Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Feis Results and Cardiac Freak-outs

So - My first Feis, as I am sure you know by now, was on Sunday. I won't flatter myself that you have all been sitting around on tenter-hooks waiting for my results, so I will keep this brief. . . . . I tanked.

My nervous breakdown the night before seemed to have had cleared up nicely by the crack of dawn - which I saw, incidentally, having to wake up as early as I did. I felt well rested, despite having been up til midnight trying to finish learning my second slip jig step. The trip was smooth and we arrived early. Got the wig on, did a little make up, then piled inside and quickly gloamed onto the first people from school that I knew, who were incidentally, dancing in my comps. We all got ready, and compared stage schedules.

We'll put it this way, nerves didn't hit until I was lining up for the Reel competition. I managed to keep my knees from buckling out from under me, but according to the darling Boy, you could see my wig vibrating, even if you couldn't tell I was shaking! I managed to get through first step, then realized that I was right in front of the judge and freaked out, and totally forgot my second step.

Slip jigs didn't go much better. In fact, kind of the same. First step went flawlessly, second . . .not so much. I totally did great on my Light Jig. Not that I placed. Or that I needed to place..

So all in all, I was disappointed, but not surprised. I went,  I got up, I danced and I had fun! I learned what to expect and have a better idea of what to push myself on before next Feis in June. I also found consolation in my scores from the Judges. I was literally only a point away from 3rd place in Light Jig, and the judge said I had nice lifts! Reels, I needed to be on my toes more, but again, was only like 2 points away from third. Slip jigs were further behind, four points from third, but considering less then 14 hours previous to competing I didn't even KNOW the step, I won't complain about a fourth out of nine!

So first class post-competition was tonight, right? And I was going over my scores with my TC, and she agreed, considering how nervous I was, my scores weren't bad. However, I also expressed the fact that I REFUSE to do as badly at the next Feis.

With this determination, and a few encouraging words from the teacher, I start pushing hard through my treble reel. I mean, pushing HARD. And about half way through I started having that old familiar wheezy painful feeling in my chest that I haven't felt in like five years. Since before my heart surgery. Like I seriously had to walk out of class. Now before we all start panicking about my cardiological state, calm down! Don't PANIC! It wasn't as nearly as bad as it used to get. Like, not even a fraction of what it used to be. But the fact that I felt it freaked me out a bit and it took me a little while to get it together again. And then there was the whole brief explanation to my poor teacher who I literally walked out on right while she was talking to me. I forgot how shocked people get when I drop the "I had heart surgery five years ago" bomb. It just shook me up a bit. Medically speaking, my heart just can't handle going from 0-60 in 8 bars of music. I need to warm up. Build up slowly.

Anyhoo. . .  class kicked my butt tonight. But I am glad it did. I felt I worked hard, and despite the MASSIVE pain I'm in now (legs, feet, shoulder, knees . . .) I think and feel like it was worth it. And the best part is that I know that this is one thing that wouldn't have been any easier as a kid. My stage fright would have been a THOUSAND times worse. I was socially awkward and shy. And before my surgery, I wouldn't have made it through a class like that without collapsing. So . . . perks to being a adult. YAH!


  1. But you did it! Your first feis is always going to be scary, but now that's behind you and you can look forward to future ones. With each feis, you're going to know your steps better and be more confident in them. I never expect much from a feis where I'm just starting to get down a step. It's when you know it like the back of your hand that you can work on perfecting it and just concentrate on the little things rather than 'wait, how does it go?' But congratulations on your first feis! Not many people make it even that far as they're too afraid of putting themselves out there. It's a big accomplishment!

  2. Hi, another adult Irish dancer here (novice at age 23)--congratulations on your first feis! My first feis was last fall, and I was unbelievably nervous (it didn't help that I got lost and showed up an hour late!!). My dances went okay, with some minor slip-ups--except my slip jig. I got mixed up and started doing the single jig lead! I got back on track but after that I was so flustered that I forgot my second step entirely. I had a good time, though, and came out of the feis with the same resolution as you: I REFUSE to make that mistake at the next one (I practiced hard and I didn't!). Now that I know what to expect, I'm so excited for my 3rd feis.
    Best of luck at your next competition!

  3. Hi! I just came across your blog and can relate and totally sympathize with all of it! I started Irish Dancing at age 23... its been almost 4 years for me and I continue to love it. Just stick with it and try not to get too frustrated. And, have fun! Thats the most important... Best of luck!!!

  4. Hi! I'm also an adult(19 yo) Irish dancer with some heart conditions. I've had 2 open-heart surgeries.. How is your heart doing during dancing? Have you ever had troubles with stamina?
    Take care. :)

    1. Hi there Petra! Oh my! 2 surgeries! Go you! I just had the one, but it was certainly the experience. My heart has been doing fine recently. My stamina is and probably always be a little less then it should be. It takes me longer to build it up then other and if I stop practicing, I loose it faster. I also have to be careful to start warming up slowly. Usually doing some of the basic technique drills early in class before really pushing through the steps keeps me from over exerting myself. You take care too!