23 September 2007

Another Weekend, Another Feis

The Graham Feis flew by for us.

We checked in on Friday night, and the girls were each given a bag of Teddy Grahams as their "Graham Treat" (cute, eh? Although, if someone hadn't explained it to me, I never would've gotten the pun). We had some time to explore the DoubleTree hotel and figure out where the stages were. Stages 1,2,3, and 4 were all on the indoor tennis courts in the sports center.

MrV spent much of the evening reprising Ceili Band. It appears to be our feis themesong. Not that we remember any more of the song than we did 3 weeks ago (I'm getting him the CD for Christmas, I swear). At this point we've started inserting the line "we're a Ceili Band!" randomly into most of the songs we sing.

Since the kids were dancing on stages 3 and 4, we opted to park at the sports center's entrance the next morning (hurrah for us for knowing that there was a separate door and parking lot back there, as the tennis courts are a looooong hike from the front entrance of the hotel). As a bonus, the sports center also has nice locker rooms, which we used to slip into the don't-wear-in-the-car-lest-you-crush-it school dress. Can I tell you how nice it is to use an actual locker room instead of a tiny bathroom or hallway corner to change in? Absolute luxury.



This is what it looked like on the tennis courts early Saturday morning. That's Kid1 and Kid2 warming up in the front left of the picture.

There was a heavy chemical funk in the air, and it was warm and cozy, but as the morning progressed they kicked up the HVAC -- it cooled off some, and the smell was tolerable. I don't know if it was from the finish they painted on the stages or something else. By the way, the stages really did look nice. They had advertised that dancers wouldn't need to tape their shoes, and I think they were right (nb: you put duct tape on the bottom of your hardshoes to help prevent slipping if you're dancing on a wonky surface).

As I said, the feis flew by for us. No knitting was accomplished -- there was no time! The First Feis and Beginner 1s went through all of their dances right after the team dances. The kids were zipping up to the check in almost as soon as they were finished dancing; at one point the check in for their next dance was while they were on stage. We were finished by about 11AM or so. We hung around a bit to see results (some of the slip jig results disappeared for awhile -- as in "over an hour" -- so we were killing time).

During this time we wandered over to stage 8, which was the Arts and Crafts competition. And, you know what? I could've thrown my socks on that table, and won a prize. Well, except I was wearing the socks that irishgirlieknits knit for me, so really she would've been the one to win, not I (but, she's done the feis-thing before, so that would've been appropriate). Anyway, I need to do some Celtic crafting, no doubt. And figure out how to enter into that part of the feis.

Speaking of wandering around, this feis snaked all over the place. It was amazing! Our area of stages 1-4 was wonderfully compact (not crowded at all, but everything we needed was right there), but the trip over to the Feisworx room was a major hike. I think the more advanced dancers had more of a chore to get from place to place, as they were in various meeting rooms here and there.

The kids' scores were ... interesting. Kid1 did her reel with grace and confidence, the best I've ever seen her do. Her score was way below those of the girls who placed. Kid2 forgot her hornpipe halfway through; she place 3rd out of 6 competitors, just 2 points from the winner, with the sole comment of "timing" (umm, yeah, her timing sort of slipped when she slowed down to remember what the steps were). So, we just shrug and say, "that's a feis for ya", and go on with life, I guess. After all, we're at Beginner 1 level, so it isn't as though the scores greatly affect much of anything. I imagine it starts getting more cutthroat at Beginner 2, and the pressure builds as you work up through the levels, since where you place affects what level you're considered to have attained.

We also saw the PC/OC girls dance their 8-hand, during which one of the musicians messed up. THAT was interesting. I heard a mom ask, "does the judge realize the musician messed up, not the dancers?" I think the judge is supposed to be in charge of the musician, right? so theoretically the judge should know. (If you don't hang out in the Irish Dance community, PC/OC is the elite level Beginner 1s dream about.)

(Let me insert here that I think the job of the feis musicians seems unbearably dreary to me, and they must be very special people to take on the task. The musicians sit there hour after hour after hour playing the music over and over and over. One mistake in 8 hours isn't a bad average. I was just interested to see what happens and how everyone reacts when someone makes a mistake like that. Overall, I think all feis musicians deserve medals just for showing up.)

And we saw a foot injury when 2 of the girls ran into each other; one of them had to be carried off the stage. I think she was crying from the sheer tension of the contest as much as from the pain.

One of the most interesting sights was the discovery of private baton lessons at the Doubletree! The kids took baton lessons back in Ohio. This Irish Dance mania has somewhat replaced that activity. But it's still a bit of information to tuck away, should we decide to go back in that direction.

Best of all, we were home in plenty of time to tidy up the house and have a birthday party that night!

1 comment:

Weaver said...

congrats on another great showing! and no tears, vomiting or blowups :)