Saturday, February 2, 2013

Observation from the other side of the Feis Stage

So, because I missed so much class over the last year, what with my move, my traveling for work and a month or two of depression kicking my butt, there was no way I was in fighting condition to even think about entering the Feis that my school helps organize. Also, I was waaay late to sign up. The 800 cap was hit before I even thought about registering.

In consideration of this, I did the next best thing - I volunteered and was assigned a stage monitor position. I may not be the most experienced feis goer, but being on the other side of the stage gave me a completely different perspective. So in no particular order, her are my observations.

1. Feis Moms - when observed close up, they aren't THAT much different then regular Dance moms, in regards to their dedication to their dancers, they just tend to be less mean. They don't yell, but they also certainly don't give up

2. Irish Dance, not just for the Irish? You can see alot of different ethnic backgrounds, specifically surprising number of Asians dancing these days. So either the Celtic peoples have a thing for Eastern spouses, lots of Irish extract families adopting over seas, or maybe they are just embracing the idea of Zen and the art of Irish dance, but either way, it's nice to see lots of variety. For something that is so clearly entrenched in a singular cultural setting, it's awesome to see that it still holds a universal appeal.  I mean, if Irish dance was just for the Irish, my Polish-German ass would be thrown out before I could say 'polka'.

3. It's not the little ones with the short attention spans you have to watch out for.First timers, and early grade dancers are have such gravitas about the feis thing, and are so concerned about missing their dances, they will usually crawl up you butt to check in four dances early.  It's the older, higher level dancers that your shouting out for in hallways and sending girls running across the venue to find.

4. No matter how helpful and warm the Irish Dance community can be, you will not make friends at a Feis, if you are new to the scene. There are too many people, all very busy, very rushed and usually pretty stressed, that they are too preoccupied to make bonds - that is what class is for. But today proved that a Feis can still be fun, even if you don't know anyone.

5. Almost twenty years later, and people are still calling it "Riverdancing" . . . maybe we should just give up the fight and get an offical name change. It would be like calling tissues "Kleenex", or all colas being "Coke" . . .  nah . . . .

6. To everyone insisting that skirts AREN'T getting shorter, I call shenanigans! All the new style puffball, soft, tutu and cupcake style skirts on the older teenage dancers are down right scandalous at times!  Thank god for kickpants/spankies/briefs, etc, or the amount of cheek I would be seeing would have been obscene. Mid-thigh my (or rather THEIR) tukas!! The shorter skirts really don't accentuate the dancing, in my humble opinion, they distract. I get kids grow fast, but by 16, they aren't growing too much anymore, so get a skirt the right length people.

7. Butt-bows. . . over the age of 12 and they just look silly. Sorry. It's just the way it is. I am willing to give that I am starting to like a lot more modern styles of dresses then I used to, but Butt-bows will never make any sense to me. You are neither a toddler, a puppy nor a present, so a bow just doesn't seem like it belongs.

8. Even if you aren't dancing, 2.5 hours of sleep is not enough to get through the day.

9. Adult dancers are the most fun. Less easily distracted then the toddlers, are excited to be there, are at their stages on time, and always seem to enjoy themselves so much more then anyone else. While, (when I actually compete) I have been in the &Overs, I have to say, being with other adult dancers is an awesome boost of energy. (And they understand the aches, pains, and other conundrums of being an adult with this hobby)

10. I may have missed being part of this world growing up, and might always feel slightly out of place in it, but I will be damned if I give it up. I clearly love it too much. I deprived myself of sleep and food on my day off, just to be there to be a part of it, even if I couldn't dance.

Now, after a nap and a feast of fast food, I am going to relax on my couch and take a break from Irish with some Bollywood. I am nothing if not multi-cultural. . . .

Cheers all,