I had a double feis this past weekend, which is one feis Saturday and a completely different feis Sunday, rather than the more typical set up of one feis but different competitions (usually a champ day and a grades day) each day.
The first day was great. I messed up my reel, of course, as I always mess it up due to nerves, but overall I was pretty happy with my dancing. I got a 2nd in my slip jig, which was very exciting, and I placed in my treble jig, traditional set, and light jig. After having problems placing in the big 4 dances (reel, slip jig, treble jig, and hornpipe) since dropping down, these were good results and the most places I have gotten in a single feis since dropping down.
The second day had me questioning my entire participation in this sport. I had a good time during competition and felt that I did well, maybe even better than the day before especially for my reel. Then I saw my results: 5th in my reel, 4th in my slip jig, and that was it. I was so disappointed and angry. I had seen other dancers thinking they didn’t do that well, and here I was with poor placings while those others got many placings/high placings. How terrible must I look to do poorly next to them? Is my entire perception of myself and my ability a lie?
I spent the entire drive home doing a mix of stewing and contemplating. Clearly I had two choices before me.
The first was quitting. I had a good run, but I just started too late. I’m too old, too heavy, too bad, too lazy. Who am I kidding thinking I’m a good dancer, or could ever hope to be one? Why am I trying to keep up with kids? There’s no hope for a 28 year old beginner. Maybe I’ll just take the adult class once a week for exercise. Maybe I’ll switch to ballet, where there are no competitions. Or maybe I’ll just stop all together. I could do a lot of other things with my time. I could try harder at work. I could do a lot of hiking again. Maybe I’ll just sink all my money into traveling. Maybe I’ll just sit on my couch and get fat.
The second was trying harder. Throwing myself into practice and perfecting my technique.
I chose the second. And thus starts a new chapter in my dance career. I’ve crossed the threshold from beginner to thinking I’m good, and now I’ve crossed the next which is knowing my weaknesses and making them better.
On Wednesday I’ll be getting the last supplies I need to build my home studio, and I will practice until I have so much turn out and cross that I’ll bring tears to the eyes of the judges who are so insistent that my turnout and cross isn’t there.
My next feis is in May, and I will make damn sure it goes better than yesterday. This blog’s tagline will come true in the not so distant future.
Because when it all comes down to it, I love being a dancer, I enjoy performing, and I had a lot of fun at the feiseanna this weekend, sans the existential crisis after awards on Sunday. Dance makes me happy.