18 September 2007

Help! I'm being sucked into an Irish Dance vortex!

The other day, after dance class, I looked out in my backyard to see these strange creatures hanging out under the playset:

Within 24 hours they had metamorphed into something more like this:

That's 3-hand they're doing, by the way. It's mostly taught in ceili class, although apparently my kids have picked up enough in regular classes to do it well enough for the crowd at the parish fair.

About once per month their teacher comments, "They really should be in ceili class."

And I counter, "You're probably right, but ceili meets on blah-ti-blah night, and that's when swim class meets."

Yesterday morning I got an email from her. "Good news! Ceili for under-8s is now on blee-ti-blee night!" Kid2 is in under-8. So, both kids could now do ceili since the under-12 ceili meets late enough on blah-ti-blah night we could make it.

So, when we arrived at dance class last night I started quizzing other parents -- how much of a commitment is ceili? The moms cried out "It's HUGE!" and the dads tended to just sort of snort that snort that means "you really don't want to know". I don't know how other schools do ceili, but ours sends the teams to Oireachtas (which a year ago I couldn't even pronounce, let alone consider having my kids compete in) (I'm pretty sure I'm still pronouncing it wrong). Competing in Oireachtas is a huge time commitment, as well as monetary -- there's the hotel stay, of course, plus a brand new wig just for the occasion, and a new pair of ghillies. And the competition pressure, I'm sure, is enormous.

But, you know, it would be sort of fun to see the solo competitions at Oireachtas. Just sayin'.

So. Sigh. I'm sure the kids would enjoy the class itself, and getting close to the other families on the team would be cool, and I'm sure it would help the kids' technique. But. The extra-curricular activites are such a delicate balancing act, and this could easily send the whole thing toppling.

In the meantime, I announced that I had reached a significant turning point in my career as an Irish Dance mom -- I want to buy my child a wig because I'm sick of putting hair up in spikes. We have a feis this Saturday, so I will be spiking 2 heads of hair again on Friday (this works out to 5 days out of 8 that I'm messing around with dance classes, performances, hair, or dance competition here in mid-September).

Saturday's feis is obviously planned specifically to drive me crazy. First, they scheduled it in September, a hugely busy month for me. They also scheduled it at a point when my knitting will involve turning a sock heel, which, as I've said before, I can't do well at a feis. I'm almost positive the feis committee discussed these things when setting up this feis. It's beyond coincidence.

Plus they've posted the stage assignments, and, well, they're weird. All over the place they announce that they have 7 stages. And then I read the stage assignments and discover that Kid2 is dancing hornpipe on stage 8. Well. Now. That's interesting. Is she going into the Twilight Zone for this competition? (Seriously, if you read through everything you discover that stage 8 is for arts and crafts, baking, and music. I'm hoping there's some sort of dance-able area to it, and we can figure out when the heck we're supposed to go to that room to dance. I'm pretty sure other kids from our school are in the same boat, and their moms probably aren't going to be fretting about sock heels at the time, so we can maybe just follow them around.)

By the way, yes, it's possible to buy an Irish Dance outfit from American Girl (although we don't much like this year's model). And it's possible to buy one from an online vendor such as this one. Joan Hinds has a pattern in her book Sew the International Wardrobe for 18-inch Dolls, which is probably what I'd go with, since I could make it look a bit like our school's dresses. Of course, we'd still need ghillies and some sort of headband or tiara.

What's funny about all this is that we're not even very Irish.


Donna Boucher said...

I hear the Irish Dancers in this area are very similar to yours.
I hope you like it.
That the girls love it.

Cause anything this costly and time consuming must be wonderful all around :o)

Ann said...

That is why I bought wigs, too. I think I only did the hair curling once on Molly...and then bought a wig. The two younger ones can still do natural hair, thank goodness.

I enjoy your blog...I appreciate the many chuckles. Perhaps we will meet at a feis one day and we can commiserate on our time-consuming "hobby." Now, I am off to take the book quiz...