Since nationals, I have been busy doing various feiseanna in the area, and placing rather well. I did not place lower than third in prelim since July, which is rather neat, and quite an accomplishment after only having been dancing for three years.
Nation's Capital feis: Keeping with the trend set forth at the CCE and Old Dominion feiseanna, a gentleman won this competition, and I got my first ever frustrating second place. Honestly, I'm going to admit that I hadn't practiced my steps since nationals three weeks prior to Nation's Capital, so I was acting on pure muscle memory and prayers that my stamina would hold out. I was surprised I placed as well as I did, considering the circumstances: 30+ dancers (16 and over competition), no practice, and bad stamina.
Baltimore Feis: Well, my first time competing my new Oireachtas steps was at this feis. While I thought my treble jig round was rather poopy technically, rhythmically, and stamina-wise, it was definitely my slip jig that saved my life (nothing new there). Two awesome things happened here. The first is that Kristin got her very first prelim first (and awesome perpetual cup), after being in this level for a few years, becoming the first of the three of us older Maple people in prelim to do so. The second was that despite what I thought was a poor performance, I still placed top three, and received my very first crystal award.
Rhythm of Ireland: The coolest part of this feis was not just that I got my first prelim first (and sash), but the fact that all three of us Maple dancers swept the podium for our competition. Jess received her highest placement ever (2nd), and Kristin just came off an illness and still danced really well. It's amazing the camaraderie between the three of us, when we could just take the low road and be catty and super competitive toward one another.
Feis Culkin: This was a busy day. I spent the week before praying to the feis gods that my competition would dance first since I had a choir concert that evening, and we did! I can honestly say that this is my favorite feis of the entire year. It is always well-run (we danced, got our awards, and were done by 10:45 AM), and a good pre-Oireachtas check up on how you're doing. Despite the slippery wood stages, I danced pretty well, but not quite full out on my treble jig, since I was trying to avoid the treble sit. The highlight of the morning (pre-awards) was a "beautiful slip jig" comment from Russel Beaton, who wasn't judging that day, but just watching. There were four Maple girls who danced this day, and all of us placed! The most exciting part? Winning my second prelim competition, and my dad being there to witness it.
I can now say that I'm officially an OPEN CHAMPION dancer, and have met and exceeded two our of three of my goals for the year (place regularly and win at least one prelim competition, and don't get last at nationals). I am both excited and extremely intimidated by the fact that I am now in the highest level of Irish dance. I remember three years ago when I started dance class thinking how wonderful those championship dancers are. In my eyes, I have put a lot of pressure on myself to be that inspiring figure to new dancers that the champs were to me when I first started. Don't get me wrong, I'm completely stoked to have achieved so much in such short time, but I feel very daunted just thinking about regularly competing against people who have been dancing their whole lives, and have qualified for worlds, and possibly even recalled there. Clearly, I am just psyching myself out by this thought, as I am currently more freaked out about dancing open at CCE in May than I am about dancing at the Oireachtas in two weeks.
Goals: Do my homework for REAL.
Days till Os: 14