I have a countdown for everything Irish dance related on my phone. The East Durham Feis is 4 days and change away. The IAA of NW NJ feis is 19. Every single feis that I've paid for (or will send the check in for in the case of Verlin (Plot twist...doing that one because of various reasons) but there is one date that is 88 days away that makes me a strange jumble of feelings.
My day to dance at the Oireachtas is 88 days away. Part of me feels so happy and honored that I'm going to represent SRL and do something that I've always dreamed of doing, but was never sure that I was going to get the chance. I've been dancing Jockey for about a year now. I did some significant work and made improvements at summer camp. Then I danced at the Catskill Mountain Feis and didn't place. Usually when that happens I'm close. Maybe I get 4th.
I got last.
I try not to be one of those people that cries foul when their results are not what they wanted, but I have danced jockey worse than I danced it that day. I've slipped, I've fallen out of my boxes, I've been out of time. While it wasn't perfect, I certainly don't think it warranted 7th out of 7. I have a love hate relationship with this judge. Without giving too much away, he's an adjudicator at many local competitions. He's tough. I'm happy that he placed me in my core hard shoe dances because at previous competitions, I got nothing from him. He's also judged my tradset before and given me last before (this was out of 4 people so I think I might have still placed. I could make excuses...he was hugging and chatting up some lady as the musician was playing the intro and a mom had to get his attention or if he is some sort of traditionalist that only places people that dance St. Patrick's day, but it was upsetting to see that and I definitely think it made me feel insecure. It made me wonder if I'm going to put all this work into things, spend all this money, and there's a chance that I might not recall. I know it's one judge, I know I've got time. But can I handle the disappointment when I already feel like I'm fighting to make up for lost time?
I'm trying to go along with the positive thinking mindset that worked so well for me a few weeks ago. I might have gotten last a few weeks ago, but I've gotten first, second, and 4th many times (sometimes a placement, sometimes not enough dancers to place that many of us) Further more, I did hard shoe on the last day of champ camp. I danced for five hours and while I won't say that I kept up with them the entire time (There were some hornpipe drills that had me feeling like I was patting my head and rubbing my stomach) I never once felt ashamed to be standing among them. In fact, two of the girls from our sister that are in prelim were up and I do a very similar steps for my PW treble jig. I'm doing pretty good for how much I have on my plate. I'm 27, I have lots of jobs, I have a husband, a house and I know I'm going to get into prizewinner this year. People have been telling me that I'll be qualified before the oireachtas and using that positive mindset, I'm going to agree with them. I have been practicing, I'm finally getting comfortable with my steps, I'm going to try really hard "just dance" and not worry about whether or not the judges are looking at me. I feel like I'm so close.
To go back to my trad set for a moment I went to drop in classes last week (I think I talked about this last entry) Made some additional headway on Jockey. I used to lose my balance in a particular section and my TC and I hopefully fixed that once and for all. I'm feeling much better about Jockey and I'm hoping that I can crush it (along with my other dances) this weekend. That and I have a private on Thursday as well as an hour devoted to tradset each week that is going to make me even better. I am going to recall. I'm going to get nerves of steel and I will perform the best jockey to the fair of my life at the oireachtas. I'm going to cry when I see my name on the recall sheet. A small part of me wants to win like my little love did last year. I listen to Anton and Sully Vol 4's presentation music and I get weepy. That should be motivation right?
The fall is going to be busy, challenging, and fun. Even though I am not going for solos, my TC is giving me a training plan just like the champ girls. Not only do I have to go to class and practice at home (which has been going okay...but as usual, could always be better), I also have to do two core sessions, a strength session, and a flexibility session each week. I started today. Going to the gym instead of swimming at the pool. I was able to do a core and strength session today in my 45 minute workout. It's going to take dedication, but I'm hoping that practicing, cross training, getting comfortable competing (which is why I'm feising as often as I can afford.) and hopefully on November 20th I will do as well as my friend Siobhan did (She got 6th!) if not better!
88 days and counting...