The Irish Dance Waddle

It’s a feeling shared by so many involved in physical activity. When you dance, lift, run, climb, or whatever your sport, you feel graceful and invincible. You twirl and smile and float along with precision and strength. Then, as soon as you’re done, you hobble off to the side like you just woke up from sleeping in a cramped economy seat on a long haul flight and spend your non-sport walking in much the same hobble.

That’s me this week. Getting it done in dance class, then waddling my way through the rest of life.

I can take stairs up and down okay, but I’ve got the stiff legged, slow walk of a girl whose quads and abs burn quietly with exercise-induced muscle soreness and whose feet have a slightly swollen ache and a sad number of callouses and blisters. On Monday I learned if I don’t tape the second toe on my left foot, I will regret it for a long time.

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Like runners’ feet, dancers’ feet are not pretty. Foot padding, tape, band aids, and lovely creases from poodle socks and ghillie laces. Fortunately still have all my toenails.

Fortunately there’s no class tonight so I’ll hopefully be recovered enough for class tomorrow. The last couple days have been productive and great. I’m working hard on keeping good turnout and cross through all of our drills. We also spent only half an hour on soft shoe yesterday and a full hour on hard shoe, which allowed us to go through the slow trable jig and hornpipe steps more slowly. That was very helpful for me because the slow walk through helps with the whole “polishing” issue I had at my feis on Sunday. This weekend I plan to go through my hard shoe steps carefully to continue the polishing. If I get my steps down and my stamina up, I can concentrate more on the technique I need to start placing those dances (proper turn out, up on toes, clean trebles).

The past month has been a strong welcome to the more competitive nature of my new competition level, and now my practice needs to level up with it. Blisters and all.

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