Huge Update, Part 1: Nationals

Well well well, looks like I haven't been around here in a while. Life as a college senior is getting to me. I'm going to update in three parts: nationals, feiseanna, and Oireachtas prep.

My experience at the national championships was quite an experience. Overall, it was one of the best learning opportunities I've had dance-wise in my life. Being able to watch people from all over the world dance, especially the top three placers in my age group was something else. It it really obvious the time and effort and passion they have invested in this sport. Gorgeous.

Day by day:
July 3rd: Marked my arrival in Disney World with my sorority big sister. It was good we got there a day early. The Swan and Dolphin venue took a few hours to get used to, just because of the sheer size of it. I did get some good practice time in that evening though, on the stage I was dancing on the next day. Don't know if that was exactly allowed, but no one told me not too...

July 4th: Solo day. I'm honestly going to say that I wasn't too nervous for solos this day. I wasn't expecting myself to do fantastically well, I was planning on fainting if I recalled. My goal for the day: not get last place, which I achieved, placing 60th out of 70 with 2.5 points. I was basically happy with how I performed that day, minus a stumble in my hornpipe round because of an almost-collision. It was, like I said before, a neat experience to talk to and dance with people from around the world. The girl who danced with me was from British Colombia, and the dancer after me from Australia. My favorite part of the day came when I finished my two rounds and recalls were announced (I did hold my breath and pray, but no luck): pool/pina colada time. Although Florida is generally called the sunshine state, it rained every single day we were there, but that didn't stop us from utilizing the pool and the bar. After that (that evening), we seriously had a THREE HOUR figure practice. Most definitely something you want to do the day before you compete for a national title. (Don't even get me started...) My big and I did make up for it by celebrating our Independence Day night, not with fireworks, which we could've seen from our hotel, but by going to Steak N Shake for delicious steak burgers and shakes, which is (sadly) not found in our home state.

July 5th: Ah, the figure... It can be quite hectic to herd around 16 dancers, especially if they are older. I believe we had a two hour practice in the morning, and were given a lunch break before we had to be back for be-wigging and beautifying (makeup). It was all fine and dandy until crunch time, when our mixed 8 hand ran very close to the time the figures were scheduled to run. Talk about running around like chickens with our heads cut off! This was also not aided by the fact that when we walked into the competition room, the guy who choreographed our figure was giving another team a pep talk. Did we get one? Nope. The figure competition was...interesting. Our dance, and much to our chagrin, about three other school's dances, were all choreographed by the same guy, and all essentially had the same elements, but in different orders. Two of the winning teams that placed, and I think the team that won, had costume malfunctions (wigs coming off). I'm not going to say it was a disaster, but well... As for our go round, we certainly danced the figure the best I have ever seen it (I can only hope we do it as well at the SRO this year). After we figured out we did not medal (to our chagrin, given the other performances of the afternoon), my big, the other over 21 dancer and myself decided to go see what Downtown Disney was all about. Of course it down poured while we were out walking, but that did not stop us from wandering around the largest Disney store in the world, and it certainly didn't deter us from our dinner choice: the Irish pub on Disney property! (In case we haven't had enough Irish the past few days.) We ate, drank, hassled the musicians to play certain songs, and critiqued the dancers. All in good fun...

July 6th: Was spent in Magic Kingdom. My big and I pretended to be princesses, and in general has a fantastic time reliving our childhood memories with all the Disney magic. The most magical part was this special thing we did for fireworks. For a price of $25, we got all you can eat desserts, and one of the best viewing areas for the most fantastic fireworks I have ever seen.

Goals: Do my homework. Really.
Days till Os: 15

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