Dance Brain – Activate!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at my dance school. The unofficial privates+random classes July schedule is over, and our short summer session has begun. So many things are different this year when I look back at last year’s start of summer session.

  • A similar schedule – Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday classes – adds 75 extra minutes of dancing in the studio a week
  • I’m in the official school uniform (shirt with the school logo) for each class, which is not required of adults but is of the kids/champs
  • After debuting my first solo dress last year, I’m now getting ready to debut my tailored-to-actually-fit and newly blinged solo (blinging will probably not debut until October)
  • My tuition class is now Tuesday with the other Novice/Prizewinner kids, rather than the Thursday Adult class
  • I’m not even in the Adult class anymore, I’ve been promoted to the Prizewinner/Champ extra class with a different teacher
  • Last year I was prepping to be out of Beginner for the first time at a feis and focused on promoting anything Novice into Prizewinner (spoiler: I didn’t, but I got a trophy for a 2nd in the hard reel special); this year I’m just hoping not to be dead last in at least one dance in my first non-Adult competition
  • Nervous waiting gave way to extreme excitement last year that there were enough people in my dances at the upcoming feis for them to “count”, while this year I don’t care that I’m the only one paid and there aren’t five in any of my dances, because they’ll likely just combine me down to 13&Over from 15&Over
  • I wear poodle socks to class now, and I have purchased the necessary leg tan, kick pants, and sock glue to no longer wear tights
  • I’ll be a fish out of water at the next feis, whereas last year I was confident and ready

Overall, I’m really happy with the opportunities before me and really proud of myself for coming so far from the day I stumbled into an Irish dance class at the local recreation center in April of 2013.

Is that why this is the most wonderful time of the year at my studio? Of course not. The real reason is – all our steps have changed! Oireachtas is only a few months away and we all need to learn a new reel, slip jig, treble jig, and hornpipe, with a special urgency reserved for those going to Oireachtas.

No major for me this year, but the slip jig I learned over the summer is not the one I’m learning in Tuesday class, so there were a bunch of new steps for me last night. The beginning of the reel is a confusing sequence of steps and switches leading into a leap that I need to keep straight, but other than that the steps weren’t too tricky and it’s just a matter of undoing the muscle memory of the previous year and memorizing the new steps and sequences. If I start going into the old steps at my feis in three weeks, I’ll just have to make sure I do the same thing on both the right and the left leg!

I also had class on Monday, which was a drills class followed by recreational teams. I really wanted to be on a competitive team, but there weren’t enough olds (either 15&over or Adult), but fortunately my main teacher is giving this recreational class while the figures teacher is giving the competitive one! There are three adults, two teen champs, and one young girl. We did a ceili, then worked on a couple show pieces. The little girl was telling her mom how much fun she had after, which was great as I’m sure being in a class with older ladies is as intimidating to her as it is to me being in her classes with all the littles! Meanwhile, I was dying at the end with a painful toe and two hours in the studio under my belt after an entire week off. This worries me a bit for tomorrow, with my newly Novice self trying to keep up with the Champs for two hours, but Drills is always torturous (in the good way) so tomorrow may not be so bad.

In summary, my feet hurt, classes kicked my butt, and I’m feeling fine. Also, since I don’t have any good photos for this post, have a picture of my cat. He has many epithets (the god type ones, not that horrible bigoted contemporary ones), but a good one for this week is “He who does not tolerate flexibility training upon the living room carpet which he has deemed his.”


I like to attack my human when she’s stretching and I eat foam rollers.


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