Monday, December 14, 2015

Overs, Why I continue to dance

The one thing I'll always love about Irish are overs. They were the first thing I mastered, the first thing I realized that with practice I'd actually improve upon. Consequently, they were the first thing that came back to me after I re-started. Last week at class was the first time in years I'd felt that floating sensation - after about 6-7 months of weekly classes (and occasional practices at home), I had regained enough muscle (or muscle memory?) to achieve that feeling. It's a feeling I constantly strive for with all my dancing.

More times than not, I'm filled with self doubt about my abilities; will I actually ever achieve my goals? Are my goals ridiculous? Did I wait too long to re-start to be any good? What actually defines 'good'?

But then I remember why I started, and why I continue to go to class, week by week. Why I will never stop dancing again - because the depressing feeling that comes with it cripples my soul. While yes, I'd love to be that one in thousands that can have a solid competitive career in their late 20s/early 30s, I don't want to stop because I can't have it. I want to learn every set dance known to man. I want to try Sean nos dancing. I want to perform and teach as much as possible for as long as I can. This isn't to say I won't stay competitive - I truly enjoy perfecting steps and I honestly want to see how far I can go with hard work & a little luck.


What have I done this week to help improve my dancing?
-Stretched 3x this week
-Learned a new slip jig/part of a treble jig; can dance to music sloppily
-Have been doing releves/walking on my toes when I think of it. Do them at work, home, walking to my car. There's no set schedule with these, but I end up doing a few about once a day.

Successes this past week (no matter how small):
-Did my treble jig, in hardshoes (not sneakers, not socks) 2x through to music. It sucks...but this is the first time I've done a full dance to music in quite sometime. Hoping to do 2x more in class tomorrow + sometime at my apartment's gym.
-I can hold my overs again.
-Continue to trim up and gain muscle. My calves are going to be killer by the time summer hits!

Goals for this week:
-Releves. Each and every damn day.
-Crunches - 10 each day.
-Drill two bits of sj that are bugging me; my entire tj
-Run full dances 1x each

I'd say I'll do more...but I also want to stay realistic. Cannot wait to have more time over the holidays!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Irish Dancing - Then/Now/Future

I started Irish dancing thirteen years ago at age 14. I immediately fell in love with it and could not get enough of it. I competed extensively for three years before falling victim to three things: extreme anxiety, college, and lack of help from my former dance teacher. Before I go any further - that particular dance school was a great start for me. I learned a lot, and both teachers helped me further my obsession and love for Irish dance. I competed at two oireachtas, both of which were great (but disappointing) experiences. I digress.

Where was I? Oh yes, anxiety and college.

I've spent the better part of ten years doing/figuring out the following:

  • Minoring in dance - I decided use my minor credits in college to further explore all styles of dance. Ballet was my favorite, African used muscles I didn't know my body had, Tap was a fairly easy learn (thank you, hardshoe!) even though I couldn't hold my body 'loose enough', and Jazz was just 'eh'. Ballet, however, strengthened me like no other dance form OR sport had before. I've realized now that in order to achieve my newly reformed Irish goals, I must take ballet to supplement. 
  • How much anxiety actually fucked me over at regionals - and how to overcome that amount of stress and anxiousness (is that a word?) in the future. This is something I still have to work on.
  • Taking Irish at two different schools before giving up...almost four years ago. 
  • FINALLY. Finding the Irish school of my dreams - only to be really old in the Irish dance world. Which brings me to today.
I am 27 years old and have been taking Irish classes weekly for the past 7 months. I have goals for the next several years, ending with me taking my TCRG and ADCRG. Wow! I actually wrote that. This is something I've kept mainly to myself for awhile...and it's honestly exciting to share it with the world (or whomever actually reads this). In order to keep myself from being overwhelmed, I am starting off with some smaller goals:
  • Practice 2x weekly outside of class. 
  • Improve overs - would like to get both legs 'frozen' by end of Jan 2016. My right leg is coming back nicely; my left - not so much. 
  • Dance 3 steps in a row without dying by June. I will probably restart as an &over pw, but it couldn't hurt to start working toward that now.
  • Do multiple performances before first feis back.
  • Sign up for first feis back (May/June 2016)
OK, I think that's enough for now. I want to head to bed early so I'll be rested enough for practice tomorrow.