Monday, September 1, 2014

10 Things I Learned At My First Feis

What a week it's been! This time last week I was wallowing in self pity about not having a job. I applied to work at a local craft store. I signed up to sell Jamberry Nails (no regrets about that one) But it all worked out! I'm now a first grade teacher! Kids are super cute and I'm FINALLY doing what I went to school for. I'm safe to dance another day!

Oh yes, this blog is about Irish Dance...let's get to it.

The Constitution Feis was great! I'm so glad that it was my first feis. Instead of giving you the typical play by play, I figured I would tell you ten things I learned. I would suppose they are in no particular order.

10. If you have a headpiece, don't wait until the morning of the feis to figure out how to put it in your hair.

Other wise it will mess up your almost perfect hair, you will lose valuable time, you'll curse like a sailor and throw said headpiece across the room. (In my defense, I didn't get the head band OR dress until Saturday).

9. Double check your directions in the GPS.

Otherwise you will end up in a residential neighborhood with a similar street name and have a minor panic attack. Luckily, hubby and I figured it out and were not delayed too much.

8. Apparently, I'm no longer afraid to dance, sing or do anything in front of people.

I never got the butterflies, I never felt scared. I was really excited, maybe chattier than normal at seven in the morning. But I wasn't like crap! Frantic! Ahhh! I actually think that I danced pretty decent for my first competition. I smiled. I bowed the right way. I even made eye contact with the judge. Even during my hornpipe which I felt was the weakest of the three I danced, I felt calm. Thank you teaching? Thank you having to sing in front of others?

7. It's really nice to know people or have people with you when you are somewhere foreign.

Hubby came along for moral support and honestly, so that he could zip my dress and help me pin my cape. It was nice to have him help with all my supplies too. He took video and pictures, he was a great help. I was also lucky enough to hook up with little M and her family (she had to borrow my shoes, long story.) It was nice to have people who were in a similar situation there to talk to and make you feel good when they give you compliments. :) (more on that later)

6. It's important to stretch and warm up, even if you will not be dancing as much as a class day.

This summer I got really good about stretching everything out and warming up before I would practice. It helped my ankles not hurt so much after dancing. Well yesterday I did probably half of what I normally did. I was self conscious about people watching me, I didn't want to over do it, a lot of stretching requires being on the floor and I didn't want to do it on pavement. Well...I should have. Sure the dances went fine but even before I was leaving the feis, my feet and ankles felt tender. Add walking and warming up soft shoe on concrete and I'm babying my feet today. Lesson learned. I will bring a blanket next time.

5. Live musicians are different than the music on my iPod.

Don't get me wrong, it was really cool to dance to live music that was different than my Anton and Sully Cd's. However, sometimes it was hard to hear the beat. B had warned me of this at class on Friday so I'm not too surprised. It wasn't so bad in Light Jig and Reel but my Hornpipe was rough on second steps left side. Normally when I practice with CD's at home or at class my sounds match the music almost was hard to tell yesterday. I finished a few beats before he was done, but again, I can't complain overall.

4. Having someone video tape and take pictures is so beneficial.

Don't worry, it's just for me. I have no plans of posting it. My husband for whatever reason only taped my hornpipe. But I'm glad for this happy accident because when I watched it later in the day it showed me that it went better than I originally thought. Even from where he was standing you could hear my sounds and it was pretty much in time except the last part of the second step. The pictures were nice because they captured the moment, and I got to see how I looked in my awesome dress!

3. I actually feel like I am getting good at something.

I guess it just took horseback riding and gymnastics to realize that dancing, no matter the type is what I'm good at. While I don't have my marks yet, the judge told me my light jig was nicely done and the feis coordinator told me that I did a fantastic job. Friday night my TC and his wife both told me that they could tell I was working very hard. This one was the coolest though, little M's mom asked if I had been taking private lessons over the summer, when I told her I went to camp and had been practicing she said "Wow, I was watching you dance on Friday and I couldn't believe how good it was. You only started in April right?" Holy crap what a great feeling. In the words of John Carey "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work". Except....

2. I REALLY need to get into Novice.

Remember how earlier in the summer I wanted to drop down and TC said it would be weird, no one would be in category? Well he was right. There were no & over advanced beginners at this feis. However...there were also no adults either. I was the only one! Which don't get me wrong, it was pretty cool to get three first place medals and stand on top of a podium, but at the same time...I was disappointed. I wanted to deserve those medals. I feel that I did dance very well for my first competition but I didn't have the challenge of someone else for the judge to look at. Not to mention that those three firsts don't count towards novice. There were 8 people in the & over novice category and one of them was a mom! I don't think I would be able to contend with those ladies and girls at the moment though. I think I need to talk to my TC this week and maybe we can make a game plan. Like I'll compete as an adult for the remainder of the year, work my tail off and start looking at novice in the spring or summer of 2015. Unfortunately, I just can't afford to travel to these places that draw high adult numbers. I have another feis in a few weeks were I am the only one in my category at the moment. Still a reason to work on my turn out, kicks and overs! I only want to get better!

1. The Irish Dance community is small but mighty.

I was a tad nervous that people would be really judgmental of me, but besides some young girls clearly talking about my horrid turn out during my hornpipe (I don't blame them!) I met nothing but nice people. The feis coordinators were so sweet and supportive and even wanted me to convince their adults to start competing. I got many compliments about my dress too! I'm so glad that I took the plunge to compete and now that it was such a great experience I cannot wait to do it again!

Here's the dress! I LOVE it!

Wish it was more zoomed in, but it was my moment on the podium!

My hardware!
Class starts (for real) on Friday! For now, it's back to the first graders!


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