Today was our last day of intensive Nationals prep. I leave for Montreal in 6 days, compete in 7. From here on out, it’s just drilling problem areas, focusing on stage presence, and getting into competition mentality. We’ve put in the work, now all that’s left is to show it off.
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever worked harder for a competition than I have in the past month. There were so many times I wanted to quit, when I felt like I mentally and physically couldn’t take it anymore. I had a breakdown in class on Tuesday and had to go into the back room and cry for about 10 minutes. The past month has been quite a journey, with studio rehearsal three times a week, trying to get in at least an hour of practice on off days, and cross training, while simultaneously balancing two jobs and a summer class.
But we made it. Mostly in one piece. My foot (yes, THAT foot) has been acting up the last week, but it helps to remind myself that I shouldn’t even have made it this far, and that each rehearsal is truly a blessing. Shattered sesamoids don’t usually preface a world qualification, but I’m trying my hardest to make it happen.
It may not happen next week, but I do think I’ve got a shot at the recall. Which, again, is a place that I never could have imagined being in even a year ago. My first time at Nationals in 2012 I got 75th out of 82 and I thought I was lucky to even have done that much. But I’ve improved so much since then, and I think switching schools has had a lot to do with that. My TCRG here in Tulsa is one of the most caring, motivational, and aggressive teachers I’ve ever have. Actually, most aggressive for sure. Smaller class sizes make for lots more stamina drills! But she’s so great about forcing us to push ourselves with just the right combination of yelling and cheering. Honestly I feel like I’ve never been in better shape.
And have I mentioned how much I love my steps that I’m doing? There’s so much pointe work and my toes have the skin (or lack thereof) to prove it, and the rhythms are so nice and they all travel so well which is great for a tall dancer and all I want is to do them justice…
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m just happy to have made it this far, to still be able to do something (WELL, even!) that gives me so much inner joy. I’m dancing the best I ever have. If (when?) I recall, I’m gonna cry so hard. Doing my third round, I don’t imagine there will ever have been a bigger smile on my face.
But the journey isn’t over yet—still have to fight through my first two rounds for that spot. Nothing is promised in Irish dancing. You can only give yourself the best chance possible through hard work in the weeks and months leading up to the Day. And I think I’ve done that. We shall see.
I love Irish dancing.