Monday, April 26, 2010

Little Rock Feis 2010- A [lengthy] Post With Photos and Reflections

Friday before the feis I woke up, packed up the last of my needed items, checked things off of my list, headed to my chiropractor, lunch with Jon, then on to my classmate's parent's house. I hitched a ride to Little Rock with them and another mother and her 6 year old daughter. We hit the road around 2:30pm and soon after we were on I-40 headed to Arkansas.

Here's the 8 year old watching movies en route.
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The invention of a tv screen in a moter vehicle is a fantastic one. May not be the most life altering type of invention, but, I think it saves some parental sanity. For those who are curious we did not watch "Tinkerbell" much to my disappointment. However, there was a Barbie movie which I tried to watch, I really did. But, I got a bit carsick so I stopped watching and joined the conversation going on between the moms.
Living in Hilton luxery for the night.
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You may think me quite crazy to hitch a ride in a vehicle with two young children. To be honest, it didn't bother me a bit! I think it helps that I work with young children most days of the week. Even if I didn't work with them, still, splitting the cost of a hotel room at the Hilton plus splitting the cost of gas is well worth putting up with any shenanigans an 8 and 6 year old can dish out.
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Truely though, the little ones are great kids and they kept me laughing throughout the trip. Mucho needed as I was SO nervous!
Checking out in your wig and make-up. You would be surprised at how many people think the wig is a person's natural hair.
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D-day- ie Feis morning. My room woke up early to begin the routine of getting ready to head out and get our Irish dance on. Luckily for me, I'm old enough to get myself ready and I don't have to worry about a wig just yet. What's the deal with the wigs you ask? Apparently girls and women would curl their hair whenever they competed or performed. Someone got the idea that curling your hair and keeping it curled was cumbersome (it is btw!) so people starting putting on wigs with curls and all instead. I actually like them and as looney tooney as it sounds I really want to wear one! They look great when you're bouncing around onstage AND I've always wanted tons of natural curl without tons of effort. Ahh those things you obsess about when you have straight hair.

Ready to get her feis on.
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Here's my school's 6 year old, Miss Imp extraodinaire. Like me she was participating in her first feis. She isn't wearing a wig because she's a beginner and also because she's just too young. Some people in Irish dance can be hung up on appearances unfortunatly. Fortunatly for us, our teacher isn't about to stick little girls in make-up and wigs! She just doesn't find it reasonable and I couldn't agree more!

Susan looking rather smashing in her wig!
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Okay, 'nuff about the wigs. Saturday morning turned out a wee bit hectic for our crew. The 8 year old's mom and I both FORGOT our outfits for the feis!! Oy and vey! In my defense I was up at 6am and hadn't had all of my coffee. One of the moms ran back to the hotel to fetch our outfits, but, after she left those of us left behind realized we were at the WRONG location!! All worked out well though, we hitched a ride on a shuttle and met the mom at the correct location; funny side note the correct location was probably no more than three blocks from our hotel! Oh life, you're so funny sometimes! Fortunatly the competition started a bit late so we were where we needed to be with plenty of time to get ready.

Met up with the rest of the KBS Tulsa crew at the feis. Here's the 10 year old getting her shoes on.
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The fies was in one huuuuuge room at a convention center. Four stages, plus a podium stage, plus a few vendors, plus the tabulation table, plus one concession area, and three hundred people all fit comfortably in this room. I couldn't believe it, but, compared to the feis I observed in Dallas (which was about the same size people wise) this environment was much calmer and I really loved it.

The essence of getting ready to dance- dress bags, hangers, make-up, hair products, shoes, and water.
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I had about two hours before I had to dance. I warmed up with my classmates, but, didn't go at it too hard as my shins were still a bit tender. Nerves began to set in and for about 30 seconds I considered bolting! My hands were shaking and it took nearly 15 minutes for me to put my make-up on. My teacher KT kept telling me to breathe and relax. Afterall, it was my first feis and I was there for experience. I could've fallen all over the stage and she was still going to advance me! I know, why was I so nervous?! I was in a win-win situation. Still, I'm a perfectionist and I wanted to do well. I didn't care so much about my results (ok I cared a little!) as I truely believe that doing well on stage trumped any placement.

Getting fitted properly for shoes is a MUST! I loved the people who fitted me and Susan. So nice, professional, took all the time needed for a proper fitting. If you ever find yourself in Irish Dance I would highly reccomend Ballinvilla- George and Betsy are precious and they really care about you and your feet!
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So how did it go for me you ask? I LOVED being on stage! Before the stage part I checked in and was ready to pass out at that point. Sarah (an older adult dancer) was the perfect mother hen and gave me lots of last minute encouragement and advice. I got on stage for my reel dance. Two other dancers were with me. I started first with another lady and right as the music started the judge pointed his finger to move on the other side of the lady! Oh my GAWD! So I quickly scooted behind her and got to the other side just in time for the new phrase and for me to begin! The judge smiled and nodded at me and I nearly died!
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Despite the bumpy start I went at it with tons of energy. God bless endorphines! I got really close to the edge of the stage, but, stayed on it and finished well. In fact, halfway into my reel I thought, 'Hmmm, this is fun!' I made some little mistakes with my arms and my turnout wasn't very good at all (shin splints didn't help, but, to be truthful turnout is my weakest area). After the reel I waited for about 5-10 minutes to go at my slip jig. I was bubbling over with adreline and used that to bounce and move all over the stage when I danced again. I was so happy afterwords! Two of my classmates came up to me and gave me hugs and congratulations! What a rush!

KBS Tulsa's 10 year old near champion level dancer. Isn't she precious?
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Not only was dancing on stage an unbelievable joy to me, watching my other classmates get up there on stage and do well was a true pleasure. Our little KBS Tulsa team were running back and forth getting to their respective stages as well as the stages our classmates were on. We were all rooting for one another and ready to help with bobby pins, spare shoes, and anything else needed to help us perform. I could not ask for a better group to be part of!

The eight year old in her solo dress
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'Team Tulsa' as we dubbed ourselves, did exceptionally well! Susan recieved three first places and one second place, the 8 year old was in the top four in each dance she performed in, the 10 year old also recieved three firsts and a second, Sarah was in first or second in all of her dances, and another teen dancer placed in the top four as well in each of her dances! The six year old beginner (it was her first feis too) recieved two first placements, one second, and one third. I recieved a first in my reel and a second in my slip jig- I was in shock! But, most importantly we all worked hard, did our best, and were there to support one another.

KT, my instructor, and Sarah all smiles.
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Since Irish dance is a competitive performing art there is a lot of pressure to place well so you can advance to the next level. With each level the steps get harder and whenever you are being judged by a person you just don't know how well it's going to go. It is subjective, but, on the flip side recieving constructive criticism can help one improve. I thought I danced my slip jig better than my reel, but, the judges changed and another judge watched my slip jig. She counted me off more for my weak turnout than the other judge did. Rather than get down about it I am actually more motivated to improve! No one is more surprised than me at how I have reacted to being on stage and being judged. I guess maturity and perspective make all the difference.

Showing off the bling is a must!
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Fortnatly I have a bit of time before the next feis to get harder steps and improve my technique. Being an adult dancer isn't quite as high intensity as competiting as a youngin'. I actually had some adults and one of my competitors come up to me and give me congratulations and hugs! How nice is that? I know there are those who wouldn't be so nice and welcoming, but, I think if you understand that going in you can buffer yourself to that craziness. After all, in all areas of life there are just going to be some people who will be very intense and over the top about anything whether it's a sport, art, an academic subject, politics, religon, etc etc.
That smile is priceless! She had so much fun dancing that day.
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What did I get out of my first feis? I got a sense of community with my classmates and a renewed sense of what competition is about. It isn't about the other person, the placements (though if you do well it is nice- no lie!), it's about me and how I do before and up to the actual performance. I used to dread any competition for anything because I was so worried about not doing well. Now, I only worry about working diligently up to the day I compete and having a performance I can learn from. If I hadn't had such support from my classmates and work discipline my shin splints would've gotten the best of me and I seriously doubt I would've made it to the feis much less dance as well as I did.
Having a bit of fun.

Part of KBS Team Tulsa crew. We had such a great day!
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It seems that despite a life time's worth of 'competition sucks' mentality getting into Irish dance I will get some fabulous and positive life lessons out of it. I haven't had that much fun in a competition since my high school band days. Completly worth the trip, the effort, the pain, the tears, etc etc. I am still smiling today and can't wait for more. Good or bad results be da***d, I say bring it on!

15 comments:

Sarah said...

*like* *like* *like* !!!! Congrats again! I'm glad you had such a great time! Where are the pics of YOUR trophies???

Habebi said...

Thank you chica!! It was so fun! And I didn't get any trophies, have to be a higher level to start collecting those! lol

Sara Louise said...

No picture of you in your curls and dress?? Pretty please....

Jessica said...

Awesome! Great write up! I can't wait to see some of the photos of you all dressed up! Well done!

Habebi said...

Sara Louise- I actually did not wear a wig. Most of the time, beginners/first feis-ers don't; which actually is a pain b/c I had to make sure my hair looked and stayed nice. Though I really want to wear one really bad. I know they're hot and all that, but, I am all about having a bouncy head of curls. I promise, as soon as I put one on my head there will be pictures!

Habebi said...

Jessica- Thank you! I do appreciate you forgiving my typos (saw them today- eep!). There aren't many pictures of me as handing off that nice camera scares most people! lol I will get someone used to it soon enough though!

Heather said...

How cool is it that you're doing this??? I'm so glad you went and had a great time and did so well. What an experience!

Habebi said...

Thanks Heather! It is a lot of fun and I'm really surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Eventhough I will have to work hard to keep up good results, I hope when I go to other feiseanna (plural form of feis) I can have as much fun as I did even if I don't place well. Thanks again for the 'love' and support!

Clouds said...

Looked like you guys had such an amazing time. What awesome wigs! Haha

Sara Louise said...

Habebi - there is a little something for you in Le Petit Village... swing by and pick it up xo

Sarah- Little Ark Photography said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! that's so huge!!!

i haven't had the rush/fear/panic of being on stage since performing in high school, and I TOTALLY MISS IT.

enjoy!! enjoy!!!

Habebi said...

Clouds- Thank you so much!

Sarah- Thank you!! Yes it is one unbelievable rush. My boyfriend, who acted for years, told me it would be addictive. I think he's right. I'm actually ready to try it again (though I wanna get my new steps down first!). Thanks again!

Habebi said...

Clouds- Thank you so much!

Sarah- Thank you!! Yes it is one unbelievable rush. My boyfriend, who acted for years, told me it would be addictive. I think he's right. I'm actually ready to try it again (though I wanna get my new steps down first!). Thanks again!

Dedene said...

That is so great that you went and had such a good time. Now why weren't there any pictures of you in your wig?
BTW: The wigs are a hoot!

Habebi said...

Dedene- Merci! It was a blast and I'm glad I took the plunge and gave it a go. I agree, the wigs are wild. Some look fab, some... ehhh. I wasn't wearing a wig- beginners, even adult ones, tend not to. I promise though, as soon as I put one on my head there will be pictures!