Monday, September 24, 2012

Irish Dance Obstacle Course

Tonight's class was yet another toughy. I mean, I had everything, EVERYTHING working against me. I am an "old", fat, former heart patient, current flu sufferer and chronic insomniac, who is working on 3 hours of sleep, a sick boyfriend infecting me, a 1500 calorie diet and joints that are creaking and popping a lot more then a 25 year old's should be. Add in work going into high gear and I just wanted to curl up on the floor and die.


Once again - I always feel like a spaz case whenever we are drilling up and down the floor (for like 20 minutes straight!) and I have to stop and take intense breathers while the kids just bounce back and forth, never stopping, never slowing down. OY!

And that is another thing! It's like an Irish Dance slalom course out there. I am trying to do my threes and leaps and there are one or two super wee (I suspect age 4, maybe 3) girls, while not being distracted enough to go look out the windows with some of the other, easily distractable girls, are JUST distracted enough to not watch where they are going. So, I am swerving all over, dodging oncoming dancers, merging in and out of lanes as it were,  trying to avoiding kicking a toddler in the face! No sooner would I leap out of the way of 4-year-old-looking-over her-shoulder, then seven-year-old-on-a-sugar high comes flying out of no where.

But yeah, despite allll that, decent class. My light jig is definitely solid now. No more doubts on that one. Time to start polishing technique on that. Have to go over with the TC a move on the second step. In my old school's step (which is practically identical, cause, lets face it, a light jig is a light jig is a light jig) It's a straight jump up, in a "switch", pretty much, but everyone else seems to be doing a "point", as in more of a jump/kick/point your toe. TC hasn't corrected me, but some clarification would be good. I did get used as an example to one of the younger boys, cause my timing is good. What can I say, I've always loved light jigs. Too bad they don't count for much.

And surprisingly enough - I didn't forget my reel!! We were lined up, I was second in line. Breathed a sigh of relief when we weren't going in twos, that was for certain. But as the only other girl in the class over the age of 10 went before me, I was singing the steps in my head, and I guess it just clicked. I went up, did the step, even remembered to bow! YEAAAH reel! 

Hardshoe . . . wasn't quite as solid. Of course not. When I am dancing with the older kids, who can actually watch what I am doing and question why this ancient klutz is stumbling through their hornpipe with them, and I actually want to impress them (at very least not embarrass myself!) I can't get my shit together. The toddlers who wouldn't notice if I was the Barynya rather then a reel, I ace the class, Go figure.

But still, veni vidi vici and all that. It's not that my hornpipe is bad. It's that I can't get it to speed. Slow it down while I am dancing in a corner, sure, no probs. Throw me in a line with two other girls and it LOOKS like I am doing the barynya! I won't beat myself up over the treble reel just yet. For two classes in, I am doing ok, considering I keep slipping back into my old steps.

That's it for tonight folks. I am curled on up on the couch, drinking tea, resting my poor, tired bones and watching Hoarders. Ohh, the guilty pleasures . . .

Slainte, gang.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Someone's new best friend

So, for as much as I was commenting on the wee one's looking at me like I was a dragon last week, apparently I am hot shit this week.

No, seriously. I am standing in line, waiting my turn to drill my light jig, and the cute, roundy cheeked blondie next to me just randomly starts poking me and holding my hand! She babbles at me the way five year olds do, then even more randomly starts hugging me! Seriously, have never spoken a word to this kid a day in my life. I don't even know this kid's name and I am certain that she doesn't know mine. I mean, do her parents encourage her to show physical affection to complete strangers?? Lol.

There is also this other girl - I'd give her 13 at the maximum. She's also a little higher level then the wee ones, but like me, is using a few weeks with the babies to catch up, from what I overheard. And while neither of us have really spoken a word to each other, it was like she was taking drill cues from me all class. I count to 8, start my hop-23 drills, the does them in time with me. I break. She breaks. I start my leaps, she does them too. Maybe I should be, y'know, the adult here, and actually say HI next class or something. I know, radical thoughts, huh?

So, in actual dance news. I've been so thrilled with myself, with how well my hornpipe was going. So yeah, doing it to speed. NOT so much. My hard shoe class is with some older kids with some student teachers too. And wow, do I feel so SPED when I am drilling in a group of three and they are just breezing through the hornpipe, and I can't remember what the crap I am doing. At least I was doing alright with my first time out on New School's Treble reel. If only I can retrain my muscles that there ISN'T a treble after my tip hop downs. Or if I can remind myself that New School calls them Rallies. UUUGH. Terminology will be the death of me.

I guess that's it for the night gang. I am putting my feet up and letting the Darlin' Boy cook dinner tonight. I will be back on the exercise and practice regime tomorrow night.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Is your mom in the car?

First class since the summer session ended. All that wonderful quick learning I did back in July quickly flew right out of the brain box. By, I picked it up again, quick enough. I think. I really am enjoying my new school. TC is funny and good at explaining things, but at the same time not babying you, y'know. Sometimes, you need some one to just EXPECT you to do, right? The only thing I am missing is camaraderie. I mean I didn't really expect to be such good buddies with a bunch of 8 years olds as I was with all the girls in my adult class back in PA, but it's almost like I am invisible. If they notice me at all, it to shoot me either curious or dirty looks. I am not really sure what they are, but one kid certainly seemed to be giving me the stink eye tonight. But, thankfully, occasionally one of their tiny little souls will take pity on me. I was supposed to be off in a corner, going over second hornpipe step with another of the taller people, who seemed more content to ignore me (my mother's voice is telling me that maybe she was just as shy as I am, but I prefer to be super critical! lol) so I am trying to watch and do, when this little blond sack of energy smiles at me and says "Do you need some help". Her speed-of-light break down really didn't give much information, but it was just enough to get me moving, and then muscle memory kind of took me from there. Good thing too, cause not five minutes later, TC was back with me, asking how I was doing.

The only other social contact I had was the TC's Mum being super helpful and friendly, both during class and when I handed over my registration form and check, and then one of the midgets of my class as I was leaving. She was standing at the top of the stairs outside of the classroom, doing the classic child whine of "c'mon moooom" when she saw me walk by, keys in hand. "Is your mom waiting for you in your car??" She asked in shocked surprise, as it seems the general rule is parents actually have to come up to the classroom and escort their kids out. (most likely a good rule, not the nicest part of town).

I had to stop and think before my answer - not for what it would be, that was easy enough - but to really ask myself, Do I really look that young?? I mean, for the love of sweet baby Jay, my right boob probably weighs more then this kid! I even have a stylish, grown up haircut now and everything, no more pig tails. I just told the girl that my Mom lives in another state, and that I drive my own car. Hope I didn't sound like too much of a condescending bitch .. . ..

In other news, the more I have been stewing about this whole dress-making thing the more I've been thinking, why the heck not. I like to sew well enough, when the fancy strikes me, I have a decent eye for design and colour, I dance myself so I have a grasp on what is comfortable/functional/legal. Why can't there be something that is way fancier then simple a-line dresses with a bit of embroidery on them but that doesn't involve zebra print and but bows? Why can't there be dance dresses that flatter those with fuller figure, or even those who don't but still don't want to look like a dancing cupcake? Why do "mature" and "stylish" have to be at odds? Scouting out some patterns, coming up with ideas.

And then, in the vein of dance related projects . . .  methinks there might have to be an Irish Dance based novel somewhere in the mix of all the other stories I am working on right now. Cause lets face it, there are scads of children's books for the wee Irish Dancers, but what about the teens/adults/parents? They would love to read about the world they are passionate about just as much as the kiddies, right? Have some characters drilling down the dance floor in my head, even have the basis of a sub-plot. Just need the big, overall plot. Oireachtas sabotage? Competing school? Feis rigging? I can't really imagine there being any serious enough intrigue in the dance world to move a story along. That, and intrigue isn't really my style. I do NOT want to do a "Black Swan in Solo dress" kinda shtick. Maybe something as silly as some kind of barroom bet? Who knows. . . . .

Well, that's it for now I guess. Have to go scout out some food. Does anyone else get completely famished after class or is it just me?


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Solo Dresses and Adults?

So, on the list of things that drive me crazy about our art form is that there is very little middle ground. We don't do anything by halves do we? I mean, I suppose that is a good thing in a lot of ways, but here's where I am getting hung up. As an adult, you only have 2 options as far as solo costumes go; either wear something that is clearly more suited to kids half your age, or end up wearing something that looks like it's an Irish themed Ice-capades costume.

Now, I have seen some talented adult dancers make their own costumes that are an elegant combination of younger style with some more flattering/mature features. But what about the non-sewing adult dancers out there? I know from my own "window" shopping, that I will NEVER find a Solo dress that will fit me, unless I get one custom ordered.

I am now beginning to wonder if I need to start designing/making solo dresses that specifically cater to adults and "bigger" girls - cause I mean, some adults are lucky enough to fit in dresses that are designed for tall teenagers, but I know I wouldn't be able to.

Thoughts, suggestions, comments????