Competition day... The whole reason for being in New Orleans. We got a very early start. We were up by 5 to start getting ready so we had time to grab a bite to eat before having to be at Gidget's stage so she could check in.
This was our first time ever attending Oireachtas.(ore-ock-tus) Everyone says that the first time is really just for the experience. It's like a a Feis on steroids. A feis(fesh) is a competition that the dancers compete by their level of dance. The levels go like this; Beginner, Advanced Beginner, Novice, Prizewinner, Preliminary- Champion, Open- Champion. As the dancer progresses up each level, the technique gets more and more difficult. Dancers at the top are true atheletes. The degree of discipline and stamina that is required is truly remarkable. Dancers also compete within their age group at each level as well. Gidget is a U12 Prizewinner, but has 2 dances towards her Prelim level. Dancers advance through the levels by getting a 1st place in each of their dances competing at Feis's. Now that may sound easy, but it is anything but. At Gidget's age level and dance level a typical competition size is about 20. She attended a competition in Cleveland where there were 40-45 kids, in which case they will split the group. Are you still with me??? The higher the level, the more difficult your competitors get.
Now to attend Oireachtas you have to qualify. The dancer Must have a 1st place in each a hard shoe dance and a softshoe dance at the Novice level. Basically 1/2 Novice 1/2 Prizewinner. But at Oireachtas you don't dance by level, you dance by age group. So a Prizewinner will compete agianst a dancer who may be an Open Champion. So basically at this competition everyone is good. There were 115 dancers in Gidget's competition.
The dancer will dance 1 hard shoe, and 1 soft shoe. The top 50 with the highest scores of each group will Recall. A recall means you get to do your set dance which a hard shoe. Those with the highest combined scores of all 3 dances will either qualify to go to National's or World's.
Gidget danced phenominally, but did not recall. She was disappointed, because her teachers thought she had a good shot at recalling, but it wasn't to be. Which is not uncommon for a 1st time. Her teachers did say she dance remarkably well though. It was a bit of shell shock though, because every dancer was good. Which is much different from a regular Feis where Gidget usually scores in the top 5. She is a really solid and a really consistent dancer.
Though training to go to Oireachtas was an experience unto itself. She practiced about 12- 15 hours a week for 2 months. All the kids from her school that went worked really hard. I was in complete awe of them. These kids had blisters on blisters, their muscles hurt, their knees, ankles, and hips hurt, But they didn't complain, they worked even harder. They were all Champions in my eyes.
Now I know that was a lot of confusing information and I hope I explained it well enough. I have been in this for 2 years now and I am still learning, so don't feel bad if you don't totally get it.
If I get any one point across is that I want folks to understand what true Athletes that these kids are. They work hard, in and out of the studio. They breathe, eat and sleep Irish Dance. They all strive to be the best. They carry themselves in that manner too. I admire every single one of them. I would be remiss if I did not mention the wonderful teachers who work with these kids 5 days a week. Sandra, who owns the school, Pam, Michele, Audrey, and Patrick. They are wonderful and awesome teachers.
To be continued........ Tomorrow Ceili's (caylee's) (Teams)
|Getting Ready to do her Wig|
|She has Lots & Lots of hair|
|The Hair "Donut" is on|
|The hair "Donut"|
|Ready for her wig|
|Wig & Make-up on Ready to Compete|
|Chloe getting some finishing touches|
|Bridget with her friend and fellow competitor Meghan|
|Ready to go|
|Waiting for the Recall List|
|Bridget And Katelyn having lunch|