So because I’m done with finals, I thought I’d talk about my dance year. It feels weird to assume any of you would want to hear about my life, but since this has undoubtedly been my best year so far, I thought i’d share.
I started off the year kinda bummed that I hadn’t made top ten at oireachtas and hadn’t qualified for worlds, but I was super committed to fixing everything and killing it this year. I was practicing a ton and working out and just generally felt great.
I was super excited that my spring break was over St. Patrick’s day, so I got to go home and do a bunch of shows with Tara Academy (my school at home). Unfortunately, dancing on iffy surfaces for a week was the last straw for my chronically injured ankles and the pain just became too much to bear. It turns out I have tendonitis in my ankles. I was already having a really academically challenging semester, so having the time to do work was good, but I had to take a month and a half off dance while I did tons of PT to rehabilitate my ankles. I went to the gym a ton, but it just wasn’t the same. I was so happy when I finally got to dance again (even though I still have pain a lot of the time).
I did a feis in May but it was finals week and I was sick so I did really shittily.
Montreal was more fun than I could have imagined. I got to see friends from all over the world and watch some truly incredible dancing in a truly incredible city. I ended up false starting my set though and came last in the recall, even though the rest of my scores were way better. I am still SO proud of how I danced though, that I don’t really care about the results. Being able to get up there and dance as well as I did gave me the confidence I needed for oireachtas. There is nothing I would have changed about that major, it really reminded me how much I love Irish dance and how much I need to become a TC.
I made a ton of new dance friends this year, and got even closer with so many I already had. Shoutout to DINGI.
In August, after discussing it with both my TC at Tara (at home in Seattle) and my TC at Tamora (at school in Claremont), I decided to make the transfer so I could do Tamora material. It really was not a big deal, but I think everyone would agree that it was a good choice - I got to be way better prepared this way.
This was SUCH a challenge though, because I learned all my material in one day in August, but couldn’t come to class until September. This meant a month of hard work to commit my choreography to memory, basically entirely from video. I’m incredibly proud of myself for doing it, and it gave me way more confidence as a dancer.
Coming up to oireachtas I did two feises, which I did okay at, but was nervous because the girls in my group were looking SO good. (Seriously, my age group is incredible). I was going to three hour practices and working on my own six days a week. I have never worked harder for anything in my life.
One of the most exciting things this year was my new dress (OMG). I designed it myself and Eliza Anne Dress Designs made it. I spent HOURS crysaling it (I did all the crystaling myself and the dress is practically blinding with crystals). It was just the boost of confidence I needed for oireachtas.
Oireachtas 2014 was the best weekend of my life. Both of my schools had oireachtas champions (YEAH CHRISTOPHE AND BECKY!!) and I got to be reunited with my Tara family. Twenty percent of the ENTIRE Tamora school world qualified and I got to see my friends and teammates show off all the hard work they did.
My group was only qualifying the top five for worlds, so I knew I had to bring it. The great thing about my group is that by now we all know each other and are all friends. We all celebrate each other’s successes and build each other back up after our letdowns. This competition was such a wildcard. I didn’t know if my best would be good enough.
As they called sixth place I was sure it would be me. I was so ready to step forward for a picture - sashless and one step away from my dream of standing on the podium. When it hit me that I was in the top five, I fell on the ground crying. I was about to step forward to claim my fifth place sash and smile out at the crowd filled with friends, teammates, and teachers. They didn’t call my number. They didn’t call my number. I stood there shocked as I realized I had just outdanced everyone but the three dancers who were all top ten in the nation.
I had gone to oireachtas with the goal of getting an ugly crying reaction shot. I didn’t just get the picture. I got a sash. A sparkly 4th place sash and a World Qualifying medal.
Last week I found out I got approval to study abroad in Belfast in the spring of 2016. 2014 has been the best year of my life. I can’t wait for Montreal and I cant wait to see what the rest of my future holds.
And now I’m really emotional because I wrote this while listening to Planxty Davis 76 on repeat