Day three: the World Championships.
We started off bright and early: 5:30 am Irish time, which is around midnight here in DC. I found it immensely amusing that I was up and at 'em at a time most of my friends were maybe thinking of going to sleep. Interesting fact #8: McDonald's doesn't open until 7 am for breakfast. We had this nice little plan that we would find breakfast before heading to Citywest (where food costs are inflated), but we were thwarted. No restaurant was open that early. Instead, we drove to the venue and ate the granola bars we (thankfully) bought at a grocery place while we were exploring the city the day before.
My dad and I were the first ones there in the hall. It was eerily quiet, and also extremely huge. The entire morning, I had my Pump It Up playlist on, so I could forget about where I was, and what I was about to do. Once more people started entering the hall, I became more relaxed. I got to stretch and warm up in relative peace, as well as let off some of my nerves by talking with other dancers from my region who came to worlds as well.
I was one of the last rounds for hard shoe. Finally it was my turn to go backstage and
meet my doom do my thing. I ended up dancing with two girls from the UK area. It was slightly difficult to understand their accents, but then again, I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have to talking. I was psyching my self out pepping myself up. After waiting backstage for a few rounds, finally it was the round before us. We were told to stand side stage.
From my vantage point, I could stare down the five judges, watch the group of three dancing before me, scan the (huge) audience that will be watching me, or I could face towards the black drapes and breathe. I did a bit of all three before I realized I should calm myself down so I could dance my best. I had never been this nervous since I was a young teenage gymnast about to go do my beam routine at a meet. Then, I coped with it by wiping my hands and picking my wedgie. In this case, I just breathed. As the last round finished and we walked on, I only had to remind myself that I was walking on stage to do my treble jig at a world championships for a sport I've been working at for only three years. From then on, and throughout my treble jig, I had the biggest smile plastered on my face. My slip jig went much the same way.
I don't remember specifics of what happened while I was dancing on stage for both my rounds. I don't remember what the other dancers were doing around me, or my little mistakes. I could feel the heat of the stage lights. I knew there were five judges there, out to decided who was to win this thing. I knew the audience was out there, but I didn't care if they were watching me, or if they didn't give a hoot about who was on stage. All I could feel, all I could focus on was the fact that I was dancing. This wasn't just any sort of dance. This was a watch-me-treble-across-the-stage and look-how-much-I-soar-on-my-overs type of dance. This is one of those weird out of body occurrences, where you can see from the outside what happening, as well as being completely aware of everything inside your body. This was the kind of dance you do that's led with your heart because it's something you love.
Finally the two rounds were completely finished, and an hour later, recalls were announced. Nora left the hall. She was too nervous. However, she DID recall, and after they finished the announcements, I got to be the first to tell her. She was overjoyed. I on the other hand, did not recall, but I wasn't expecting to either. I was content with life.
After watching Nora's recall (best of her life), my dad went to stake out a seat in the arena hall while I changed and went to go watch Colin practice for his competition the next day. Eventually, it was time for Nora to hear how she did, so we went into the hall to hear the scores called. Important fact #9: they do this fast. I was all set to write down the scores called for each dancer. Little did I know that they would whip through these at a fast enough pace that I was scrambling to keep up. I did get the important numbers, like Nora's scores for instance. She ended up placing 26th overall which is pretty darn awesome (black and white in the middle).
I did buy the results after all this, and at the end of the day. I wasn't necessarily disappointed in myself, but I was a little sad I didn't get any points. I felt inside that I danced the best I could at my very first world championships, which is all I can do at the end of the day. Yes, I was nervous, and I know my nerves probably showed in my dancing, which didn't help. I did have the experience of a lifetime. Not only was I Irish dancing in Ireland, but also at a world championship. After much math on the airplane back home days later, I figured I placed around 106th out of 135, which is not last place!
To be continued...
Goals: Get ready for Old Dominion feis