Monday, November 30, 2009

Oireachtas Rince na h-Eorope - Bremen, Germany 2009

There are 4 levels to compete in: Beginner, Primary, Intermediate, and Open/Championship. You start out as a beginner and primary dancing 4 light shoe dances and 2 heavy shoe dances plus a traditional set and trophy dance. In order to place out of the first 6 dances you must have at least 6 dancers in the competition (then the first place winner will "place out" of that dance) - If there are 11 or more dancers then the first 3 places will place out. These dances are done to the same music but each dance is unique to the school. The traditional set dance is "won" the same way, but all dancers dance a choice of 6 dances that have the same steps. The trophy dance is any step from the first 6 dances but you must place FIRST regardless of the number of dancers to place out of this dance. During these first two levels of competition you wear a class costume (for Sarah it is the NEON green class dress).
Intermediate Grade competitions are a bit different in that you have to place first in the competition, and there aren't as many dances to compete in. Also, you can stay at the Intermediate level for several years before moving up. (you can only win once per calendar year though) Many teachers require their dancers to win the competition 2 or 3 times before moving them up to the Open-Championship level. A lot of the dancers that compete in the Open/Championship level also compete at the Intermediate level as well. For these competitions you may wear a solo dress. These dresses range depending on the years style. They are colorful, sparkley, extravagant, and EXPENSIVE!
Sarah went to this feis to dance ALL the Intermediate dances for the first time, but she still had 3 Primary dances that she hadn't placed out of yet. She only had those 3 dances to catch the judges eye and earn a place. She SWEPT the Primaries with a hat trick of THREE first places, including first place in the trophy competition. She also took home two medals for fourth place and one for fifth place at the Intermediate level which is really great for her first time, and considering that many of the 10 - 13 girls (all aged 13 - 15 years old) she competed against were also there to compete in the qualifiers for the World Championships!!! We are so proud of Sarah and her accomplishments at this feis, she dances remarkably well! All her friends placed well and surprised themselves with big wins, too, so it was a HUGE success!
Sarah is now OFFICIALLY an Intermediate dancer having no beginner or primary dances to place out of anymore. She will stay in the Intermediate Grade for at least 2 years trying to earn those first places before she moves up again. It will be a lot of hard work and dedication, but Sarah is passionate about this sport!

Sarah and Hannah on Saturday. They only had team dances this day, so they were relaxed and happy. Their solo competitions didn't take place until Sunday.
Sarah with her trophies from the Primary competition
Sarah taking FOURTH place in her Intermediate Hornpipe. SHe went there with a goal of placing in at least ONE intermediate dance (and by placing I mean she would have been happy with 7th or 8th place), but she surprised herself and is so pleased!

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