This week has been tough in class so far. I’m not entirely sure why. Part of it could be getting over a cold I had the past week. Part of it could be I’m being held to a higher standard the better I get. Actually, I’m probably just not very good. Yet.
We’ve had small classes this week due to most schools being on spring break (side note: traffic is glorious this week since so many are out of town). Monday’s drills class only had six, and yesterday’s Novice/Prizewinner class only had five.
Drills class is always good, but it was tough. I was having a lot of trouble keeping up on tempo, especially but not limited to in hard shoe. My teacher gave me a variety of ideas for improving, but overall she said she didn’t really know how to answer my question about speeding up my legs because she’s always just been able to do it. That…didn’t make me feel great. But at least I have some ideas.
My regular Tuesday class was not as good. I was really struggling to maintain my stamina so much more than usual. I’m not sure if I ate poorly, gained weight, wasn’t really over my cold, or what was going on. I pushed as hard as I could, including a “good energy” comment from my teacher towards the end of the slip jig where she knew I was dying. We were all getting comments about not pushing through to the end though, so it wasn’t just me. Could have been the small class number resulting in less rest for us, or maybe it was the unusually long period of rain/clouds we’ve been having (not complaining – I’m so thankful for the rain because I was getting tired of having another fire every day!). I was particularly frustrated when I got told off for being off time on one of our slip jig drills. I knew I was off time, I was just trying so hard to keep my legs straight that I was stiffening up and couldn’t move. I’ll have to do that move myself at home in front of a mirror, because I did feel like I was keeping my legs straight but I wasn’t getting the praise the other students were getting.
Despite, or rather because, of all that correction and crap-feeling this week, I have a game plan for the rest of my week. I’ll be doing my ankle and turnout strengthening exercises, walking around up on my toes (demi pointe for you ballet types) and turned out in my hard shoes to work on balancing on them, and doing a slow treble drill we did last night to improve my form on my trebles. I wasn’t the only one struggling with them, but I know my form is weak and part of the reason I’m slow and do terrible in hard shoe. As a slight excuse, I was the only person in the adult class learning hard shoe at the time I did, so I didn’t have time to slowly learn proper form. I just kind of got thrown in and we didn’t do a lot of basics before I was learning more advanced steps, since the other adults had been hard shoeing for years. I guess Novice is as good a time as any to correct it before trying to plow forward.
An hour and a half long recital, ten performances across almost twelve hours, and four additional mini performances later, St. Patrick’s Day has officially come to a close.
My team did an amazing job. Considering most of them were around ten to twelve years old or younger, they kept it together well and we only had some very minor hiccups. All venues more or less received us well. I think some of our best audiences were the elementary school (our first show at 9am) and the last bar (7:30pm). The school was a lot of fun because we had one of our beginner dancers join us who attends that school, and we got to feature her in a solo and had them give extra applause at the end. We also danced at a preschool with some very, very small children who were absolutely enthralled. I heard all the other teams (including the three other teams from my studio) had a wonderful time, and total our school had 225 performances across two states!
I took a nice epsom salt soak on Friday, but didn’t bother on Saturday and I really should have bothered! Even class last night was still a bit tough on the feet.
Now that the madness is over, it’s time to focus again on competition and my own training. I’m looking forward to a likely return to ballet class this Saturday, and I need to get moving to finish building out my home studio. We ran into a snag with the plywood floor because the pieces were too big to fit through the tiny basement landing, so in addition to buying final supplies I must also borrow some equipment to cut the boards in half so we can fit them through the door. Tiny basement landing continues to be a curse upon our plans for using the basement!
I was dying towards the end of my last performance!
A three hour practice + forgetting my toe pads = sad dancer feet.
Despite my lapse in toe pad judgment, the rehearsal went extremely well. Not just for me, but for our entire studio. Our teacher even told us that it was the best we’ve ever looked, and this is our seventh year of St. Patrick’s performances and third year for our recital.
The adults aren’t in much of the first act, so we took the time to practice our special
numbers at the end of the first/beginning of the second acts. Our ceili went far better than last Thursday, so I’m much less worried about that. We may end up giving each other verbal cues on stage Sunday, but at least we aren’t bumping into each other because someone goes the wrong direction. We ran through the hour long show twice during practice, plus some additional practice in between, so I was very sore when I got home and a foot soak was a must. Overall, though, I’d say we’re ready! I’m also really excited that my 2-hand reel choreography that I created with a fellow adult student will be featured in the show.
Yesterday was my regular novice/prizewinner class, and we did a combination of solos and team dances. My feet and legs were still a bit sore/painful from Monday’s practice, so I was having trouble putting in full effort. However, it was a very good class. I have a few things to work on and I’m not sure how to do it in the next couple weeks due to St. Patrick’s Day, but hopefully I’ll find the time/space. My punch is too fast in my first step of my reel and I’m getting off time (along with everyone else) with a new update to our second step of the treble jig. My teacher took out a part of the reel that had been vexing me, though, so I’m very excited about the new update! It just wasn’t good choreography, so I’m glad she changed what the school directors gave her. We also did a lot of stepping through the hornpipe which was extremely helpful. However…there is a lot of left leg work to do still.
Today is a rest day from dance, and my feet are absolutely thrilled.
If I only update erratically, or not at all, don’t despair – I’ve simply fallen into the hole that is St. Patrick’s Day. ‘Tis the season!
After four dance classes last week (St. Pat’s practice, regular novice/prizewinner class, adult class for St. Pat’s, and ballet) I amazingly still love dancing, but it’s only going to keep ramping up from here.
Show practice went very well last week. We had time to run the show twice and hit the few areas that need tweaking on top of that. It’s not perfect, but we’re sitting pretty and I’m hopeful my team will do an excellent job. Regular class went well too. After my feis results the previous weekend I have been determined to work hardest on turnout and cross. I have a long way to go but I’ve already progressed over the previous few years and I will continue to do so. Adult class was also enjoyable. I hated how late it was (I didn’t get home until almost 10pm), but it was nice to be back with my adults again and not be the worst dancer in class for once! We practiced our special adult-only numbers for the recital.
Speaking of…it’s all about to start! This Sunday is our parade followed by our recital, and that’s followed Friday by 9 (!) shows from 9am to 8pm, then a couple performances on Saturday. Dancing legs, give me strength! I had 12 e-mails about show stuff yesterday. That’s fewer total shows than last year, but I think it’s because St. Patrick’s Day is on a Friday instead of the middle of the week. Seems like there is less interest in having us the weekend before/after, but we’re completely booked the day of.
To round out this healthy complaining (don’t we all have a love/hate relationship with St. Patrick’s Day?), it really frustrates me when we’re doing a dance like a ceili, which is SO DEPENDENT on you knowing your own spot and carrying your own weight for the team, and someone continually screws it up. It’s fine if we’re just having fun in class, but I get frustrated when we’re practicing for a performance and someone’s continued poor dancing/ability to know where to be on stage throws off the whole team. I’m really hoping it goes better tonight and the culprit practiced over the weekend, because I think it’s very embarrassing to have a ceili fall apart on stage. It’s like that time in middle school band where our director stopped and restarted one of our pieces because there was no salvaging how badly it went off the first time.