Monday, December 1, 2008

Oireachtas Rince na hEorpa

So, for all those not involved in the crazy world of Irish Dance I am going to write a very brief explanation of the feis Sarah competed at, as best as i understand it. I learn something new every time she dances, so this is really just my best guess at the moment.. In the European league (?) she dances at there are 4 levels: beginner, primary, intermediate, and open. In the lower categories there are 5 main dances you compete in. You keep dancing in these dances until you "place out" of them. In order to place out you have to achieve 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place with at least 11 dancers competing. Once you place out then you don't have to dance that dance at competition anymore (at the beginner and primary levels at least, which is where Sarah is dancing right now). You can dance the primary and beginner level at the same time and if you place out at the primary level it automatically places you out at the beginning level (if you haven't already). There is also a Traditional and a Trophy dance, team competitions, and other things I am forgetting.
Anyway, Sarah went with 3 goals, she wanted to place out of her beginner reel, her beginner traditional or trophy, and at least 1 primary. Well, she made at least 2 of those goals and then some, even taking FIRST PLACE in one of her PRIMARY dances! The whole school did very well and some of our dancers even qualified for the World competition in Philadelphia in 2009!!

I have a ton of pictures, and uploaded a lot of them to my facebook page. Sarah will also update her blog with a more comprehensive explanation of exactly how she did. Here is just a sampling.
Some of the dancers that were staying at the Holiday Inn in Leiden on Friday night.
Saturday morning Mary gives some last minute tips and advice to the students competing in the first dances. I love these pictures because of the look on Leisha's face. Mary has had a tough year with her health and we are so glad she is doing so great now. We were all so happy to have her back with us and at this feis, and Leisha's face just says it all. I also love the aerial shot with all the curly headed wigs.It was really neat for Sarah to have her Dad come and watch some of the feis. He didn't stay the whole time because it's pretty boring with lots of waiting around. He took the non-dancers back to the hotel to swim and play. He did get to see her dance, and he stayed for the first set of results and watched her take 2nd place in her easy reel, one of her last beginner dances that she needed to place out of.Sarah did really well. She placed in almost every dance she competed in, placing out of at least 4 of them. I have a TON of pictures - but here she is taking second in her beginner easy reel and FIRST (!!!) in her Primary slip jig. She competed against dancers from schools in Italy, Austria, France, Holland, and Germany to name a few.On Sunday it was Hannah's turn to compete. She dances in the next level age group, so her dances were the second day. Sarah had one dance with her - a 2 hand reel. You can not take any photographs of the actual competition, but I snapped some shots while they were practicing in the basement, with Mary looking on giving some last minute tips. This is devouring pizza on the ride home Sunday night. We all drove together in the Briggs big van. It was a great time, and we are so proud of all the dancers, especially Sarah!
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