Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The post where I try to justify my feelings...

My brushes with Irish dance in childhood were sparse.

My mom taught religious ed on Sundays. We went to the school on a Saturday once to get something and there were girls in crazy Celtic knot covered dresses and wigs everywhere. I was confused at the time, but apparently we had come to the school during a feis.

My cousin had a pair of gillies. She must have got them from a friend because she never took Irish step dancing a day in her life. She wore them like slippers. Thinking back on how hard they look to put on, it's kind of weird.

Nope, I really didn't get a taste of Irish Step Dancing until I was in high school. I worked and was in band with a girl who lived in Ireland until she was 11. At every diversity assembly we ever had she would do her soft shoe dances. I thought it was pretty cool. But at the time I was taking 4 other kinds of dance and helping teach preschoolers ballet and tumbling. Plus there was all my music things, and schoolwork. Like I said, My best friend and I joked about it. "We should do Irish Step Dancing" "YEAH!" "We'd have to do it with little kids though..." "Oh...well never mind then." Wish I could go back in time and make my teenage self do things.

Anyway...this whole idea was spurred by several things. One is that I hate working out. I would walk all over this planet. I would do dozens of back handsprings into a pit of foam blocks. But put me on a tread mill and I am bored in 5 minutes. I am getting older. I NEED to stay active. The other kind of happened by accident. I was reading a book about different types of dances to one of my classes and the reel came up. A student asked what it was. We looked it up on Youtube, someone said that another student was an Irish step dancer. Next thing you know, I've got a third grader doing a full blown dance and I was like...oh yeah, Irish Dance is cool.

After watching Jig (Awesome if you haven't seen it) The Big Jig (which was pretty much the Irish Step Dance version of Dance Moms...Yuck) as well as about a 100 parade of champion clips on Youtube...I started thinking. I danced for 10 years. It's like comparing apples and oranges but it looks fun, I was in the best shape of my life, and why the hell not.

That was when I private messaged another Irish Dancing Friend I met in college, started researching schools, reading blogs and forums. What was out there for someone who will be turning 25 in two months from Thursday?

My friend actually surprised me when she said that it wasn't too late to compete. Because lets face it...in the world of gymnastics that ship has long sailed. My class is pretty much an unstructured "open gym" and while it's a fabulous work out...It's purely recreational. I have no where to practice flips, hand stands and whatnot in this tiny apartment anyway. I'm sure that if I keep with gymnastics I will eventually get some harder tricks I didn't have as a teen, but there is nothing pushing me to get them quicker.

I danced for 10 years, and while I never got on that competition team, I was always trying my best so that if that day came I would be ready. I also got many other opportunities because of that drive. I was in trios and small groups. I was featured in numbers. I got to dance with the little ones in class and at the recital. That drive made me love and appreciate dance. I've always been sad that it had to go to the wayside when music took the for front and I had to focus on it for college.

I feel that Irish Dance instills the same values as other aspects of dance. You learn your steps and dances and perfect them. But I think the key difference is that you could be 4 or 75 and if you want to compete, you can. It won't be easy, you may have to step out of your comfort zone, but everyone has the chance to become a champion not just those extremely gifted tots or high school girls. There are all sorts of levels and people have a shot against people with similar experience. I believe that will be my driving force. I want to compete and win something. I'm not looking to be the next Brogan McCay (Although by the time I would ever be good enough to go to Worlds we'd probably be in the same class...) but I'd like to be the best that I can personally be. My friend told me her T.C. didn't start dancing until she was 30 and in three years made it to nationals. That's pretty amazing. Dance was what I was the best at, so why not try?

The plan is to go twice a week if I can afford it. It all depends on what's available. Adult Class? Regular Beginner Class? Private? There are two places near where hubby and I have been looking at houses and one Academy in my hometown (Could visit my parents before or after?) There are also two by my work but the classes would be well after I would want to be at school. So I guess we'll have to see what the emails say...

I asked one of my sixth graders today where she went and she said. "Well I used to go to _____________, but the teacher makes the older girls cry!!!" Surprisingly, I am not that daunted by that. I was used to being yelled at for not having steps perfect, or for not lifting high enough in a leap. Hell, my old dance teacher used to tell me that my complexion sucked as a teen (it was kind of true though) If you want to be the best, you have to work and as much as I love rainbows and happy, I know it isn't always going to be. I want to be treated like anyone else. Not like I'm old. Not like I'm just doing this for fun. I want to move up. I want to succeed. Heck, I would like to wear a sparkly Gavin (hahahaah with what money?) and have a sash draped over me. I've seen "senior" ladies in those parade of champions. You can't do that if you are babied.

One thing I've got going for me, is that if I compete in &overs, I'd blend in. I always thought I was tall growing up, but there must be something in the food these kids eat now. Most of my eighth grade boys tower over me and a lot of the girls are my height or a bit more. Girls in my gymnastics class forget that I'm married and a teacher. Maybe people won't notice that I'm old...haha

Okay, this has turned into a novella. Nothing left to do but email. Wish me me luck. I will keep you posted.


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