Thursday, March 9, 2017

I Believe I Can Fly

I don't know why I had so much energy tonight, but I felt like I was really lifting off the ground at class tonight. I was even trying to work more on toe point. I think I need to do like fellow blogger/Irish dancer Kay and do some exercises to work on toe height. My upper body is still a challenge, but overall, I felt pretty good tonight. In ceili, I was partnered with my awesome classmate who owns the awesome solo dress, and I always feel like she pushes me to be better with my form. This was one of those nights when I sort of felt like my work was paying off a bit. I've really been trying to work on slip jig lately. I even stopped and ran through my newest step at a little pavilion at the park yesterday, and imaginary slip jig music was in my head when I went for my jog. Even though my clicks, especially on left foot, weren't where they were pre-pregnancy, I think I am finally getting back in my groove (or rut...I still have a long way to go). I think that with the proper training and hard work, I could make it to prelims someday. Of course I would have to drop down first, and I already feel like I take dance more seriously than my classmates, and I worry about sucking the fun out of it for them (even though I am having the most fun when I have a competitive goal to work towards). For now, I am just working on getting through grade exams. I'm thinking it was not such a great idea to take a grade exam exactly 1 week after St. Patrick's Day, since we aren't having class next week, and today's class was mostly focused on St. Patrick's Day stuff. Good thing I am only doing grade exam 6. Now if only I could kick my butt more on the Blackbird.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

When Everything Goes Right

     Two weeks ago, my dance school's main teacher taught our class. He doesn't usually, as I go to a humongous school, and the adult class has their own separate teacher. I was a little bit nervous, because I felt like this would be perhaps my only chance to be noticed for being something more than just another adult dancer. I always imagine scenarios in my head, hoping that everything will play out in the most favorable way, and while it didn't quite go as I had imagined, it was a pretty good night, and February was a great month for Irish dance :)
     I felt like I was catching on to the new steps pretty quickly, and sometimes while I was walking through them, he would watch me and comment when I got a segment right. The best part of the evening came when my usual teacher was telling the lead teacher about me signing up to do grade exam 6. Turns out they were having a grade exam prep workshop that weekend...with the rest of the students. I got an invite to go to a workshop with everyone else! Another one of the adults and I made plans to attend. Plus, the teacher told me I could stop by during the regular prizewinner class to work on my steps for grade exams! Unfortunately, it will probably be unlikely that my husband can make it home from work in time to watch the baby while I go to dance class at 5 in the evening (adult life, sigh), but it was exciting and nerve-wracking to get the invitation.
     The workshop went well. I was nervous, because I felt like I was going to a new school for the first time, but it was the same school I've been at for a year and a half, just with a different teacher and different classmates. They did some drills I didn't know, but the teacher was understanding, and some of the teens were helpful, too. They went through the earlier grades' material really fast, but it was a good challenge to be thrown in to learn the basic steps. During the last half of the workshop, we worked on our feis stuff. I sort of felt like I was being thrown in the deep end, as we did the lead-around we had just learned two days earlier. Still, it was good to get feedback on my regular two reel steps. (We were doing three steps since most of the dancers were champs.)
     I was glad there were two of us adults there. My treble jig's second step is a mess (even though I have been working on it for a year or so), and the only reason I did it was so my adult classmate would have someone to dance with. However, the teacher stopped the music in the middle because I was so off-time, and asked one of the younger champs to go to the other side of the studio to help me with the new treble jig step the adults just learned two days earlier (I didn't realize I should have prepared that step). Part of me feels like I should be mortified that I messed up so bad, but maybe it is maturity that I am actually kind of glad it worked out. I got confirmation that I should give up on my old step for now and do a different one, and I got help with learning another one. My classmate doesn't do non-traditional hornpipe yet, so I asked a couple of the teenage girls if I could dance my two steps with them. I was a little timid, but I got a thumbs-up from my teacher. This, along with the "great hornpipe rhythm" comment that I got at my last feis, confirms that I may finally be conquering the hornpipe.
     In other exciting Irish dance news, one of my classmates was looking for someone to wear her old solo dress to feis in. She doesn't compete solos anymore and just wanted to see her dress danced in again. It is not only a gorgeous dress, in a beautiful royal blue that is totally my color, but also it is themed after a science fiction show that my friends and I watch. My husband loves the show, and we even chose my son's name from the name of one of the characters on it. So here is this amazing dress, and IT FIT ME! My teacher (the adult class' teacher) said it was a smidgen short, but as long as I wore black tights, I could wear it. I was overjoyed and signed up for a feis specifically to wear the dress. This was a week before the workshop, but I only signed up for reel, slip jig, and hornpipe because I didn't want to disgrace the dress with my shoddy treble jig, and I had to cut costs, so I cut out traditional set.
     The week following the workshop, I felt like my slip jig was finally clicking, like I was finally getting the rhythm and corrected a spot that I had been messing up on for a while. I have the stamina for the two and half steps for the grade exam, but I need a little more work on the newest step (the half step) I learned. I've also finished learning the Blackbird, and I even taught Siege of Ennis to my class to practice for the grade exam. It was a good month of Irish dance :)