St. Patrick's Month, Part 1

Weekends in March are famously accounted for as an Irish dancer. We are needed everywhere for every type of Irish celebration you can think of. With green hair to match the spirit of the season, I set out for three weekends of dancing this month with varying degrees of enjoyment.

March 8th held one performance: a parade fundraiser at a nearby pub. I was put in charge of this performance and had to:

  1. Run the practice beforehand (with dancers showing up late)
  2. Choose the dancers for numbers (without knowing everyone's skill levels), and
  3. Choose the numbers and order of performance.
Pair all of that with having no one step up to talk between numbers, which meant that the organizer of the event continually asking if we were done every time there was a pause to change shoes and younger dancers upset for a reason I didn't know, and you get my least favorite performance of the season. I can run the practice and dance, or run the practice and talk, but running the practice, talking, and performing is not a combination that I am capable of.

March 14th included two evening performances across Maryland. The first was at a St. Patrick's Day dinner, and featured an extra dodgy dancing surface. Now, It's pretty well known that as Irish dancers, we're going to be dancing on some not so prime surfaces in March, but this one takes the cake for me. Tile. Large square foot long tiles. Luckily, we were told this beforehand, so we skipped out on most of our hard shoe show numbers, and only used hard shoes for our finale. It was still slippery though. (Side note: how is it that we must dance on bad surfaces a month before worlds?) They did feed us hot dogs after performing, so all was well.

AOH Bowie St. Patrick's Day dinner. Not pictured: dodgy tile surface.
Afterward, the same crew drove on over to a barn hosting a fundraiser and St. Patrick's Day party. We go to dance hard shoe numbers here! I also got to cap of my night with a complimentary glass of wine, so it was a great night.

Champ dancers at a St. Patrick's Day fundraiser, Arnold, MD.
March 15th was parade day! It was a very windy day! You can see just how hard the wind was blowing in the pictures below because the bangs on my pixie cut was going crazy! It was also a little cold, but things certainly warmed up as we danced down Constitution Ave! Even with the wind cutting through my jacket, I was nearly sweating by the time we reached the grandstand. I learned this year (my first ever dance-down-the-parade-route year) that I need to put different shoe laces in my shoe because they came untied not once, but twice, even though I double knotted them before the parade started. Ah, well.

After the parade, a group of older champ dancers headed over to Fado's Irish pub where we danced between a band's sets. Two other dancers and I almost didn't make it, though! The vehicle we were travelling in got a flat tire as we left the parking spot. Luckily, we had some tire changing pros on hand to save the day, and we made it to the pub in time. I finished off the weekend with a large helping of shepherd's pie, Strongbow, and great time with friends.

Coming up next week, part 2: Shamrockfest!

Goals: Drill all hornpipes together
Days till NANs: 100


Irish dance fusion groups: Hammerstep's Indigo Grey Kickstarter Campaign

Long time readers of Rince go Bragh may remember a few years ago when I made a few posts spotlighting different Irish dance groups who continue to expand the vocabulary of the Irish style by fusing it with others dance genres. I made four different posts on the subject, and if you're a newer reader, it may be worth checking out because these groups are just plain awesome to watch!

One of the aforementioned groups is Hammerstep, a New York based company that you may have seen before on America's Got Talent. Hammerstep is led by dancers Jason Oremus and Garrett Coleman, and they are currently in the middle of a huge Kickstarter campaign to fund their new Indigo Grey project! Indigo Grey will offer a live multimedia digital experience fusing live theater, film, video gaming, and interactive technology in an immersive showcase premiering in spring 2015.

Their goal is to raise $75,000 to fund their new show experience. With this being the final twenty days in their Kickstarter campaign, I feel that it's important as an Irish dance community that we come together to support our own in whatever way you can.

If you've never checked out Kickstarter before, it's a neat way for people to get independent projects funded. One of the coolest things as "backer" of a project is that there are different reward tiers that can be chosen for donating different amounts of money. These include anything from thank you emails, to t-shirts, workshops, and VIP tickets to see the show.

Check out more about this project, and why this will be should be a groundbreaking experience by visiting the Indigo Grey Kickstarter campaign link below. I have already made my contribution. Will you make yours?

[Indigo Grey Kickstarter]   [Hammerstep website]   [Facebook]   [Twitter]   [Instagram]

Goals: Try new reels and hornpipes without stopping
Days till NANs: 131


2015 Goals and Aspirations

The past four years of my dance goals have looked something like this: championship placement goals, major competition placement goals, and improvements on technique. My dance goals have not seen any sort of change in a very long while, and I feel that fact is the root of many of my frustrations. I want to be able to do and succeed at everything I attempt, but that requires complete focus on only one activity. That is not how I want to live my life.

Placement goals have gotten harder and harder to achieve as an adult because I am balancing my career with own dance aspirations. At this time last year, I was extremely upset that I missed out on my number one goal for the year, a number one goal that has been only just out of my grasp for multiple years now. The senior ladies competition keeps becoming harder and harder as more dancers decided to keep coming back for more like I have been doing. My placements have been steadily dropping as the group has gained larger numbers, and that’s frustrating.

I know that despite negative emotions stemming from Oireachtas disappointments, I still need to have dance in my life. Dance is something that I have to do, so taking that feeling in mind, I’m planning on using it as the basis of this year’s singular goal.

I am going to enjoy every dance moment that I have.

If those moments include competitive success, then great. Becoming a world qualifier at a major competition is what I’ve been chasing recently. If those moments include traveling and workshops, fantastic. I have been accepted to the Riverdance summer academy at Trinity College in Dublin this summer, and if I can get the funds together, I’d love to attend. If those moments are simply enjoyable dance classes with friends, even better. Dance classes are where most of my time is spent in this crazy world, so why not have fun while working hard?

So my goal this year seems easy enough to do with the right frame of mind. When 2015 finishes, I want to be able to look back on the year and have great memories.

What aspirations do you have for the year?


Mini Update: Oireachtas 2k14

Feis Culkin

  • I'll start with the fact that I'm pretty sure that most everyone who placed in the top 50% of the competition are not senior lady dancers. The 18& over open competition was full of tough competitors from the younger age groups.
  • I placed in my hard shoe round which was a shock to me since I think that it felt weaker than my slip jig that day. I was excited to get a Hershey bar!
  • I ended up placing 12th out of 17. What was most frustrating to me was that two judged agreed on their ranking of me, while one placed me second to last. I am quickly becoming tired of scoring inconsistencies and how they can seriously make or break a dancer's overall placement.
  • Also, the Washington Post had an article about this feis on their website recently.

Anyway, have a chocolate bar picture.
Goals (and things)

  • My Oireachtas goal is (as it's been for the past four years) to be a world qualifier. I have not suffered through eight torn ligaments and a surgery to not finally meet my goal of qualifying at the Oireachtas.
  • And things...  After the Oireachtas, I am planning on submitting my application to the Riverdance Trinity Academy International Summer School program. I'm hoping that having the chance to be a part of this week-long academy will give my dancing a new spark. I am feeling a slump in my dancing. It may be injury recovery, it may be Oireachtas stress, but regardless, I have not seriously put any effort in to show dancing, and I think it would be a great break from the competitive world.

Follow my adventures this weekend!

  • As always, I will be all over social media this weekend with updates on my dancing and other Oireachtas adventures. Be sure to follow any (or all!) accounts for up to the minute details on my weekend.

Goals: Relax a bit, finish packing, and DFTBA
Days till Os: 3


Ghillie Giveaway Winner!

And the moment you have been waiting for...

Drumroll please...

By random drawing, the winner of the UK size 4.5 Hullachan 3 ghillie giveaway is Jenny L! I will be in contact with you via email shortly!

Thank you to all who entered and spread the word of my giveaway. I hope to bring you another giveaway in the near future!

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Interested in sponsoring a giveaway on Rince go Bragh? Click here to find my contact information!

Goals: Stay healthy
Days till Os: 18
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