Loving the Studio

There are many days after work where going to dance feels like the last thing I want to do. I’m worn out, I’m hungry, there’s a million things to do at home that I’d ignore anyway if I stayed home, the usual excuses.

However, with St. Patrick’s Day coming up I knew I needed to make it to Monday class, and with a double feis next weekend I knew I needed to make it to Novice/Prizewinner class. And I’m so glad I did, because when I’m in the studio and dancing I am very happy indeed!

Monday Teams practice is especially important to attend because if you are missing, you’re not just impacting yourself but the entire team. We ran through our entire show (~30 min long) twice. Overall it was going very well and I’m confident we’ll kill it during the crazy whirlwind of shows next month! There are a few spacing and “staying in a straight line” issues to fix, but in general no major kinks.

Solo practice was hit and miss for me yesterday. Lots of stickers for the kiddos for Valentine’s Day, so we did a lot of recalls (dance once, then about 1/2 or so dance one step a second time for stickers/bragging rights). I didn’t recall (bottom 4 of 10) in the light jig despite thinking I had done well. Good marks for single jig and reel, but then I didn’t recall for the slip jig. Fortunately I got specific correction that I executed all steps properly, but needed more turn out and cross. Since that was a focus of the light jig as well, that was likely my problem there even though I thought I had nailed it. At least I know what to practice! I also got an honorable mention for best arms in the show-version of the slip jig. Adding arm motions really makes the dancing feel more like a performance and art, rather than simply a competitive sport. I love being able to both compete and perform.

Hard shoe was all around bad. I am doing better in my traditional set (St. Patrick’s Day) compared with how I’ve done traditionally, and I’m nailing butt kicks and whatnot, but I always feel messy and like I don’t have strength or know what I’m doing in the hard shoe dances. Treble jig is feeling more solid (and I got a sticker for that one), except for the new second step. Depending on how it’s going next week, I might run the old way for the feis just to increase my chances of medaling. Hornpipe still feels awful. The first step is getting more solid, but I’m a mess in my second step. I need to hurry up and build my home practice space so I can go through it slowly and just work on improving my hard shoe performance in general.

One positive though. We were drilling the end of our hornpipe step because no one was getting in all the butt kicks. It’s treble toe treble hop back, with a butt kick before the toe and on the hop back. The teacher explained there were two main issues, one being just not moving our legs fast enough. I was an example of legs not moving fast enough, but the positive was in using me as an example, she also pointed out that she could tell I was trying hard, and that I always try very hard in class, but I wasn’t getting it because my legs were still moving a bit too slow. Even though I need to improve my leg speed, being recognized for my hard work in class was very rewarding!

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