Thursday, October 22, 2015

Adults vs. & Overs: an op-ed on the various pros and cons

This was the first week this term that I missed class. I will let you guys be my judges - I had to skip cause the house we are in the process of buying was being inspected and we kind of needed to be there for it. Valid excuse?

So, to give you an equal break from my class updates, of which I have none, and I am sure you were sick of them anyway, I decided to write about something else this week. After a conversation with one of my besties (who also happens to dance), I was inspired to do this little opinion piece of the various pros and cons of both Adults and &Overs.

For the sake of clarity, I am referring both to the obvious (competitions) but also to classes. I've danced both with the littles and other adults, and while by no means consider myself expert on the subject, I at least have a little knowledge I can share with you, rather then waxing philosophic for another week about my struggling through class. PLEASE, keep in mind these are all just from my personal experience and do not represent all, or even MOST dance classes. All schools and classes are unique

Without further ado:

  • Conversation/personal interactions during class/competitions
    • "Adults" Pro: 
      • peer group
      • easier to talk to 
      • more shared interests and life experience
      •  ability to swear without feeling bad
    • "Adults" con; 
      • sometimes you end up shooting the shit more and dancing less
    • "&Overs" Pro: 
      • get to form relationships with youngers, 
      • maybe provide a good influence
      • show them it's never to late to go after dreams
    • "&Overs" con: 
      • You have to listen to conversations about Disney Chanel, homework and such statements as "my life is OVER (insert tweeny drama here)" and NOT laugh at how trivial it sounds compared to grown up problems
      • kids might look at you like you are weird
      • "Aren't you too old for this class" (see some of my previous experiences)
  • Practice/Drill time/Class time
    • "Adults" Pro: 
      • People mainly learning at the same pace as you, 
      • people able to focus as long as you, 
      • needing the same amount of water breaks as you
      • people who understand the aches and pains of being an older dancer
      • classes tend to be little less structured, a lot more independent practice and personal input into what you want to work on (this also depends on class size) 
    • "Adults" con; 
      • If one person needs to sit down for a minute it's tempting for everyone to sit down for a minute (see above, both about being able to converse, and about spending too much time talking lol!)
    • "&Overs" Pro: 
      • CHALLENGE! 
      • Keep up with the kids half your age
      • high energy class 
      • more strident drilling
      •  more repetition of steps (kids with short attention spans need to have the 'learning' part of their steps repeated), 
      • usually very structured classes
    • "&Overs" con: 
      • more repetition of steps (kids with short attention spans need to have the 'learning' part of their steps repeated) - it's both a blessing and a curse. 
      • Kids can sometimes just do more then you can, 
      • everyone looks at you weird when your trick ankle flares up and you are limping across the room
  • Feiseanna
    • "Adults" Pro: 
      • camaraderie 
      • sense of team work 
      • get to know everyone in your competition really well 
      • less stress/pressure 
      • competing against people with similar ages and strength/weakness brackets 
      • focus more on competing against your previous best, rather then against the other dancers
      • don't have to worry about the blingy outfits and wigs 
    • "Adults" con: 
      • Smaller competition sizes (depending on region/feis/phase of the moon - some regions have more in adults then in the highest age &overs), 
      • Restrictions; must wear tights, can't dance non-trad speeds, can't wear blingy stuff if you want to
      • adult catagories at competitions are usually very small, if they exist at all  
      • will have to drop down to &overs if you want to go further then prizewinner
    • "&Over" pros:
      • Bigger competitions (usually)
      • varied competition
      • If you can beat someone half your age, you know you've earned it
      • Can wear the fun dresses - or not. Same for tights (TC usually does have opinions that need to be taken into a consideration no matter where you go though) *Bonus; If you wear a wig, guarantee it will take between 4-10 years off of you!*
      • Can keep rising through levels without having to change catagories and re-acclimate yourself to a new competition "set"
    • "&Overs Cons:" 
      • You are literally competing against 15-20 people who are half your age - ARE YOU CRAZY?
      • Younger, sprier bodies mean high jumps, bouncer steps and better stamina with less effort
      • More competitors means harder competition
      • less people to "hang out" with - you aren't part of the "adults" club to hang out with them between dances, but you are to old to hang out with the teens you dance against.

So .. . there it is. Again, these are just my observations, and there are a lot of variables that need to be taken into consideration. Some teachers are adamant about not wanting the adults to dance with the kids, some prefer it. Some regions have a SUPER active Adults category, while other have none. Some kids classes are super laid back, some adults classes are super competitive. There are no right or wrong answers here. If you are an adult considering a class, take EVERYTHING into consideration and decide what feels right for you. Like I said, I've done both. I've loved doing both. What's right for me now is slogging alongside the kiddos - doesn't mean that down the road kicking butt with fellow adults isn't in the cards for me.

There is only ONE thing for certain - if you are considering taking a class or competing as an Adult, not only CAN YOU . . .but you have OPTIONS. So do it!!!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Class report 3: thing's I've learned

1. Don't cook your post dance class pierogis and onions while still dressed for dance class. Onion smell does not wash out easily and boob sweat is gross enough, so you really don't want your sports bra to smell extra weird.

2. I might overheat less if I wore less layers. And if the dress code adopted by the rest of the class is any indication, no one will care if I wear shorts instead of old lady capris. Just, don't wear shorts as short as some of the teens - that is, with an inseam shorter then some pairs of underwear.

3. My stamina improves every week. My complete, death-like exhaustion post class remains consistent. This is. . . . good? Despite being able to maintain energy through class, I am still pushing myself hard, I guess?

4. The medium sized child who stares at me all the time (who I was terrified was going to turn into Demon Spawn 2; return of the nine-year old) actually smiled and talked to me for a minute today - and was following my lead in drills. So - yeah! Another tween who doesn't think I am a complete freak-show! I am winning them over, one Disney-channel-lovin'-heart at a time.

5. The trick to my second Novice LJ step is to remember that the heel is the directional lead, not the leap!!! Now just pull it up to speed and keep the bounce

6. Other LJ news, my directionals are good, nothing else to learn there, and my bounce is continuing to improve.

7. The five year old practicing LJ with me is basically my spirit animal, complete with exhausted sighs of 'oh, I need to sit down' 'ouch, my knee hurts' and 'here, let me just go practice by myself over in the corner'. Only she's cuter. Cause she's five. Though, I actually went the whole class with having to sit and breath, so neener-neener . . .

I think that's it for this week gang. I am beat, full of chicken sandwhich amazingness and about to veg out on the couch watching Love It or List It, while yelling at the TV like my Great Grandmother used to.


PS. It's like I'm a real student now - finally got around to ordering a school jersey! Woot!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Class report 2

Wow, second class into the year and my resolve was already tested. Didn't sleep well last night, my knees hurt, I am late getting out of work, I smell bad, I have like 5 books I could be at home reading right now, I haven't played zoo tycoon in AGES.

Like - sometimes I wonder why all the things I never actually bother to do when I am home on the couch aimlessly chanel flipping decide they must be done when I am supposed to be in class. That little bewigged irish dance blerch taunting me with cookies, and rewatching Jig a few times and crying.

BUT! I went. I am even more tired, even more hurty, smell even funnier. I was 10 minutes late to class and I was not prevented from walking through the door by an invisible "you're late" barrier. I still have those 5 books to read to keep me entertained now that I am not convinced I will be able to move for the rest of the night, and zoo tycoon is still an option. Cookies might still be on the agenda, because they are a perfectly suitable post-work out meal, right?

Progress was good tonight though I felt - honestly, being a little late actually works to my advantage. I don't burn out all my energy on endless hardshoe drills in the first 10 minutes of class.

Continued work on my SPD. Remembered the new chunk I learned last week (second half of 1st part - god that sounds sad) and then began working on the rest of everything and was reminded my sticking point with this good ol' set dance - it's not the dance it self. I have all the chunks, all the pieces pretty wall nailed down. It's just there are soSOso many friggle-fraggle brush hop heel downs, and tip-down tip-downs, and then just some random rock-rock-rock thrown in there - it's all to much the same stuff being repeated and for some reason that makes it a pattern I can't seem to ever remember! I mean the 4 trebles, the treble cut treble, and the tip outs - perfect! Have had that part down pat for years, precisely because it's a sequence. The rest, I just don't know if I will ever be able to wrap my poor brain around. But, that is the focus for this weeks.

Highlights from drilling the SPD tonight were having my TC say my trebles were best in the group (best agains 10 year olds, but hey, I take what praise I can get) and that my rocks, which she only just showed us for the first time tonight were actually not too bad at all. High praise, considering . . . . Also, that blessesd "ah-ha" moment when my stumbling through steps actually fit the timing of the music.

For softshoe it was all Light Jig again. Miracle of miracles, still remembered the whole 1st and 2nd step from last week. Still occasionallly wrong foot myself on the second, but in general it's there and I can start bashing out some technique, which I did for most the class. My teenager drill master also had a little to deal with so I managed to score some independent practice. Like, let's be honest, I will be my own harshest critic when I do it wrong, and this way you don't need to stand there feeling awkward as I melt into a whimpering puddle on the floor.  After a good chunk of solo practice had her go over it with me again.

Highlights were getting confirmation that I had significant more bounce and better pointed toes this week. Also actually got to use some mirror space for most of my drilling and could really make sure that I was staying turned out and up while doing my back-two-three-fours.

Exhausted but victorious. One victory a week I guess.

Now, to continue my glam life report - I have 2 piles of cat vom to clean up and tea to dribble down my front because it hurts too much to sit up to drink it.


Bribes to practice form this week: new ghillie laces if I practice this week and go to class next week