Sunday, 9 February 2014

TCRG

I still don't believe it. But until someone tells me otherwise, I'm going to continue as if its true. I have a name for my school and have spent tonight firing off emails to all sorts of church halls and social clubs, scouting for venues, and hopefully I'll be able to visit them over the next week or so to check out the floors, find out about availability, ask about fees, etc. I've asked suitable friends about designing a logo to go with the colors I've chosen. I've got my insurance, I'm just waiting for the policy documents to come through so I can complete my TCRG registration with An Coimisiun. I can't believe it's done. The relief. The relief is immense. This s the biggest achievement of my entire life, never mind my dancing life. I don't even have a degree, this is the biggest thing I've ever done. I finally have letters after my name. I can't believe it. It's not real. Omg, wtf, bbq, tcrg. Those four letters have meant the entire world to me for so many years and now I have them, I have no idea what it all means. I can't get my head around it. Me, TCRG. WHAT?!?!??

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Job of Journeywork - full version

This one's a bit easier in that it only has one additional bit, the last step.

First step:
Brush down brush down treble and down, hop-treble and treble and 1212
and brush treble and down, hop-treble and treble and 1212
and brush treble and down treble and 12345
Box 23 down brush treble and back brush treble-up treble and back

Set:
and brush and brush treble in front treble behind, heel down kick and down
Hop over 23 and toe and heel and toe and heel
Rock rock down treble and 12345
Box 23 down brush treble and back brush treble-up treble and back 23,
Over 23, over 23, brush treble and treble and hop kick down brush down kick cut down brush to your heel treble and heel and heel, down treble and back brush treble-up treble and back

Last step:
and brush and brush treble in front treble behind, tip onto your heel
Tip cut down tip cut down, click click* over onto your heel
Down treble and back brush down brush down kick and cut tip cut onto your heel
Down treble and back brush treble-up treble and back

* So it's specifically taught as a click, rather than a modern embellishment, but you're not supposed to click. Not sure what to do with that.

I also started to learn White Blankets but I think I'd worn out the traditional set part of my brain so I'll tackle that again another day.

Feel really happy to have learnt all of these extra bits :)

Blackbird - full version

So here we go with the Blackbird. Honestly, learning these additional and arguably more difficult bits was ten times easier than my huge struggle trying to learn the first step and set all those years ago. Just goes to show - the more you learn, the easier it is to learn. The more you have under your belt, the easier it is to add to your knowledge.

First step:
Brush down brush down treble and 123, brush down treble and 123 brush down treble and 123 brush down treble and 123
And brush treble and back treble and 123, over 23, and brush treble in front treble behind

First set:
Down down treble and back hop rock 23 hop rock 23 jump 23 jump 23 jump 23 
Treble and back hop brush brush rock rock down treble and back treble and back
Hop heel 23 1212 hop heel 23, stamp toe heel over 2345 over point and rock rock
Treble and back and brush and brush treble and back and brush and brush treble in front treble behind

Second step:
Brush down kick treble-and-treble-and-treble and down, kick treble and a back 23
Tip brush cut down tip brush cut down tip kick cut down tip brush cut to your heel treble and heel
Change heel down heel out 23 and box 234 down treble in front treble behind

Second step:
Down down treble and back hop rock 23 hop rock 23 jump 23 jump 23 jump 23 
Treble and back hop brush brush rock rock down treble and back treble and back
Change treble and treble in front treble behind jump 23 jump 23 stamp stamp
Hop 23 jump 23 jump 23 treble and heel
Change heel down heel out 23 and box 234 down treble in front treble behind

Last step - right foot:
Brush down kick treble-and-treble-and-treble and down, kick treble and a back 23
Tip treble-and-treble and treble-and-treble and treble, 2, 3, 4,
Down treble hop back and brush and brush treble and back and brush and brush treble in front treble behind

Last step - left foot:
Brush down kick treble-and-treble-and-treble and down, kick treble and a back 23
Tip treble-and-treble and treble-and-treble and treble, 2, 3, 4,
Down treble hop back and brush and brush treble and back down down treble and back hop back hold.

So the second set is the first half of the first set with a bit extra, and the end piece is the same as the end piece of the second step. 

Then the last step begins the same as the second step, and finishes the same as the first step on the right foot, with a little difference at the very end.

Clear as mud?

St Patrick's Day - full version

Today I am mostly rewinding and re-rewinding Olive and the gang as I make progress with my limbo to-do list and learn the full versions of all of the traditional sets.

St Patrick's Day has a first step, the "Lion's Claw" treble 1 treble 2 treble 3 treble 4 that we all know and love, followed by a first set (up hop back tip 12 tip 12). You then have a second step, second set and last step, all of which I've learnt this morning and just danced in the kitchen. I actually think getting my head around the first set on the left foot was the more challenging part of this endeavour as my brain just doesn't think of those steps that way!

Here we have it:

First step:
Treble 1, treble 2, treble 3, treble 4,
Treble-treble and a back tip cut down tip cut down
Tip and step hit your heel tip and cut to your heel
Treble-treble and a back, hop back 234

First set:
Up hop back tip 12 tip 12 tip and cut to your heel tip 12 tip 12
Change step hit your heel tip and cut to your heel
Treble-treble and a back tip and cut to your heel tip 12 tip 12
And step hit your heel, back rock 23
Treble 1 treble 2 treble-treble and a back, hop back 234

Got that so far? Then here's the rest:

Second step:
Treble-treble and a back treble-treble and a back
Hop back 234 tip cut heel 234
Tip 12 tip 12 change tip step hit your heel, tip step hit your heel
Treble-treble and back

Second set:
Up hop back tip 12 tip 12 tip and cut to your heel tip 12 tip 12
Change step hit your heel tip and cut to your heel
Treble 1, treble 2, treble 3, treble 4,
Treble-treble and a back tip cut down tip cut down
Tip and step hit your heel tip and cut to your heel
Treble-treble and a back, hop back 234

Spot that? It's the first 6 bars of the first set, followed by the first step (Lion's Claw) in its entirety. So technically everybody already knows this set!

Last step - right foot only:
Treble-treble and a back 23 stamp 23 stamp 23 stamp 23
Box 23 treble and a heel
And step hit your heel, and step hit your heel stamp stamp
Step hit your heel brush out down brush and point

^ All the step hit your heels in that one are done with left leg leading.

St Patrick's Day was never my favourite set because I feel I sink on my knees too much on the four opening trebles, but all in all this is a lovely dance. I don't know if it would be an option to do the second step and set in competition rather than the first, but I don't see why not - it's still a valid version. In fact I think having championship dancers attempt the full thing, including each set on both feet, would be a far more interesting way of introducing traditional sets back into championship competitions as one of the rounds.

Rumour has it, the All Irelands will go back to a heavy and light round for this year, but followed by both a traditional set and an open set for the recallers. I do like that approach, and years ago the senior competitors at the Worlds had to do two open sets, so the precedent is sort-of there. I do kind of like the experimentation at present - I just wish the AI would go back to Killarney in February!

Next, the Blackbird.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Debrief

Time to debrief, I guess. Might as well make it my last post of the year.

It was a completely different experience. The interaction with the panel was different, the way I approached it was different. The main difference was that I was so much more nervous this time. Sick every morning, not a wink of sleep. Last time round I wasn't entertaining the thought that I might pass - all I wanted was to not fail outright, and maybe pick up some section passes. This time I really wanted to pass it for good.

The dancing was better than last time. I was really looking forward to dancing my jigs but in the first bar of the first step I fell off my toes and it threw me a bit meaning I didn't get in my fanciest bit and had to substitute with something else. Walked back to my place thinking "that's that failed, then." But then the track ended, and the next one that came on was my favourite jig of all time, a sign, so I thought no. Not failed. Still hope. Didn't make another mistake after that, bar another toes-related wobble in my hornpipe set. I got back to my room thinking, I'm not sure how that went. Anyone who's done this before will know what I mean when I say I've changed my mind about it several times since and I'm sure I will again, but I can only pray that I made up those two marks.

Teaching I think went well. It definitely went infinitely better than last time and I actually enjoyed it, but who can say if I did enough. The kids were awesome, I hope they enjoyed learning the ceilis possibly for the first time. I got an eight hand and a progressive, one reel and one jig, neither with a specific tune this time. I blipped once but put myself right the moment one of them asked how many bars the movement was. I felt like it was going well but at one point they were deep in discussion which obviously I couldn't hear and I can't decide whether it was good or bad. What I do know is that last time I came out and wept in my room while predicting 30% marks in the solo teaching - this time I bounced out. I just enjoyed teaching, being called a teacher. It felt comfortable. I hope I put that across.

Since then I thought I'd want a break from dancing but the opposite is true. Can't get enough. Last time it went badly and I just wanted to get away from it for a while - this time my legs are glad of the Christmas break but I'm raring to get back into it and will continue to do my solo practices too as I've got a list of things I want to work on so that I can be the best I possibly can be for my eventual dancers. So there'll be a to-do list early in the new year, but then we wait. We wait until March.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

One.

11.52am
Chilling in the airport, playing Yahtzee. By "chilling" I very much mean "feeling sick and doing everything I can not to cry". I am, to borrow a phrase from the 1800s, wretched with nerves. At least my flight's not delayed. Yesterday I lilted as though my life depended on it - I just pray I can access those tunes when everything DOES depend on it. I cried leaving the house. The next time I'm there I could be a TCRG without knowing it, or I could be heading towards attempt 3. Ok now I really feel sick. 

3.47pm
Just realised I got my unsuccessful email a year ago today. I was standing outside watching a utility company install a new water pipe at the time. It was -2•c. This year I'm toasty in the hotel room waiting, while my friend and the others do the written. Going through stages of intense nerves and slight excitement, but at least with her here we're distracting each other when we're together. Good luck everyone. 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Two.

It's my last day in the office today. And I can get onto the internet but not emails or the server, so I'm killing time with some admin tasks and a bit of revision.

I spent a lot of time on Glencar last night - I absolutely love this little dance but when we do it in class, we do it 'wrong' to make it easier. So gents and ladies do the figures of eight the same way, and in the double figure of eight we take hands lead-around style rather than both hands. I think both hands is easier but even so. Anyway so this one has always tripped me up a bit because I hesitate and second-guess when it comes to those movements, but I've got it down now. I even dreamt about it! I wouldn't mind getting that one now. Let's watch, because it's lovely (and you get a free Fairy Reel with this one too):



There's a lot of fog in little England today and flights are being cancelled and delayed all over the shop. Cross your fingers for me that I at least get there!

A while ago I had a conversation about nerves with the other half. We were watching a big England game and I said "God imagine how nervous they all are!" and he said no, they'd be pumped up and ready for it, adrenaline but not nerves. I'm of a nervous disposition and always have been, hence I didn't compete in dancing very much, so I just didn't understand this mindset. But I think I'm starting to on a very small scale. I've done as much preparation as is humanly possible. I've danced hard, I've put myself through incredibly stressful ceili teaching prep classes and driven 230 miles virtually every week. I've even gone to the bloody gym! So I'm starting to understand - the footballers had prepared fully so of course they weren't nervous. I almost can't wait to get there and show them what I can actually do.

But then the doubt sets in again. It's like I'm incapable of believing in myself. What right do I have to pass this? Who do I think I am?

I need to get over this.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Three.

With three days to go last time round, it was my last class (I have an extra day this year as my exam starts Friday, not Thursday). Oh I feel so much better. That's not to say I'm not nervous, I'm horribly nervous! I can barely eat, I have a funny feeling in my chest, and I keep being sick. But I'm not AS nervous. It's a combination of having been there before, and being infinitely better prepared.

I finished my list - writing out each dance by movement. Absolutely no mistakes on that, everything was word-perfect. So the idea was that as I went through, I would identify movements where I was rusty on how to actually do them, and if I came across a dance where I thought "God I hope I don't get this" then I'd revise that in full. You know what, there isn't much I want to go over. That panics me because I don't want to be complacent and waste the time I have left.

So it's revision tonight - reading, watching and ghost teaching - and then stretching and icing. I'm very sore today but I'm trying to look after myself for just these few last days. Come Sunday I will become the laziest person on earth again :)

I have literally never worked harder for anything in my entire life. Nothing, no exam, no job, no hobby, no task, has ever come close to this.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Four.

Monday class live blogging.

7.22pm 
Watching the kids prepare for the class feis on Sunday, awww. Can't bloody wait for my own class feises. But for the time being, jig set.

7.38pm
Jig set ok. I'm on thick carpet which doesn't help me but I can get my clicks up higher so I must. Hornpipe set I ripped the cord out of my iPod in the middle of the step and when I restarted, missed out a bit at the start of the set. Do it again.

7.56pm
Hornpipe set step fine, got carried away and messed up a different bit of the start of the set. Did the set right afterwards but not right all the way through yet. Run out of space so on to Blackbird and King for the time being - they're ok. Lady from the adult class just told me I'd lost loads of weight, yay.

8.07pm
Jockey and Three Seas fine. Feel sick but mildly ok at the same time. Boxed myself into a corner on Three Seas but it was ok. I like that one, I'll teach that one eventually. 

8.34pm
Boys jig good, strong. My hornpipe solos good - if they're that reasonable on thick carpet, tired, bit cramped, then they'll be ok on the day. Hornpipe set messed it up again, in the set again, but a different bloody bit! Then I went and threw up again. Once more (the set not the chundering).

8.57pm
Finally got that set right! All the way through. That was enough in shoes so did all my other sets just in socks, fine. I so hope I can just show them what I've done tonight, the way I know I can do it. 

9.11pm
Aaaand we're done. Can't believe it, last class done again. Home straight. Please god I do it properly this time. At least I'm not wallowing in self pity like last year - bit of confidence and self-belief.