Mini Update: St Pat's Edition

Hello Irish dance fans!  March Madness has come and finally gone in a blur of wigs and shiny objects.  I sat out for much of the St. Pat's activities, as I was at that fine line of kind-of-still-injured-but-can-dance-a-little, but I still was able to contribute in my way between physical therapy appointments and work obligations.

I attended the D.C. St. Patrick's Day parade to help organize the little ones as they did their jigs and reels down Constitution Avenue. It was a very cold day, and I was almost sad to not be dancing since it would have helped keep me warm!
Can you spot me in the back?
I also was able to dance at the festival spectacle that was Shamrockfest at RFK stadium.  I was very thankful for the beautiful weather we had that day.  There have been years past that it was cold, or it rained and made the stages completely un-danceable.

This is a lovely picture of my backside.
Of course, I also celebrated in my classroom by teaching my students a few different ceilis from the book. (We walked them!) We culminated our activities by watching Lord of the Dance, a surprising favorite for some of the fourth and fifth graders.  Maybe I am inspiring new Irish dancers!

Goals: build up stamina
Days till Os: 227


The 2013 Oireachtas

I have been procrastinating this post.  It's true.  I am still not 100% okay with how my Oireachtas day turned out.  I know I don't usually use this blog to make my displeasure known, but I can't avoid writing about the Oireachtas because it it a part of my dance journey.  I made a promise to myself that is what this blog is for, and now that I have readers who care, I can't just pretend it didn't happen.

The long and short of it is I'm not a world qualifier.  Again.  And for the fourth time in a row, I was within mere places of qualifying.

When the announcer skipped over my number, I said "What?!" out loud.  I knew I had it, and couldn't believe it.  All day long, I was so looking forward to being called on stage before the placements were awarded.  I had danced my best.  I maintained my health all year long, and was achieving my goals outlined for the year.  Something within me was so confident that I would be up there, but that something was terribly wrong.

Awards was tough.  It took all of my willpower to hold myself together on stage.  Of course after being disappointed for the fourth year in a row, I found it very difficult to hide that emotion.  I am only human, though my solo dress makes it seem otherwise.  I received an on-stage pep talk from one of my TCs; it's the only moment of the day I wish I could remember in full detail.

I cried through a good part of the teams awards, finally able to pull it together by the time my 4-hand and figure choreography were called to hear our placements (8th and 2nd).  As I was pulling myself together, I was able to buy my scores, and in the end, it was my set.  My set of three years (and much careful polishing) dropped me by six placements.  I had it until then, and knowing what caused my disappointment is crushing, nearly as crushing as seeing dancers I had consistently placed above all season, beat me out at this one event.

As I was driving back to my house from the Oireachtas (they were local this year), the question on my mind was, “Why do I keep doing this if I constantly fall short of my goals?”  I had a very lively debate with myself.  I was so absorbed in figuring out the answer to this question as I was driving down the interstate that I missed the exit for my house.

Ultimately, I decided that when I dance, I know that everything is right in my world.  My life could be up in shambles, but when I am dancing, I know that everything will be okay.  Dance is my thing.  I keep dancing because when I dance, nothing else matters.  I will get myself that qualification one day.  It may be this fifth year of chasing the goal, it may be the next, but until then, I will enjoy every moment of this journey I have created for myself.

Goals: PT exercises every other day
Days till Os: 268


Parade of Champions: a book review

Parade of Champions: Inspiration for Irish Dancers is my newest favorite source for Irish dancing inspiration.  The book takes a look at 57 different people involved in Irish dancing and brings straight to you the secrets of their success.  Many of the top names in Irish dancing today have contributed, and high quality photos accompany nearly all the inspirational messages.  As St. Patrick's season approaches (with worlds a month and a half away), I highly recommend Parade of Champions for Irish dancers of any age and experience level.

Hands down, my favorite part of this book are the encouragements and personal stories!  I am finding myself in yet another dancing rut, facing months injury recovery this year, and after reading through Parade of Champions, I am ready to face this year and get back into my dancing! (Safely, after healing of course.)

My second favorite part of the book is the variety of dancers (and teachers!) that are included in Parade of Champions.  There are of course blurbs from the top dancers in the world, but there were quite a few names I didn't recognize right away.  I also really enjoyed seeing dancers and teachers from all over the world being represented.

I also really am a fan of the quality of pictures used.  They are so vibrant and colorful!  I think that we will all look back in ten years and be able to accurately reminisce on the feis fashions of the mid-2010s.

This book is available for digital download (which worked very well with my Kindle app), or in actual physical form, and can be found by visiting their website.

Goals: Do my PT exercises every other day
Days till Os: 275


2014 Goals and Other Odds and Ends

I have procrastinated this year on my annual yearly goals post.  (In fact, I have procrastinated too much on blogging all together since my last post).  My 2014 goals officially include:

  1. Heal my ankle.
  2. Post on Rince go Bragh biweekly.
  3. Feis as much as possible in May and June.
  4. Heal from ankle surgery.
2014 has not been the best start to my new.  The second week in January, I was practicing slip jig at dance, and landed a jump wrong and tore two ligaments in my right ankle.  Two ligaments that were previously been torn in 2012, the last time I had slip jigs as my soft shoe dance.  Since I've now torn ligaments in this ankle five times, my podiatrist suggested I have surgery to a) tighten my loose and unstable ligaments, and b) clean up the scar tissue that has formed.  

I will be having surgery instead of attending nationals this summer.  I am yet unsure of the recovery and rehabilitation time.  Will Oireachtas be part of my dancing career this year?  Will I be able to keep my ankles healthy for another two years to chase my world qualification goal?  If I have to put off qualifying events for so long, will my perseverance even be paid off with an actual world qualification?

I wish I had the answers to these questions.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • Feiseanna I want to attend (barring ankle health and willingness to travel):
    • McGrath Feis (I'm registered.  I'll be there.  Will I dance?  Probably not.)
    • Holy Angels Feis
    • CCE Feis
    • Hurley School Feis (A new northern SR feis?!)
    • Feile Rince Charlotte
    • Old Dominion Feis
  • Have you been over to Antonio Pacelli's new community section on their website lately?  I blog there monthly with separate content from Rince go Bragh!  Be sure to take a look at other blogger's content as well! [Check it out!]
Goals: Don't dance yet.  Don't do it.
Days till Os: 292


Mini Update

It's December.  I am an Irish dancer.  You know what that means...

Oireachtas Information
  • Tomorrow is the big day!  It will be jam packed with much dancing (solos in the morning, teams in the afternoon), but I know it will be a blast in the end!
  • I am feeling ready with my dancing.  I am going to put trust in my body and rely on all the hard work I have done in preparation for this event.  I am doing my best to stay stress free like I did for nationals this summer, but there are other factors at work for the Oireachtas that weren't there for nationals.  I did take the day off work to make sure that I am relaxed and focused.  I will do my best to continue to keep calm.
  • As always, I will be trying my best to post updates throughout the day as time allows [follow @RinceGoBragh on twitter] [follow @sekubik on instagram]
Coyle Feis
  • In a rare turn of events, I was unable to attend my usual November feis (Culkin), so I decided for extra competition practice that I would attend an out of region feis.  My goal was to place in the top half of the competition, but I fell short by just two places.  Since this feis happened a few weeks before the Mid Atlantic Oireachtas, I suppose it's to be expected.  I believe I was the highest placing Southern Region dancer though, so that is always a good sign!
Antonio Pacelli
  • Have you checked out the new Antonio Pacelli website?  They have completely revamped everything (except their merchandise; that remains wonderful as usual), and added a community section, full of Irish dance blogger from around the world, including me!
  • I will be posting separate content on the Antonio Pacelli website at least once a month, but don't worry, Rince go Bragh will still remain active.
Kennedy Center Performance
  • My dance school and I had the rare opportunity to perform at a prestigious venue: the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  We performed on a Sunday evening on the Millennium Stage as part of the Kids Euro Festival performance.
  • You can catch our entire performance by following this link.  We start dancing at 23:25.

Goals: Three clean rounds
Days till Os: 17 hours

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