After struggling a bit the last couple weeks, having two good training days in a row feels great! Today was Novice/Prizewinner class at the studio. We did a mix of solos and recital/show numbers. My light jig was alright, and I’m feeling pretty good about my reel. The slip jig and single jig were okay. I think I need some more grace to my slip jig. I guess I’m more of a reel girl! My slow treble jig and slow hornpipe, though…I’m not as confident on those. The treble jig wasn’t too bad, and I’m consistently placing 1st or 2nd in that dance, but I’m less confident on the hornpipe. While I’ve been placing 1st of 3 or 4 in that dance for a while, moving up to Prizewinner puts that at a whole new level for this weekend!
Overall, I’m feeling cautious but optimistic about Saturday after today’s class. On top of the 90 min of class, I also did my scheduled 20 min of flexibility/mobility training and got over 10,000 steps in. I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to achieving the elusive splits…
My hard shoes are still slippery despite the sanding I’ve given the tips. How am I supposed to get used to wider tips when I feel like I’m dancing on bars of soap? I’ll definitely be using the old, well-worn and well-loved shoes on Saturday.
For the non-Irish dancers, here’s a brief description of the different dances I mentioned above. Reel, light jig, slip jig, and single jig are danced with soft shoes. Treble jig, hornpipe, and set dances are danced with hard shoes.
- Reel: Upbeat dance in 4/4 time.
- Light jig: Danced in 6/8 time. A bit less frenzied.
- Slip jig: A flowing, graceful dance in 9/8 time. The “ballet” of Irish dance, if you will. Men do not dance this dance at Champion level as this is the “ladies dance” due to its gracefulness.
- Single jig: Fast, upbeat dance in 6/8 time. Bouncier with more jumps and leaps than the light jig.
- Treble jig: In 6/8 time. Fast and upbeat. The traditional speed is faster music than the “slow” speed. Slow speeds are danced at more advanced dance levels as the slower speed of the music allows for more intricate steps. So, slower music, faster steps!
- Hornpipe: In 4/4 time, with emphasis on the first and third beats of the measure. Slightly different steps than in the treble jig, though there is quite a bit of overlap. As with treble jig, there are traditional and slow speeds.
- Set dance: Either a traditional or non-traditional set (Champion level only) may be danced. Set dances are chosen from an established list of songs. Traditional sets were standardized by the old Irish dance masters, are around 100 or more years old, and are danced the same across the world (with slightly different beginnings steps at each school). Non-traditional sets are choreographed by each individual school and may be tailored to a particular dancer. They must be chosen from a standard list of songs, but speed may vary.