Session Two (8 September - 24 November, 2001)
September 8, 2001
After about a month of no dancing, I'm back at it again! It's been three months since we had regular lessons, though.
Caitlin was there (she's Cait from now on) and so was everyone except for the older man Ken and Amber. We had a few new people and Bekah from dance camp is in my class now! Yay! Devon is now, officially, the only guy. Too bad for him, lol!
Right away Cait brought in a school dress to show us and then handed out a paper explaining the costumes and how to get them, etc.
We have a "dress pool". We pay $130 at first (not including the dress cost) and we wouldn't own the dress. Then we'd pay $35 every year for maintenance, getting a new dress, summer costumes, novelty costumes, etc. It's really very reasonable seeing as how most people have to buy an expensive school dress. We don't have to repay every time we get a new one. We also pay less if we have someone embroider the dress for us.
Now back to class.
We reviewed the reel first, as always, then we went to the light jig for a while, then we went to the single jig and reviewed the steps.
After that Cait taught us the next step in the Slip Jig and we reviewed the first step. It's really simple, but I like it!
Next, Cait taught us a simple little step because of the lack of time. It's part of a single jig and it goes: across back hop hop 123 123 step out step front heel jump toe tap whip 1234567.
For the next few minutes after class we all sat around asking questions about the school, the dresses, competitions, and, finally, hardshoe.
There is no official date, but in Cait's words, we'll be starting "soon!" Yay!
Cait says that by Deirdre's standards we're ready to go. We have to know two steps out of the four main soft shoe dances, and we do.
Jesse asked Cait if she had her hardshoes with, and Cait said she did, so we asked if she would dance for us. She said yes, of course. As if she had a choice! LOL!
We showed us a more advanced Treble Reel first, then she showed us what we'd be learning first: The Treble Jig. It was way slower that the Treble Reel, but I liked it anyway, and there are rocks in it. There may be no toe stands, but rocks, what can I say, rock! LOL! We'll be working on them a little Cait says.
One more off-topic thing. Our studio was painted and remodeled, and that was a little suprising. Plus, the floor was really rough in some places and slippery in others and we think that it's new. It probably is.
September 15, 2001
First of all, Cait wasn't here today, but Deirdre was.
I was at the fair with my ferret before I had to go to class, so I arrived there extremely early. Maybe close to twenty-five, thirty minutes early.
It's really hectic now when we go to dance because not only is there our class, but a beginning ballet class in the practice room next to the main room where we are. It's very, shall we say, strange.
As I walked up the stairs holding my ghillies, this little girl and her mom and grandma came out of the car and walked up the stairs to the studio with me behind them, and as I walked I heard the little girl ask her grandma if "that girl is in my class." I almost laughed, but I didn't.
As I finished getting ready and walked out to the viewing window, I noticed that there is a beginning class before ours, only the kids are younger.
After a while, Devon came with his friend, who I believe has been to watch him before, although I'm not completely sure. Next Jesse came. Alone. That was unusual. Besides having her grandma there, she was alone. Normally Brenna and Erin, her two best friends, I assume, are with her. They came just after Alex and Johnathan walked in. If you've read the dance camp journal, you'd know who they were, but in case you haven't, they went to camp with me. Pretty simple.
They came to talk to Deirdre, not to be in my class. Oh well.
Amy came after that, then finally Erin and Brenna came, followed by everyone else. And guess what...
Ken, the older man, is back, although he doesn't get in our way as much. For some reason I run into people less, but we have the largest class out of all of them. That's good.
So we stretched. I was really sore from PE the previous Thursday, so the Ballet Sit-Ups hurt a lot! We did a few of those then finished stretching and began going across the room doing warm-ups.
We worked on quivers, the swivel step (the one where you weave your ankles while going backwards), rocks, and eventually double cuts.
We began with the reel, as usual, and worked on the Point Point step a lot, then we moved on because Deirdre wanted to teach us a new Slip Jig.
There were two little girls in our class who have been doing Irish dance for a long time, but are going to a feis on Wednesday, and needed to practice. They went off doing lots of different dances. But I recognized the Down Out In Reel and part of our Slip Jig, although their lead round has doubles cuts where ours doesn't.
We then started on the Single Jig, but we didn't review the new step that we learned last week because Deirdre was bound and determined to get us to the new Slip Jig.
Next we worked on the Light Jig and Isolated and Drilled (Deirdre's thing) the transition from right foot to left over and over even though Amy, Devon and I had it down pat (well, so did the little girls). After that I taught myself the last step while watching one of the little girls do it.
After that we worked on what we know of the Slip Jig, but we didn't review the new step we learned. We just worked on the first step.
Finally, Deirdre began on the new Slip Jig! The first step already has trickier stuff in it. It goes like this: Hop 123 double cut 2345 switch and point hop back in switch out switch whip2345.
I know that I got most of the lingo wrong, but I got the gist of it down so that I can review it in the future when I have forgotten it.
So, after reviewing it over and over, we were finally done with class. We are supposed to get another paper about costuming.
At the end, one of the little girls put on her hardshoes to review her Treble Jig, and Jessie, Brenna, Erin and I stayed to watch her do it once. As we left she started on her Hornpipe.
September 22, 2001
Deirdre AND Cait was here today! That was a rather new experience. You see, Cait's got in an minor car accident (the guy was driving on the wrong side of their dirt road), and so Deirdre decided to drive her over.
We started off reviewing our new reel? Or jig? I'm not entirely sure what the correct timing or name of it is, but all I know is that it contains lots of the more difficult softshoe steps. Like ::gasp:: butterflies! Although we won't be doing butterflies quite yet. Now it's just a switch at the end.
Since the dance is so dang confusing, I have to write it down here.
I think that Cait called it the Summer Reel...or maybe jig? I dunno, but here it is:
Hop 123 double cut2345 switch and point kick back out in whip2345 whip and turn and hop pull and leap over in front behind in front hop tip hop tip hop tip kick back swivel swivel swivel swivel switch.
I don't really even remember the steps and counts correctly.
So after spending a great deal of time on that, we moved to the reel, doing it once, then we moved onto the single jig, then the light jig, and then we stopped to do some figure dancing! Only Deirdre, Cait (obviously), Bekah, Kelli and myself know the 6 hand reel, so we did it for the class! It was amazing! I still remember the whole thing! :)
There will be figure dance classes and choreography classes one Saturday every month starting in October (right after my classes, actually) so that we can start to perform this fall! We also are brainstorming some fundraisers for people who can't afford dresses, but still want to perform.
We are also brainstorming (well, the girls in my class) about how to save up for the trip to Ireland next March. Deirdre says you have to be at least fourteen and will the dancers for three years, but Deirdre said it's because the kids in Kettle Falls (where the main studio is) all start young. We may be the exceptions, and we may get to go! Fifteen kids go each year, and they pay for their own plane ticket, but the school pays for the rest because they safe up for this all year long, every year! Deirdre says they "have a lot of money in the troupe account in the bank" for the trip! :)
According to Deirdre, they stay in hostiles (really big old, old, old mansions!) and do their own cooking. We can only bring one tiny backpack, so we can't bring many clothes. So, in Deirdre's words, we'll be dressing in "funky clothes" like the Irish kids. They'll also be taking lessons there, but not performing. They take really long horseback rides, and go to the beach and have a ball!
Jesse, Brenna, Erin, Kelli and I think it sounds absolutely amazing, and we really, really, really want to go, but we don't know enough yet.
We'll be ordering costumes soon, as well!
We didn't work on the slip jig today, but oh well!
September 29, 2001
Our class was huge today! There were two new guys. Both of them went to dance camp. Johnathan and Alex! Yes, the Johnathan and Alex! They visited a couple lessons ago, but they didn't stay. There were a lot of people absent from class today, yet there were still eleven people there! We were missing about four people or more.
Cait gave us some exciting news! We are going to start hardshoe NEXT WEEK! Yay! Cait went over all of the dances and steps so that she could see if we were ready, and we are!
We warmed up with the usual stretches, then when we lined up to do threes across the room, Cait told us to kick our butts at the last minute so that it would look as if we were floating in the air (ie. we did bird leaps). It was really easy and fun!
The first thing we did after that, was watch the boys do the reel step that Logan (Cait's brother) taught them at dance camp. They barely remembered much, so we soon moved on.
We worked on the reel next, going over the whole thing so that Cait could evaluate us for hardshoe.
After that we did the light jig, because everyone seemed to be having some trouble with it, then we moved on to the single jig.
We also went over the new steps we learned last week. I have to re-type them so that they make more sense.
The first one is a slip jig. It goes: Hop 123 double cut 2345 switch point kick back out in whip2345 whip front hop back and leap over back front back hop tip hop tip hop tip and swivel swivel swivel swivel swivel butterfly.
The next one is a single jig step. It goes: Accross back hop hop 123 123 step out step front hop heel jump toe whip234567.
Then there was the new slip jig step that goes: Hop 123 hop 123 whip2345 turn2345 switch switch step closed hop2345 long step hop hop 123.
I hope we learn the last steps to the single jig and light jig soon!
September 6, 2001
Class was two-and-a-half hours long because we had a special figure/performance choreography class directly after our regular class, so I was really tired and sore.
First of all, we stretched, as always, but we added new ones we hadn't done before. One was painful, and I think we'll all know why. We began with the usual ballet sit-ups, alphabet and pull back, but then Cait added another stretch: SPLIT STRETCHES!
We are going to be working on being able to do the splits now so that our threes can be high and a lot like the Trinity Dancers'.
We also began to work on flutters. They are easy yet hard. I can't get them to look right. I don't use my thighs to flutter my legs, which I should be doing. Instead I go out at the knees, and it ends up looking sloppy. But it's okay, because we are just practicing it.
After finishing the threes across the room, Cait said that we would speed through the dances and work on hardshoe! YAY!
We went over the reel first, then the single jig, which we added the Roberts step to.
The Roberts step is: Across back hop hop 123 123 step out step front jump heel hit toe whip23467.
We then worked on the slip jig and added the second step to it.
The second step goes: Hop 123 hop 123 whip2345 turn2345 switch switch step closed hop2345 long step hop hop 123.
After that, we finally began on hardshoe!
Cait got hers on (we don't have any yet), and we lined up. We practiced simple steps like brushes, trebles and such, then we began on the treble reel.
It was really weird to do without hardshoes or tap shoes on, but we managed.
The first step of the treble reel goes like this: Slam step brush back hop back slam step brush back hop back slam step brush back hop back hop back brush back hop back brush back switch whip slam brush back and toe heel step brush back hop back slam step brush back hop back slam step brush back hop back brush back hop back brush back hop back brush back.
I probably got the lingo all wrong, but oh well. I'll fix it when I remember it right.
After that, our class ended and the figure/performance choreography class began.
Tons of kids came. Including Sara, Alex, Johnathan, Rachael and my neighbor, Lauren.
Deirdre came and helped Cait split the campers and those who hadn't gone to camp, up.
We started with the 6hand, then Deirdre filed us into the smaller practice room to learn the 9hand.
It was really complicated! We almost killed everyone in the pass through, but it was hilarious!
The 9hand goes like this (or something like this.): Whip forward23 and forward23 and forward23 and forward23 and forwarf23 and forward23 and forward23, and forward23 123 223 323 423 and turn23 623 turn23 823 jump234567 back23 back23 jump234567 front hands back hands and 123 223 323 423 523 623 723 823 123 223 around23 around23 take hands23 and 223 123 223 323 423 523 623 723 and turn23 123 223 323 423 523 623 723 823.
After that, we watched the first-timers do their 6hand, then we demonstrated our horrible 9hand, but we had a great time doing that.
Once we had finished that, we did 2hand reels. I barely remembered it. I had to be the 'boy', and Erin was my partner. She had never done it at all, and I had never been the 'boy' before, so it was really funny.
After finishing the 2hand, we had a cool down.
As we rested and did pull back, Deirdre taught us "I'll Tell Me Ma." It's a darn awesome song!
I'll Tell Me Ma goes like this: I'll tell me ma when I get home, the boys won't leave the girls alone. They pull our hair and steal our comb, but it doesn't matter 'til we come home. She is handsome she is pretty, she's the belle of Belfast City! She's courting 1, 2, 3, someone tell me who is she? (Repeat).
I probably messed the words up, but we'll be getting a copy of it.
After class was over, my mom talked to Cait about hardshoes. Cait said we don't need them for about two months, but we can get them. But then it happened: Cait said I'm at the top of my class! YAY!
After class, while practicing my treble reel in Dr. Martins sandles, I broke my big toenail in half. Maybe I won't do that anymore.
October 13, 2001
We began class with stretches, as usual. We worked on everything except for rocks, flutters, and splits.
We began class with the new slip jig instead of the reel. We worked on it over and over and over and over. That was driving me crazy after a while. Then we learned butterflies! I can not do them at all! My toes don't stay touching, and my feet do not stay flat, so it looks ridiculous when I attempt to do one.
After spending some time on that, we moved on to the reel, then the single jig, so that Cait could go over the step of the treble reel.
But about half-way through the single jig, she decided to do either figure dancing or hardshoe. I wanted to do hardshoe because I've done figure dancing a TON in the past few months, and it's getting...old.
But, we still did figure dancing. We did the 6hand, which I used to suck at when we first learned it, but now I'm okay!
I was very tired and thirsty after class. We didn't get hardshoes, and my mom and I didn't go up to Colville, because Deirdre called and said that Cait could bring some down with her and do a fitting. She'd bring some used ones as well as new ones, to keep the prices down, and to see if it would fit better.
The only store around here that stocks Irish dance stuff is in Colville, which is about two hours north of here. They are constantly sold out of everything because they have trouble getting things from Ireland. They are also not a dance store, but a regular shoe store, so they don't completely specialize in Pacellis and Rutherfords. They were sold out of poodle socks in my size at the feis, and when we went to the shop before dance camp.
October 20, 2001
No one was here! Well, almost no one. Only five people showed up! It was really empty, but we got way more attention on steps and such.
We began with stretches, and usual. We worked on diddydums (flutters), rocks, swivels, quivers, double cuts (which we now do instead of hops during warm-ups), and later on, butterflies.
Instead of doing our reel in the normal fashion, we learned some show choreography for it. We paired up and did the lead 'round, side down, 123 point kick back, and for point point we'd wait until the last pair was done before starting and then using our hands on the second 123.
We really didn't do very well, but it was a fun way to go over the reel. I was less bored with it.
Next, we worked on the slip jig. We started with the new step, and after going over it again and again, we put it to music. Then we added it to the first slip jig step.
I pushed myself really hard on the slip jig, and I was really winded after I finished.
I really can't do the transition into the new step very well.
We worked on it for so long, we didn't even go over anything else.
After class, we did the show choreography again, then did a cool down, and left.
Cait was supposed to bring hardshoes down, but she didn't.
October 27, 2001
Well, the first thing we did was try on hardshoes!
Of course they were all too big for us, so no one got to buy them. After doing a half-hour fitting, we worked on the treble reel.
There was a new floor being installed. It smelled really bad, and only 3/4 were installed.
Why not finish it all?
Well, after working on the treble reel, we did the new slip jig, then we worked on the show choreography for the reel.
Everyone and more was here today.
After class, we got a notice that said the fabric for the dresses was found!
We are going to be doing dress fittings ASAP!
Because of the hardshoe dilemma, Johnathan's mom offered to bring his old shoes next week. I passed.
We went up to Colville and bought a pair of Pacelli Super-Flexis, anyway.
November 3, 2001
It was the figure dance class again, so we had to dance for two-and-a-half hours!
Deirdre and Cait was here for the regular lesson. We started with stretches, after stretches, after stretches, after stretches, after stretches!
We worked on rocks, quivers, double cuts, hops, threes (which are now no longer 123s, but kick step lifts!), butterflies, diddydums (flutters) and swivels.
After a half-hour, we started on the reel, but we did it show style! We used the performance music (which is the best music ever!) as well.
We lined up "off stage" and got in groups of three and four.
We each did the lead round and side down on left and right foot, then did threes "offstage". Then, for the last step, we all gathered on stage as Devon did his solo step, and took hands at the second three, then bowed. It was awesome!
We kept travelling too much on the sevens, so Deirdre showed us, and Cait traveled on accident. It was really funny.
After about a hundred tries, we finally got it, and moved on to the light jig, then the slip jig.
We never learned the second step on the left foot, so when Cait went off into the left foot, a lot of us were confused. But I watched and soon got the hang of it, though I never did it in class.
After the first half of class ended, we started the figure dance classes.
I guess I didn't need to bring my hardshoes.
Logan came for the figure dance class.
We started on the 6hand (which I now know perfectly, it seems.), then we re-re-re-learned the 3hand, and had a little performance type thing, then we tried to do the 9hand, but it didn't work very well.
Our school dress material should be here next week, and I paid my money for it.
Deirdre said we'll be performing in March sometime! Probably for Saint Patrick's Day.
November 10, 2001
Started class with the usual half hour of stretches. Stretches used to last about ten minutes, now, since we've added more and more, it gets longer and longer, leaving less time for dancing.
We did the usual stuff. Rocks, double cuts, quivers, swivels, threes (kick step lefts), butterflies, hops, and so on.
Sara from camp was with us, as well, but Devon wasn't. Of course.
We began with the Slip Jig. Sarah and I were assigned some new complicated steps to switch out the old ones. Now we do: butterfly butterfly step closed double cut2345. We don't switch or hop anymore. It's all butterflies and double cuts now.
After the Slip Jig, we started on the reel. We did the performance choreography, but I'm getting so tired of the reel, it's driving me insane! Cait told us we'd do hardshoe at the end of class, but we did the reel instead.
I want to compete! I want to compete! Will I ever compete? I want to start so I can get a new reel!
After class ended, Claire came (Cait's sister).
When I was changing shoes, my mom talked to Cait about the dresses, and Cait said that the bodices are been sewn, and fittings are ASAP!
Also, we'll be taking embroidery classes so we can sew the knotwork onto our sashes! Yikes!
It gives a personal touch to our dresses, though.
November 17, 2001
Claire was here to teach today, and she was more prepared this time, so it was more enjoyable.
It was also more enjoyable because we only spent about five minutes on stretches because everyone came late.
We started with hardshoe today. We got in three lines to do the first step, then we did the left foot as well.
Only four people have hardshoes, but it was still loud.
After working on the treble reel, we learned the first step of the treble jig!
We worked on it for about ten minutes, before switching shoes.
It was awesome! Claire actually didn't want to do the lead round or the side down, which was great, because I'm so deathly tired of them.
So we just worked on Marble Step and Point-Point, before switching to the light jig, which we haven't worked on forever!
Then we worked on the single jig a couple times, and Roberts Step, before class ended.
There will be dress-fittings really soon! It's awesome! I've already paid for mine, so I'm ready to get them.
This session ends soon, and then we only have two classes in December because of this and that.
November 24, 2001
We started class off in the regular room. The main room. But it was weird when I arrived because I entered the dressing room and there was all of these ballet dancers in there. They got really confused that I was there (and Amy as well), and they kept talking amongst themselves that the "Celtic" dancers don't have class today.
One of them finally asked me if I had class, and I said yes.
So I walked into the studio with my hardshoes in hand, and we were all ready to start, when suddenly Cait said we had to switch rooms into the tiny tiny practice room.
We squeezed in with about eight people. Suddenly, more and more people came, and two people that don't even come to class that much came. We were so squeezed in it was painful.
We almost did the dances feis-style, but then Cait decided not to. Instead we got to go all over the room doing sevens sideways and backwards, so that we could use the space.
Cait decided to teach us a new reel.
It's a lot harder than the first one, but I like it a lot!
It goes: Down up up and down hop23 leap over23 turn234567 point kick back point down down 123 step hop back.
We really wanted to do hardshoe, but Cait forgot her hardshoes!
So we worked on the light jig and added the last step to it.
December 8, 2001
I arrived to the studio fairly early and watched the little kids dance until it was time for us to start.
The first thing we did (even before stretching) was get our embroidering packets for our school dresses. We had fittings for school dresses.
We are to embroider Celtic knotwork on the collar and sash/belt, and it will be placed on the dress.
We started out class with the usual million-minute stretch-a-thon in which we did threes (which we messed up completely because Cait is now having us "hesitate" in the air, so we are basically doing Birds), but we were laughing very hard because Amy, who takes tap, pointe and lyrical, isn't really used to not using her arms, so she tries to get herself up to hesitate but pushing her arms up into the air. We laughed.
I think it'll be a while before we are doing any Bird Leaping that is anywhere near half-way Trinity.
Which brings me to an awesome subject! Cait applied for the Trinity Irish Dance Troupe (yes, THAT Trinity Irish Dance Troupe) and they were very impressed with her tape, and the only thing keeping her from getting into the troupe is the fact that they are not taking new members right now.
So, with threes done, we started the new reel step we learned. Cait taught us the left foot, and then we tried it to music.
We used our usual slow music, then it was faster, then faster, then full speed! And the amazing thing is that I actually did it perfect (to me) to the full speed! I did the weird turn really fast, and still managed to tackle the left foot and do surprisingly well!
We stopped with soft shoe there and switched to hardshoe, but before we are able to do so, Cait had Rebecca and I try the reel we learned at dance camp. You know, Down Out In Reel? Well, I really sucked at that, but we looked cool because we were the only two who knew it.
So, we got on our hardshoes, and Cait casually mentioned we might learn the Hornpipe.
So, we started the Treble Jig, and eventually got it to music, which I did poorly in because I had no clue what the beat was as soon as we got past the rocks.
In the middle of that, Logan came.
We formed lines like we did the Claire, and worked on the treble reel. We looked really cool.
After that, regular class ended, and Figures began!
Deirdre began taking people back for fittings.
The class was divided into to main groups. One was the little kids, and they went into the small room to do the 4hand, and we stayed in the main room and learned a choreography piece.
It's very tricky to do it right and make it look pristine, but we're working on it.
I got called back to do a fitting, and the women who were measuring made quite a big deal over my broad back. That's the Scottish in me.
Deirdre found a dress and I tried it on. It looked a little big large to me, but Deirdre said that the only thing wrong with it was that the waist was too long.
She gave the ladies a size to check for, so that we could get my dress.
Turns out the dresses are already made. They are going to be altered for us, and new embroidery applied.
After that we worked on the choreography piece for a little while more. Then we took a break, before starting again.
December 15, 2001
I thought I got there very late, because people were already in the room, but the little kids were still there too, so I was really confused.
So, I got my shoes on, and ran into the room. Turns out class wasn't in yet, so I wasn't late.
We did the usual warm-ups like rocks, swivels, double cuts (which I just figured out how to do nicely after I left the studio), hops, threes (kick step 23s :) ), quivers, and those fun curl-downs and ballet sit-ups (:P).
Since this was our last day until January, Cait wanted us to go over everything we'd learned so far.
So we started with the old Reel and did leadround, sidedown, marble step, and point point, then we did the new Reel, down up up.
Next, we worked on the Light Jig and did the leadround, Kerry's step and jump out.
After that we did the Single jig, and did hop and hit, hop step step, and Roberts step.
We finally moved onto the Slip Jig, and did switch switch (I decided not do to butterflies and double cuts in it, as they are out of my league), hop 123, but we didn't do the new Slip Jig.
After that, we switched to hardshoes, and went over the Treble Reel(which we are doing quite well at) then we put it to music, then full speed music (just for kicks - no pun intended), then back to slow music.
After that, we did the Treble Jig, and tried it a few times before putting it to music (I'm still rather unsure of the beat, but I'm getting a little better than last time), then we tried it without music.
Cait said that some of us may have our school dresses in January.
They are beginning the alterations.