Two years, two months, three weeks, and a few days since I won my Novice hornpipe at the East Durham Feis in August of 2016. I have literally been through hell in back in that time. Minor injuries, first place wins with not enough dancers to count, getting second by a point or even less, unsupportive spouses, two non-recalling showings at the Oireachtas, unfair treatment by an adjudicator due to association, collisons and wipe outs on stage, but I think the biggest obstacle I faced since winning that hornpipe that day was putting so much pressure on myself that I was a mess. I might have loved dancing but god dammit if I didn't win. I was a self destructive implosion. I might have looked calm waiting in line but I was a clammy palpitating bundle of nerves. I was truly beginning to believe that I was never going to become anything in dance. That I was wasting my money and time and that no one thought I belonged there. I went to therapy (for a variety of reasons...but partly for dance) for almost five months and I think I'm finally starting to see results.
Where I'm going with all of this is...all that struggle and hard work and what not? It finally paid off. :)
But first I'm going to leave you in suspense and recap what I've been up to since dance camp when I posted last. Sorry.
East Durham Feis
This really is my favorite feis I do all year. However, I will be honest and I always hope I'm going to have the same luck as I did in 2016 and I think I set unfair expectations for myself. I also goofed this year with the timing and we got to the feis and I checked things out as my group was going up for their slip jig and had to do that obnoxious thing I hate where I asked the stage hand if they would let me dance even though I was late. Despite that anxiety inducing experience (not to mention debuting new steps in the dance I was late for and had to dance alone in), I thought my dances went well enough. I didn't place in anything but it was the first feis of the season so I tried to walk away thinking of what went well before classes started the following week. I got sixth in all my dances in large groups so it could have been worse.
|I ran to my stage, so my wig slipped back.|
Constitution State Feis
I hadn't done this one since I danced in adults! It was not a great day placement wise. It was the typical song and dance where I won slip jig and got second in treble jig but there were not enough people so cue the sad trombone. It was also my last feis doing all four dances as the plan was to focus just on the ones that I needed. I didn't get anything in reel or hornpipe though I was a little rattled because I promised some of the girls in my class I would ride this ride that went upside down and I did. (Eventually twice because I am a saint or a masochist...) I also rode a roller coaster (with my wig on...but wait it gets worse) before Prizewinner so I think the fact that I even got through them is a miracle. After Frantic a second time and some water slides (In my wig...yes...I think I had a serious lack of judgment.), I ended up going to bed as soon as I got home from the feis because I felt GROSS!
|Horgan has the cheesiest trophies, but now I have THREE from their competitions (2 from not dncing with enough people)|
|Great day with dance sisters like G.|
|My Prizewinner People C and E|
New England Autumn Feis
My first feis just doing the two novice dances. I was the first competition of the day and had to get up super early. This was also the first feis that I took a natural stress reliever before I danced and while it didn't work as well as I thought it was going to, I still thought my steps went better than they did at the previous feis. I ended up getting fourth in both, though only slip jig got a placement because of how many girls were in it. It wasn't perfect by any means, but I was still happy overall.
|Never got a ribbon before|
Classes so far
I think one of the biggest things that has helped me this year is how well class has been going for me. I think this is for several reasons. 1. I'm actually attending class for myself regularly which heaven knows I'm not able to practice enough so yay. 2. I've only been doing slip jig and treble jig so we've been able to iron out the details. 3. I'm not a hot mess dancing in front of my class mates anymore. Thanks to summer camp, I feel much more accepted. I've already mentioned this but it took me almost an entire year to be able to do my old slip jig and I'm planning on doing my complete new slip jig from camp at Harvest Time next weekend. With the exception of a weird turn thing in my second step, it's pretty comfortable now too. I'm scared to know the state of my reel after not doing it for two months though...
We recently changed something in my treble jig to make things look cleaner and it's worked wonders. It was clearer, more crossed than what I had done previously. Unfortunately, my third step is not going as well. In my defense, the last two weeks have been ladders and stamina and my legs are gelatinous by my third step, but lucky for me I don't need it right now. I was reluctant to just focus on Treble Jig after camp, but I'm glad I did because...
I FINALLY WON TREBLE JIG! After getting third place something ridiculous like 30 times and second a handful of times it finally happened! I've still been working out how many Rescue Remedies (the stress reliever supplement) to take and how long before etc. I had a private lesson where I took two and felt almost too calm and I only took four (they're like cough drops) in the course of an hour or so before I danced at the New England Autumn Feis and I still felt pretty nervous. I ended up doing five this time and it hadn't really kicked in for Slip Jig. (I still thought it went better than the previous feis though. I think I'm just getting more comfortable with it) but by Treble Jig I was calm cool and collected. It also helped that many people from my school were in front of my stage cheering me on so I felt like I was dancing for them more than I saw dancing for the judge. I thought it went well enough and I was hoping for a placement. When I went to wait for results I was initially disappointed that I didn't get anything and slip jig, but decided I would wait for treble jig instead of going back to the gym. I ended up seeing my number in the top spot before the volunteer even glued it to the board. I teared up but it wasn't until "it was official" that I burst into tears. Like I'm not even kidding when I say that I've been doing a lot of thinking lately and I was beginning to tell myself that I might never get to prelim and that maybe it just wasn't in the cards for me. Or maybe I'll have a baby in the near future and then come back to dance. More and more people are dropping down, etc. But I finally broke through! I proved that I could do what I thought was impossible.
Last time I won, I was at a feis with my mom which was cool. She wasn't able to come last week, but so many of my dance family was there that I got so many hugs and excited congratulations. Even better, some of their moms, who have been watching me go through this celebrated with me and told me how proud they were of me. It was a great day, and honestly I was so happy I wasn't able to sleep. LOL.
|Had a thing for work after the feis so I went the natural hair route|
So I have one novice dance to go, thus the 80% prizewinner title. But I'm trying to think on a much more broader scale. I really have five more wins until Prelim and since I've already got my four previous wins (Light Jig, Reel, Hornpipe, and now Treble Jig) I'm at 45% qualified for prelim. I feel like that makes this task seems much less daunting...
I will say that the work is never done. Two of those firsts are slip jig and while I feel like slip jig and I have a much more healthy relationship, I'm still predicting my hard shoe will be out first. Stranger things have happened I guess.
My stamina isn't great, but I guess that's not exactly a new problem. The bright side is that during ladders I've been doing three steps when I still only need two steps at the moment. I also find that my soft shoe stamina is better than hard shoe so that is promising for slip jig.
Now to focus on the little things so that when I'm calm while dancing that they'll have no choice but to place me. I'm certainly motivated so I hope the coming months are GREAT.
Okay, that's it for me. I feel like this might be choppy and disjointed because I've sat and worked on it four separate occasions. Thanks for coming along for the ride!