Last night was my regular solo class with my little Novice/Prizewinner friends. I miss my adult friend (she’s busy getting her Master’s degree and so on hiatus), but I’ve long since gotten used to being the only old person in a sea of 10-12 year olds. Though at the moment there are only six to eight of us, which means very few breaks!
Unfortunately my legs were heavy from Drills on Monday, and so class started off slow and painful for me. After mobility warm up, we did a drill for each soft shoe dance before executing it. Some positives though: I got a “good placement” comment during my light jig and a “good” during one of the slip jig drills. The end of the slip jig is tough to get moving on: after a point and grapevine type move back and forth we go into three quick points with alternating legs and butt kicks thrown in, a lift, then two jumps. I, along with others, have been having trouble nailing down the points by moving quickly enough. It was great to get a “good” in response to this drill, but I was pooped by the end of running the slip jig twice and that quickness didn’t last! I really need to work on my stamina – it’s not the cardio so much as my legs turning into bricks and not moving.
After a bit of core (the move we affectionately refer to as the horrible leg thing), it was hard shoe time. If you’ve ever read one of my posts, you know my feelings towards hard shoe.
We ran sets first and my Blackbird is still coming along and remains my set of choice. My teacher gave us a slight modification where instead of a tip-cut-heel-step motion, we take out the tip and just go into the cut-heel-step to keep us on time. It worked well since we were getting slowed down by the tip.
Side note for non-Irish dancers: Traditional sets are performed roughly the same throughout the world, with small variations between schools. They are a lot of fun to learn due to the history, and contemporary movements like toe stands or front clicks are not permitted. This is a good example of my set Blackbird, though my ending is a touch different. And this is a good example of dance being for everyone!
We spent the rest of the time focusing on our treble jigs, with just a quick run-through of hornpipe in the last few minutes of class. After going through our first step once, our teacher had us drill a treble and toe up and bang bang move that appears a lot in everyone’s steps. Then my least favorite thing ever – going down the line one by one for feedback. I am NOT good at hard shoe, I am without fail one of the worst dancers (if not the worst) when we go down the line like that. My turn came up and was followed by, “Your treble is so much better!” So, after feeling so out of shape and near defeat at not being able to keep up in the slip jig earlier in class, I was feeling on top of the world! I just struggle so much with hard shoe, the feeling of knowing that I’m finally improving this portion of it is indescribable.
While I still have more work to do in my updated Prizewinner steps, particularly the end of the second, it’s nice to see progress being made!