Way back then we danced on tile on top of concrete and by the end of the show my shins were killing me, by the time I was at dance camp I was crying because they hurt so bad. Well yesterday I felt nothing! The floor was slippery and I feel like I was sloppy but HOORAY! There are days that I feel shin pain (like trying to get my bird looking like a bird or sprinting down Chapel Rd) but most days I am pain free. PROGRESS!

2. Remember how one of my last posts I spoke about my toe height regiment? Look at this! (Sorry if you've seen it on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and now here!)

I am truly hoping this is real and not that I was just hitting the ground (E is airborne so I'm not sure what to think) either way, if my dancing looks remotely like this in April I will definitely not get those comments anymore!

Also, remember how I was like "I'm only doing 3 feises?" Hahah....yah...I might be doing 5...I REALLY REALLY WANT TO GET INTO PRELIM, OKAY?"

Bye for now!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Hungry

 "I will feis no more than twice a month going forward. Even during the Oireachtas. ( Please remind me of this when I start trying to get into prelim!)" -Me in November 2016

I'm am in the midst of a feis break. Don't worry, I'm not injured or anything. March isn't my favorite month because a)there isn't anything that doesn't require at least a two hour drive (something that doesn't really bother me as much in warmer months because I don't have to worry about bad weather) and b) St. Patrick's day stuff is in full swing. I was telling someone today that I feel like a horrible Irish dancer but I can't wait for March 19th (I have performances on the 18th too) because I want to focus on feis stuff. I have a point here so let me cut the rambling...

This feis break has been amazing for many reasons. One is that it has been nice to sleep in on the weekends and just relax. I also feel like my super sickness from the beginning of 2017 is gone so I'm feeling healthy and strong. I've been able to practice (though it could be better. I hate this time of year for that. I prefer to practice outside!) and I've started this toe height regiment where I've been doing a bunch of exercises everyday and it's WORKING! Today I hopped up the one step from my foyer to my living all while trying to be as high as my toes would allow and my heel did not drop AT ALL. My TC says that she notices a difference so here's hoping in a months time that the judges will too! The second reason why I'm digging this break is that I feel like everything is starting to really fall into place with my dancing. We are running out of things to perfect and I'm feeling really satisfied and happy with how things are going. I'm still trying to perfect the timing in my treble jig step (I am literally going to sob and collapse when this one gets out because I've been dealing with the So clean it's stupid but it doesn't move novice lead vs. the moves around a lot but I am either too fast or two slow PW lead) but I'm feeling really good about the other three and I still have a just over a month until my next feis. 

However, it seems like whenever I'm a break from feising I see everyone else competing and I start to go stir crazy! I truly love to compete. I love to get all dolled up and I love seeing my friends and classmates do their best and I love watching the Prelim and Open competitions. Believe it or not even the actual dancing for a judge is something I look forward to. Then I do the stupid mental thing where I'm like "What if this was the feis that you would have got those firsts and you're sitting at home instead?" Or if I see one of my class mates did well at one that I'm not at I wonder "Would I have had a great day too had I been there?" I know it's stupid. I know that I would be back to the way I felt before the Oireachtas but sometimes I wonder if I'd be further along if I was out there more often, fine tuning how to dance with others. It's a fine line because I don't think you can always fix your problems within a week or so but that's where I'm at. There are literally six opportunities for me to feis in April but I'm only doing 3. I know, I know I said that I was only going to do two a month but I did three in April to make up for nothing in March last year and I love 2 of the three comps I'm signed up for. The other I didn't do so great in last year so let's call it redemption. That and it feels wrong to skip competitions that are actually in CT.

I wish I could afford to feis frequently. I wish I could travel to some of the ones that are further away (Ryan Kilcoyne because they have those spinny trophies...I'd like to go to Canada because it's CANADA! Really, I'd like to go to every region) I will be going to Texas in September though! I'm so excited! YAY!

Can't wait to get back to feising and probably breaking my promise until I am in Prelim or at least qualified to dance solos at the Oireachtas!

Until then I'm super hungry!

Kay




Monday, February 13, 2017

Same Survey A Year Later

I posted this survey a little over a year ago and think I'm going to make a tradition of it. It's pretty crazy to see that many of these answers changed even simple ones like if I use tanner haha. It will be interesting to see where I am this time next year.

  • What level are you in: I'm split between Novice and Prizewinner
  • Do you compete: Yes. I do about two competitions a month but would do more if I could afford it.
  • How many dance teachers: Just my one amazing TC.
  • Biggest competition: I danced against 19 girls at the Catskill Mountain Feis and placed in my 4 core dances despite that!
  • What shoes: I wear Rutherford Cavans for Soft Shoes and Feis Fayres for Hard shoes. I think I finally figured out the best shoes for my feet.
  • Days you go to class: Mondays for sure. It's supposed to be Tuesdays but sometime the weather or my crazy life has me going on Fridays instead
  • Age group: Senior Ladies (you know once I'm in prelim)
  • Favorite Feis: Any feis that I have friends or family to be with. Preferably ones that are close to home. Though I do love the ones that are in East Durham New York in August.
  • Favorite Dance: REEL! 
  • Least Favorite Dance: Treble jig is getting pretty annoying. 
  • Dress: I have an amazing red. black, and silver dress that I got for the Oireachtas this past year. I plan on wearing until I get into open. It has a "House Stark" themed cape and I absolutely love it. I also added a bunch of crystals so it's sparkly and nice! 
  • Fake Tan: I use the Jergen's natural glow mousse...except it doesn't look natural at all. I liked how it came out for the oireachtas but I needed so many coats. For a regular feis it's usually all streaky. I need to try a different brand once it's all used up.
  • Wig color: I think it's medium brown...like an 8 or a 10 I also know that it's an Alliyah if that helps?
  • Do you think you’re good at dancing: I think that I'm getting to the point that it's beyond knowing what's next. It's the little things that need to set me apart from the other girls so they'll move me up. So I guess I'm good for my level, but still have a long way to go.
  • Favorite Award: I am currently very proud of my prizewinner medals. 
  • Set Dances: I did Jockey to the Fair for the Oireachtas and I am taking a much needed break. We're talking about doing solos next year so while I would love to do the Humours of Bandon I think I'm probably going to end up doing Planxty Drury, which is totally fine!
  • Favorite Move: I can kick pretty high! I also like overs. I love birds but I'm pretty bad at them.
  • Least Favorite Move: I used to do this changemant thing in my slip jig where I jumped and switched my feet super fast four times. Used to are the key words here.
  • Best at: Reel or Hornpipe
  • Worst at: Treble Reel. This has not changed since last year. I'm in a treble reel number for St Pats and I feel like I'm bringing the group down.
  • How far away is dance: One is 45 minutes from home the other is about 20.
  • How many times have you transferred schools: Once. Best decision I ever made. Not changing this answer.
  • Rally, Shuffle, Batter, Treble, Butter: Treble
  • Number of perpetuals: Still none, but I'm not finished yet.
  • Best Placement: I got 6th out of 8 this year at the Oireachtas. But it was my first time and I was pretty sick so I can't complain. I'm also happy with the firsts I've gotten in Novice and the placements I've gotten in prizewinner so far.
  • Dance Shoe Size: 4.5 
  • Can you do freeze leaps: I think this getting better. My Teacher compliments me on how my overs look sometimes.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

I'm Here For You

One of the bloggers that I read religiously when I was first toying with the idea of starting dance as an almost twenty-five year old recently posted after not posting anything in over a year. She hadn't been dancing in a year, hadn't competed in even longer and I sat there, my heart just breaking. One of the reasons why I'm where I am today is because of this blogger, so I feel like I need to pay if forward and tell all of you that I'm here for you.

If you are sitting somewhere reading my blog and you are afraid to start Irish dance because you are too old, not the right body type, whatever...I'm here for you. Sign up. You will not regret it.

If you are tired and exhausted after working all day because you have a full time job, or your going to school, or for whatever reason...I am here for you. Some weeks are better than others. There are days that I wish I could just go home or that I didn't have to work at my grocery store job one day a week after working at school. There are days that my husband tells me that he hates how tired I am. When I dance a reel or accomplish a goal, it's worth it. I have no regrets.

If you feel alone, whether it be because you are the oldest at your school or you are still in the grades while your friends are in champs or if someone has you thinking that you are weird because there are "no adult dancers" I am here for you. I live this everyday. I can't wait to be with my senior lady friends, heck prizewinner has been nicer since its 15 and 16 & over. Love your dance school sisters. Support your friends that are above you. You will be with them soon enough (I need to tell myself this sometimes) As for the nay sayers...excuse the bluntness but f*ck them. They didn't make a new age group for nothing. I know plenty of people who are older than me and even more successful.

If you want nothing more than to drop down but you don't know where to start or maybe your TC wont let you...I'm here for you. There are teacher's out there who WILL let you compete in & overs. I found one and she has tested my abilities every day since. Without her I would have never had the opportunities I've experienced or will be taking part in. Use your voice. Be your advocate. Do not rest if you are not satisfied with your dancing experience.

If you are feeling discouraged with your progress or your results or with how people in your life perceive your journey...I am here for you more than you will ever understand. This may not be the best area for being positive but I will still try to support you. I have been seething mad over being good enough to place 19 times but still remain in Novice. I've cried when my husband tells that he "hates dance". I've felt cheated and and outraged when people in my competitions or even people in my classes get things when they don't work as hard as I do. It would be easy for me to say "Don't worry, you've got this!" but honestly I hate when people tell me that. I do agree with one thing that people tell me though. that when it finally does change in your favor, when the impossible finally happens, that it will make the tough times worth it and I'll be celebrating with you. As for reluctant husbands...progress is a blessing. I'd like for him to love dance but he doesn't say he hates much these days...

To wrap this up, if you ever want to talk, whether it be about something bothering you or about how much you love reel (It will be my favorite until I die) comment on here or if you came here through my Tumblr, message or inbox me! I'm here for you!

Love,

Kay