Hoping Small Children Don’t Hate Me

Class ended on a weird note last night, and suddenly I was in elementary school again hoping for approval, or at least no hatred, from ten year olds.

One poor kid would be such an awesome dancer if she would buckle down and concentrate. I was paired with her for most of class, so she could ask and I could reply what exercise we were doing (1st step of dance, 2nd step, or whole dance, or a drill), but it fell apart towards the end. Our last exercise was to dance the 2nd step of the hornpipe. Myself and this kid have the same hornpipe 1st step, but different 2nd steps. My teacher told us just to go together because it was good practice for the feis. I’m not sure why, but my partner started doing my 2nd step instead of her own, and I’m pretty sure she hasn’t done anything related to my 2nd step in a year! She was chastised and not allowed to go with the second group, who also did the same 2nd step but different 1st step from me. Lo and behold, the other group screwed up too. One went into the treble jig, another into the slip jig (how?), and the third also screwed up on steps we’d been doing for a good 6 months at least.

My teacher expects two things: work hard and pay attention. So, since I was the only one who did as expected, I was allowed to go through my hornpipe step again for individual feedback while the other four had to go sit in the corner and do kicks the whole time – a horrible exercise where you lay on your back, raise your legs about 2 inches off the ground, and kick them back and forth rapidly.

On the plus side, my teacher likes my work ethic. But I still hope the kids don’t resent me for the praise!

Otherwise, it was a good if difficult class. My new hard shoes didn’t last as long as on Monday and I had to change after 1.5 dances. I’m just going to use the old ones for class tonight and will probably need to compete in them next weekend as well while I work on breaking in the new ones. They’re rubbing something awful on my heels since the bottoms aren’t flexible enough yet, so when I raise up on my toes the back heel slips down. Lots of improvements to make, but I think I’m in an okay place for the next competition. I’m really hoping to score well in my big four dances, which are all still Novice level, and maybe even advance one of them. I just need to remember to turn out, cross, jump, stay high on my toes, flex for clear beats, kick my butt, complete moves sharply and quickly, good and straight lift, and and and…

Drill Baby Drill

Work has finally slowed down a bit and I feel like I can get back to blogging. As I keep trying to up my training regimen, and failing, I’m hoping that staying accountable via blogging to my one loyal reader (hi Dork!) will help.

Some highlights from the last couple weeks:

  • My Irish teacher says my turnout is noticeably improved, and even used me as an example to the other Novice kids that I was “trying really hard and getting better turn out even though her feet turn in naturally so you can do it too.”
    • To be fair, this only applies to soft shoe. She notes my feet turn back in for hard shoe. Still, progress! I’m slightly pigeon toed and really need to concentrate to keep my feet turned out.
  • Last week in Novice/Prizewinner class there were only 4 of us, so we had a little contest for each dance. I was the Light Jig, Treble Jig, and Actually Remembered The Steps to Job of Journeywork That We Learned champion. I don’t care if it’s lame, I love being a sticker recipient in class with my fellow ten year olds.
  • My teacher says my bangs are much louder…now just to get my trebles louder too.
  • I’ve noticed some improvements with speed in my legs, though that still comes and goes.
  • I finally made it back to ballet class this past weekend after a month off for travel, performing, and competing. I did well and it was a super encouraging class.

And now, getting back to the post’s title: drills class last night.

Being a holiday there were only 6 of us in class, which for drills class is very…painful…due to an increased amount of dance and decreased rest time. My teacher was great about giving us some much needed breaks, though!

I thought my stamina was a bit better in class, which is wonderful, though there is a lot of room for improvement there still. Or maybe we just got more breaks than normal? I did a bit better with speediness in switches (which lead into tricks like leaps) and in one of our more difficult cross key drills. Hard shoe was particularly painful though because I’m breaking in new shoes. While the short (~15 min) amount of hard shoe drill time made wearing them possible, I could barely do anything towards the end of the class. Today I’m wearing athletic sandals at work because real shoes are not an option while breaking in dance shoes, and I may or may not be able to give them a go for class tonight. Prepare for tomorrow’s blister update.

 

Bonus: I led a performance a couple weekends ago. The kids were great minus one catastrophic wig meltdown (they’re kids after all!) and we were very well received by the festival where we danced. We had two performances – the first was on the main performance area and our full 30 min show, the second was in a back parking lot and a reduced 15 min show. After our first performance, though, they liked us so much they upgraded us to another full length show and left us in the main performance area. After, one of the moms bought me Thai Iced Tea ice cream. It was amazing. You must find and try it. It reminded me of bubble tea in Taiwan, but in ice cream form.

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Bonus 2: Sneak peak at my home dance floor! I’m about halfway done building it.

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Still Dancing

I’ve had a lot of non-dance things going on, so I haven’t been able to get back into blogging. Hopefully one day soon things will settle! In the meantime, I just had a feis this past weekend that I was dying to post results from.

Although I still have a long way to go, this was by far my best performance since dropping down! I moved up my traditional set by scoring a first – my first blue ribbon since dropping down. I also got second in my hornpipe, which I haven’t placed in since dropping down. I also had two thirds and a sixth, and two dances with no place but I was only 1 point behind the last placing. And I killed the traditional set – 5 points ahead of second place!

All in all I’m motivated to keep pushing forward!

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My hardware