Thursday, May 10, 2018

The WEIRDEST Feis

Hey everyone,

It's almost a week later, but I went to the Lynn Feis on Sunday and had a pretty good day despite having SO MANY WEIRD THINGS HAPPEN TO ME!


First, I'm so in love with my new look. I'm not sure if I explained it in a previous entry, but I was inspired to go Burgandy after watching figure skating at the Olympics back in February. One inspiration was Tessa Virtue and her Moulin Rogue dress and the other was my girl Evgenia Medvedeva and her Anna Karenina Free Skate dress.


I was lucky enough to meet with Shauna Shiels at Inishfree and I told her "Burgandy and you can do whatever you want for the rest". I was not disapointed. Honesetly, I cried when I took it out of the box. It fits really well and is super light (it was a must!) I also took a plunge and did a new wig. It is going to take some getting used to (though it was rock solid on Sunday) but I'm a fan!

Anyway, back to this crazy day...I looked at the schedule earlier in the week and saw that I didn't have to get up super early. Somehow I got in my head that I was dancing at 11 so I took my time getting ready. I was about twenty minutes into my journey before I had this feeling that I should check again, and I saw that Novice started at 10. Needless to say, I drove a little fast, but found a great parking spot and was able to get my number and be dressed just before Slip Jig. As I was waiting in line I realized that my dress didn't have a number clip, so I used Electrical tape to secure my number and it surprisingly gave me no issues.

I finally debuted my new slip jig steps. I had been playing with them for almost a year, but they were prelim level steps so it took a LONG time for me to get comfortable. Honestly, I'm still not completely comfortable but I got dead last with my old slip jig last feis and my TC and I decided what did we have to lose? It was probably ready at Lenihan last month, but I chicken out at the last minute. I thought it went pretty well for not having time to warm up. My ankle did something weird (I think I may start wrapping them for competition) so I ended up on the wrong foot on the left of my second step, but I ended up getting sixth and not last so I'll take it as a great starting point.

Next was the pinacle of the weird things that kept on happening to me. The new dress came with these gigantic golden bloomers. I had practiced in the dress in front of my TC and I had noticed that they didn't really fit right, but I figured I'd get used to them/I'd make the best of it. Well...I had run reel and slipjig in it that day. This was treble jig. It started of great. Even dancing three at a time I was happy. Then I got to my second step and I felt the bloomers fall down. I was able to grab them before they dropped completely but I had to hold onto them and dance. Eventually, I was so off that I had to stop completely. I still came back in and finished but I was a mix between angry and laughing because did that really just happen? At this point I was convinced that Novice had been a waste but what could I do? I even texted my TC to tell her that maybe this feis was going to be for figuring out the kinks. Honestly, I was okay with it. That should be proof that my mental game is improving. The old me cried all over my TC when I messed up my Treble Jig over a year ago. The old me would have left early if things weren't going her way so I call that a victory.

After buying some new bloomers with an elastic band and meeting up with people from my school and from my prizewinner groups, I did my prizewinner dances. I tought reel went well, but it wasn't amazing. My hop backs could have been bigger and I feel like while I'm calmer dancing with other people, I still think I worry about where the other dancer is when I should be focusing on being crossed, etc. I ended up with a fourth and was just out of placing so I'm not heartbroken.

I ended the day with Hornpipe and while it was rythmic and I hit clicks, I had some flexed feet towards the end and I still have a few awkward moving things in my second step. Despite not thinking it was my best go, I got a third which was an improvement over last feis! This dance has really become my favorite and I have a feeling it may be the first to get out of grades.

I went to get my medal and was shocked when the volunteer handed me two third places. I even asked her what it was for. Shocker...it was treble jig! I thought it went so bad that I didn't even check the paper. At first I was worried that maybe my placements were mercy placements or that everyone got something but that wasn't the case so I guess the Treble jig disaster went better than I thought. The best part? I finally placed with the harder newer steps!

I left the feis feeling very happy, very motivated, and a bit confused. You see, I have pretty much only been going to softshoe class because of my teaching comprimise with Jon. You would think that my hard shoe would be suffering. I mean I drill all the time and I work with my TC on the weekends when she can meet me, but I haven't placed in softshoe since December of 2017. I know I've been learning new steps, but still. I also feel like I'm doing well overall, but it could be better. I want seconds next feis so I started to up my game with my stamina work. No more bike. I started running on the treadmill, say a prayer for my shins. Honestly, I'm thinking about Reaching New Heights Academy. It's so expensive, but I have seen other people be successful so maybe it could work for me.

Okay, it's getting late. Thanks for reading and looking forward to the next one!

Kay

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Born to Make History

I'm going to start this entry off by talking about something slightly off topic. I'm like...a year late to the rodeo, but I just finished watching YURI ON ICE and it was SO good!

Okay, so besides getting really into figure skating after this years Olympics (Evgenia Medvedeva is my favorite!), the plot really struck a chord with me. Yuri is a self destructive, older figure skater who thinks he'll never be good enough. Without giving too much away, he has a complete transformation by the end of the season and I really could relate to him (well, minus the whole secretly being in love with his coach Victor thing. Haha Super cute though!) The theme song (and lyric for today's entry title) is called History Maker and I have started listening to it (and subjecting my Saturday beginners to it when we stretch lol) Who knew an Anime could help my mental game?

Plenty report since my last post. The two months have been quiet but not unproductive. My St. Patrick's day was pretty low key this year. I only did three shows, but I did dance for the preschool-second grade at my school in my old dress which everyone gushed over haha. It went pretty good, but it is so hard to dance solo one dance after the other. Haha. My actual St. Pats performances we fairly easy, I danced in our annual parade, at a children's book store, a local restaurant, and a nursing home. I got many compliments on my dancing which was nice. 

I think one of the coolest things that has changed in the last few weeks is that I am now responsible for our satellite location. This was always the plan for next year, but long story short, I started teaching for money after Easter! Including my Saturday class, I have two beginner classes and an advanced beginner hard shoe class. That's two numbers for the recital this year! There is a part of me that thinks back to the girl that did lyrical, jazz, and ballet for ten years and wonders what she would have thought if she knew someday she'd share a dance school with someone (well not really because I pay no bills or what have you, but you get it...I teach, I give my opinion towards decisions, etc). I don't know if she'd believe me. The best part is that I'm only at the grocery store once a month and during the summer so that's GREAT.

I sold my dress! It was quite an ordeal actually, but thankfully it all worked out. I had someone commit to buying it, pay me, and I shipped it to them only to have to refund them and have it sent back later in the week. It was all for the best because one of my good feis friends ended up buying it instead. Not only does it look better on her than it ever did on me, but I'll still get to see it from time to time!

I have only done one competition since I last wrote, but I'm continuing to be happy with my progress and how things are going with my mental game. I had to dance three at a time in large groups at Lenihan. This used to rattle me, I would be so worried about not hitting anyone that I would be a bundle of nerves. No worries this time around. I just tried to be relaxed and sure of myself that I knew what to do and I was not disappointed. Just out of placing for everything except for Hornpipe. Now I know that I often talk about a judge that dislikes me through association and maybe if I looked back I would remember if I talked about a different judge, but long story short this judge likes what he likes. For two years I've gotten nothing but TURN OUT, UP OFF HEELS, or CROSS MORE from him. I think he placed me one other time when I was all novice. Well, lately he's been just placing me out but seeming to be into my dancing. At Lenihan I didn't freak out when I saw him like I used to. I just danced my best and tried to think about all the things I've been working on. HE GAVE ME 4TH OUT OF 16! I got a trophy and everything. If he placed me in a prizewinner dance that means that things are definitely improving. Anything is possible!

Before results. Back in the school dress because my old dress was hanging up for sale!
I've been working my @$$ off. I have been drilling and working on stamina and doing so much that it's my first day of spring break and I'm laying down because my feet have been hurting and I think they're telling me I need a break. Haha. Regardless, I think it's paying off and my TC seems happy. I still have a long way to go...especially with slip jig. That's back to being the roughest of the four at the moment, but it will be worth it (Prelim level steps are hard! I don't even have a half yet!) Sat down and made my game plan for the next few months. Going to try to do 9 competitions between now and September. I think the more I can work on improving and getting my mental game strong the better. As I write this I'm feeling very inspired and motivated. Ready to put my shoes on tomorrow morning! My next competition is Lynn and if you'll be there say hi! I didn't go last year because of my elbow injury!

Finally, my new dress arrived Monday! IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL I'M NOT KIDDING, I CRIED. I have been super secretive about it, mostly because I'm thinking about doing a big reveal or even having someone take artsy pictures of me in it. When I met with Shauna I had asked for it to be flattering and make me feel confident. I've only worn it in my bedroom and at class to show my TC and I can tell you that it does both. It's so light, I can't wait to wear it to Lynn. That being said, I tried the new hair piece with my bun wig today, and I'm not sure if it's because it's new or because I'm committed to a new me...but I think going to get a full wig. I mean, people cosplay all the time. Why not cosplay the princess version of myself? Haha Either way, you'll be seeing the new look on May 6th!

Okay, I think that's everything,

Kay


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Process Towards Progress

Hello,

Isn't there a quote somewhere, something along the lines of, "work hard and the results will follow?" Well, this post is going to follow that mantra.

I went to the Inishfree Feis a few weeks ago, and it was my first time since transferring that I went home empty handed. Honestly, I'm not that hung up on it so that should prove that I'm making progress mentally. I was actually very happy with how I danced, I've upgraded all my steps and the Mid Atlantic Region can be beastly, so the fact that I was 4th and 5th was very promising. The only disapointment was that both my parents came, so I was hoping it would be a movie-like victory, but oh well. My dad hadn't been to a feis since I danced in adults, so I'll take it.

As mentioned previously, I am now doing steps that I'd never imagined I be able to do. It might have taken longer than I wanted to, but I'm doing things I used to watch be done when I was an advanced beginner. There were pieces in my reel and treble jig that I begged my TC to change and I can do them now. There were days I'd flake out and go back to easier steps in my hardshoe and now I feel like I can do them no problem. I can confidently say that I am dancing better. So yes, maybe it sucks that I'm not placing where I would like, but I know eventually it's going to click and I'll be all set for prizewinner and beyond. An added bonus was I didn' get any "up off heels" comments at the feis. Now to get less comments on crossing.

My other exciting piece of news is that I'm getting a new dress and I'm almost positive that my old one is finally getting a new home. I'm still bracing myself for some fallout, but hopefully it will all work out. It's a Doire!

Bye for now,

Kay


Thursday, February 8, 2018

After Rock Bottom

Don’t worry, I’m still dancing.

I feel like my last entry was kind of bleak. I won’t say that things are one hundred percent better, I’ll be honest with you and tell you parts of December and even January were still rough, but I’m starting to see and feel results because I knew something had to change. There’s a long way to go, but I feel like I’m more committed to getting to champs than ever before, so that has to be a positive direction.

December: Shortly after I updated last, I ended up going to what was formerly known as the Holly Feis, I can’t remember what they call it now. As per usual, I went alone and even though I know plenty of people once I get there, I felt so lonely and was sitting next to a garbage can. A positive note was getting a 4th in my prizewinner reel in a big competition, but “hates me through association” judge was there so that was all I got. After that I got sick. Add that to my messed up schedule and my stamina was gone. I couldn’t get through a full in ANY dance. I was so upset. Luckily I was able to relax over the break.

January: I’m not sure how it is in your region, but it seems like so many competitions did not happen in January so I only went to one, The Fairfield County Championships. I’m still trying to figure out how to compete in a way that makes me not frantic when I’m on stage, so I tried to not fight for the corner, so I think that caused me to not really make an impression. I ended up with a third in treble jig, but spent a good part of my day sitting on the floor in a hallway alone.

It was around this time that I decided that I’m ready to make some changes to better myself. I love competing, but I need to do what I can to set myself apart. I needed to stop relying on easier steps since I’ve been playing with the hard ones for about a year now. So I began to push myself out of my comfort zone. I spent a whole private lesson fixing and polishing what will be my steps in Treble Jig until after the 2018 oireachtas (first places dependent of course) I also attacked my reel lead that has been giving me issues for months and comitted to my new hornpipe step that I did in competiton for a while but stopped because I would have no stamina by the end. I joined a gym so that I could work on my stamina and what not closer to home. The work paid off because now I have no issues with my hornpipe, but not going to stop there.

The only downside is that someone stepped on my phone at class one night, not realizing it was in my bag and shattered the screen. My husband flipped out and told me I’m not allowed to feis until it’s paid for. My husband could be a whole post himself...but I’m trying to prove to you (and really myself) that I’m on an upswing. And don’t worry, I’m still going to feis, just have to figure that conversation out logistically.

February: It’s only the 8th, but I feel like a lot has already happened. First is that I danced at O’Rourke (It was already paid for before phone-gate) and debuted my new steps with large groups. I got a 3rd in my prizewinner hornpipe and was just out of placing with the rest (even with a minor error in the treble jig step I’ve been doing for a year!) I think the biggest victory in all of this was that I felt very calm and even though I had new steps I didn’t feel nervous or anxious while doing them. I felt that my dancing the last two weeks in class has been very promising as well. I want to continue this!

I did take a chance and ask my TC about moving everything to prizewinner. It’s not even because I want to be out of the grades, but I’m just sick of waiting around and feeling lonely. Last weekend wasn’t so bad because I had friends from other schools, but I still got home extremely late. Ultimately, the conversation went how I expected it to and I’m still split between the two levels but I guess it’s just even more proof that it’s time to buckle down, fix the issues that I have, and hope that the coming months are even better. Here’s a rough overview of what I think I’m going to do:

-Continue the gym 2-3 days a week, but instead of just doing cardio. Do half cardio for stamina and then work with free weights and what not to work on upper body and core. Going to find a list of exercises.

-Back to my calf raise regiment. TC says it’s not an issues in soft shoe anymore so I’ll do 100 a day, 50 in hard shoe, 50 crossed in 5th position.

-Crossing is my biggest shortcoming right now. I think it is something that I need to be mindful of at all times. I know that I need to think about having my inner thighs touch while I’m dancing, but I’m also going to start doing drills and exercises so that I’m constantly in this habit.

I am ready to give the judges no choice but to move me. Hell, maybe I’ll do that typical two years in novice before getting out of prizewinner quickly once they are all in. I mean if I can keep up in champ class doesn’t that mean I’m doing something right?

Okay, Thank for checking in!

Kay

Friday, December 1, 2017

SO MUCH TO SAY

Hello friends,

I've been really letting this blog slide and I don't know what else to say other than that I am sorry. It's been a combination of things; my non dancing life has been busy. My second book is so close to having a release date. I've been writing another when I can squeeze it in. I have a new job (It's December so I guess it's not so new anymore) that I enjoy and thank God for everyday but it's also very time consuming. 

I think the more obvious (well to me, at least) reason for my lack of posting is that I hit a low point in my dancing. The most concise version of this story is as follows: I offered to teach a Saturday class to help my TC. My husband got upset that I would be doing something dance related 3 days a week. In an attempt to compromise, I dropped to only going to class once a week and met with my TC to run things when she could meet me. Well, I went from dancing 4-6 hours a week last year to getting 2-3 if I was lucky. The closer I got to the Oireachtas the worse it got. I was going to the hour and a half trad set class. My dancing was suffering. My mental game was non-existent. I went into my Oireachtas with low expectations, but I hoped to at least contend with how I did last year...

...I got last.

If you follow me on Tumblr you already know that I messed up. I know in the past I've compared dance to gymnastics, but now I know what an elite gymnast feels like when they are at the Olympics or Nationals or what have you and they fall off the beam or step out of bounds. I literally zoned out and missed one bang. The rest of it was strong. Everyone else was so good that despite having a hard set dance this year it wasn't enough. That was it for me, rock bottom. My mom actually asked me if I wanted to quit. She said she wouldn't blame me. "You work so hard and you're never rewarded. I would understand if you can't take it anymore." It hurt, and yes I was upset, but it was more that I was afraid to come home and tell everyone that I was empty handed, that I got last. Then I realized that I felt that way at every feis since I last wrote. That was a problem.

I love dancing. I love competing. Yet, at every feis I was angry at myself and my bad fortune. Not enough dancers. Got that Judge that hates my school AGAIN. I was so worked up and anxious and upset that I never danced as well as I did in class. Once again I had this epiphany that every feis or most competitions this was the case. I could make excuses about Jon or Nana or the girls I dance against but HOLY CRAP IT'S ME! I'm the one mucking thing ups! 

I posted over the summer about my mental health and how it scares me. I said I was aware of it then. I'm doing something about it now. I've always been anxious about things, but if it's holding me back and not letting me live (and dance) to my full potential, forget that. I talked with my TC today and she believes that this is not the end. I'm not just a grades dancer. I'm with her. But for that to happen, things have to change.

1) No more negativity. In an earlier post I was wearing a bracelet and switching it from one wrist to the other when I'd have a bad thought. I'm going to wear it again. I had my best results at a feis when I did that. A girl from my sister school does this and she world qualified today. If she can overcome her anxiety, so can I.
2) Get back into a structured class schedule. My husband isn't going to like it, but I need to get back to class two days a week. We're going to have to talk about it, but I'm hoping I'll be able to figure it out. I also told my TC no Saturday class next year. If I could get rid of it now I would. I'll report back on that.
3) Fresh Start: You know how sometimes you associate something with how well you are doing or aren't doing? Well, my red and black dress has to go. It's beautiful, but I feel like I'm wearing someone else's skin. It feels cursed. Bye.
4) Solos or No Oireachtas. No more Trad set. 8 girls two years in a row. I am perfectly okay with coming in last or close to last in Senior ladies because DUH, there are girls that have been dancing all their life in there. Trad Set continues to give me false hope (and stress). No more Trad Set.
5) Get Help. This is the part that scares me the most because I'm afraid I'll be stigmatized or that they'll tell me I need to be locked up, but I made an appointment to see a therapist. I think if I can find ways to deal with my frustrations and anxieties it will help across the board. It's almost funny; career wise, I'm the happiest I've been since getting a full time teaching job, I'd like to feel that way about everything in my life.
6) Stop comparing yourself to others. This is so hard but I'm hoping with time and help I'll be able to overcome this.

I dance Sunday and I'm trying to go in as mellow as possible. I usually have a game plan for this, but I'm going to try not thinking and see how that goes for once.

I solemnly swear that I will post more.

Kay

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Detours, Scenic Roads, and Unexpected Ventures

See what I did there? All those journey puns?

Don't worry, I'm still dancing. Honestly, I thought I had posted more recently, but I must have meant to post and just never sat down and did it. Stuff has been happening though!

East Durham Feis: I'm calling it. Favorite Feis. I just love how relaxed it is! It's a beautiful ride up and my mother always comes along. I danced early and we were home by the early afternoon. The best part of this day was that I was so relaxed that I got 2nd in both of my dances still in novice, missing first by one point!

Back to Trad Set: Since I teach a baby beginner class on Saturdays now, my TC has been awesome enough to give me free privates when she can meet me. Honestly, I think it's been so beneficial because we can really pick apart things that need work and I'm not stressed out because of x, y, or z. Well...we discovered that even though I was on track for solos...I technically wasn't qualified for them. I needed prizewinner firsts not novice ones, but I'm not too hung up about it. With my schedule this year, I do not think I would have been adequately ready. I'm back in Trad set and while it will be a small group again, I'm doing The Three Sea Captains this year and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I love how technical it is and it makes me proud because I feel that I've learned so much since last year when I was doing Jockey!

IAA of NW NJ Feis: I didn't do so well at this one. This was completely my fault. I made the conscious decision to go to a party at a friends house the night before. While I wasn't hung over or anything like that, I ended up only getting about four hours of sleep. I was cranky and tired and by hornpipe I was done. I ended up leaving early because I knew it was going to be disastrous. Despite being in the car for almost as long as I was there I was happy for a few things. 1) I got forth in trad set in the prizewinner group. 2) I got a 3rd in slip jig 3)I would have won treble jig had there not been three boys 4)mini doughnuts.

New England Autumn Feis: Even though my results were not ideal, I still thought I brought my best that day. I got a third in my slip jig even though I was convinced it was the slip jig of a life time (we finally fixed what we think might be holding me back. Looking forward to trying it out.) I also got 5th in trad set in the prizewinner group again. I'm hoping as I get more confident the placements will get higher. I also had a great day with my dance family.

Those are the big things. We found out yesterday that I've been doing clicks wrong for almost 4 years (kicking the first leg higher than the second) but I'm hoping now that that's out of the way it will help get my treble jig out. My TC and I discussed that we may just focus on Slip Jig, Treble Jig, and Trad set until they are flawless (even though the first two have felt that way for a while. I guess there's always room for more!) Oh I got a new bun wig too! It's not too exciting, just a closer match to my hair color!

Okay, That's it for me,

Kay

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Dongan Feis, An Injury, Two Camps, and a New Mindset

Hello,

So much to report! Let's stick with dance stuff for now. :)

Dongan Feis: Can I just start by saying that this place was so cool? Approaching it from the highway and seeing "the egg" was quite the sight and I've never been somewhere that was a) so huge (I literally practiced in a wing by myself and b) so organized. They had all the grades stages run at once and had the musicians just crank all the reels out before moving onto the next dance. They also had results, vendors, and professional pictures all in the same room as the dancing. It was really neat. I went solo because honestly, if I don't go by myself sometimes, I would never feis. Luckily, there were people from my school and I got to see some of my Prelim friends that I met at CRC.

Results wise, I ended up snagging a third in slip jig. I'd tried to do this new thing where I pretended that the judge was in love with me and that my first was guaranteed. Slip jig was my first dance and I feel like it really helped my confidence. The girl I danced with even said she thought I had it in the bag because the judge was watching me. Then I started to get anxious about who I had for a judge and if they were watching me and though I didn't have any major issues, I didn't get any other placements. That and did my new hornpipe steps for the first time in a very small group of really good prizewinners. One of them looked like she could have danced at Nationals "look wise". I left feeling a little disappointed, but still satisfied.

The Injury: That night, I felt a pain in the side of my foot and it seemed to get worse and worse as the weekend went on. With dance camps and Oireachtas season beginning I didn't want to mess around so I went to see an Orthopedic doctor. My first doctor took x-rays and put me in a boot for three weeks. I will be honest and tell you that I only wore the boot for two weeks before I felt like other parts of my feet and shin began to hurt so I went back to wearing two shoes. It felt better to wear shoes and roll it out. I followed up with a new podiatrist today and she thinks I might have tweaked something at Dongan because I had relaced my shoes and tied them really tight. Regardless, I'm SO relieved!

Dance Camp Week One: The first week I helped my TC out with "little kid camp". I'm teaching more classes this year so we thought it would be good to get a head start. I ended up working with some of the Novice dancers on technique and taught a brand new group of hard shoe dancers how to do a treble jig step. I also helped her with a class of brand new baby dancers all of which registered for the fall! The last day my TC had to catch a flight to Texas so I was in charge of 30 girls but we all survived.

Dance Camp Week Two: I attended my own Oireachtas boot camp last week. In someways, I am incredibly proud of how it went. I now have everything I need for my three rounds and learned how to do some cool leaps that I never thought I'd be able to do. I also made new relationships and strengthened several I already had. However, I felt really intimidated by being the lowest ranked person in the solo group and I totally headcased. It was not pretty.

Looking Forward: One of the things that we did at camp was watch videos with a sports psychologist. He works with Olympic Athletes etc. He suggested wearing a bracelet and that every time you have a negative thought to switch it to your other wrist. I've been doing it for about a week and I'm actually surprised. I'm not moving my bracelet as much as I thought I would and I'm starting to figure out what makes me have negative thoughts (THE OIREACHTAS) I'd like for this to be better someday, but for now I'm aware and it's making me think about my attitude.

I had a private lesson today that also helped my morale and outlook. All my feis steps are solid and my TC sees improvement. My rounds are in good shape (I have a weird new thing in my 3rd hornpipe step) and my TC seems happy.

I've decided that I'm done worrying about placements. No more "pretend I already won", "pretend I'm already in prelim", or "pretend the judge is in love with me". I'm not going to worry about girls in brand new Gavins or girls that have toe stands in novice. I'm not going to watch the other dancers at all. I am going to go to a feis and just enjoy myself. There have been moments where I ask myself why I dance since it brings stress to my life (JB hating it mostly) but it's the way I feel when I learn something new, when I get a jump the champ girls do in their steps, or the way I feel when I'm all dolled up waiting to dance. That's why I know I'm not done and I won't be done for a long time. Now to just remember why I started (Not trophies, but because it looked like fun) and the rest will fall into place.

Bye,

Kay