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July 25, 2017

at last, the set

I wasn't surprised that Curly's number was called as a recalled dancer.  Having said that, it's never a sure thing.  My gut filled with butterflies as the woman read thru the numbers, just in case this was going to be one of those surprise fail-to-recall days.  We celebrated her success with a big hug.  A few minutes later her teacher brought her into the hall to review the step she would dance in the last round of Irish Dancing National Championships.

This next round would include a hard shoe dance, called a set dance.  In the first two rounds the dancers shared the stage with other dancers.  This time thru, they wouldn't share the spotlight.  Knowing that this last performance would be a huge focus for the judges, Curly's teacher, Cara Truly, gave Curly a very advanced, complicated set dance.  It was called 'the White Blanket.'  

So . . . like I stated in a previous post, I rarely write about Irish dancing because there is just so much 'splaining to do.  Here's a bit more background on our dancing experience . . .

Our dancing teacher's real name is not Cara Truly.  The word 'Cara' in Gaelic means 'friend'.  I adjusted her name for my blog, because I felt that it was a good fit.

Some or most of my kids have Irish danced for 8 years.  There was a time when I had 5 dancers.  Laddie is our only kid who never Irish danced.  Although switching dancing schools is frowned upon and a difficult road to navigate, we are on our third school.  I have nicknamed our dancing teacher Cara for my blog, because she is a woman who:
     doesn't play favorites,
     doesn't beat around the bush,
     doesn't belittle children,
     doesn't resort to verbal abuse,
     and doesn't cater strictly to parents with deep pockets.
Unfortunately, the other two schools we danced for prior to our current school utilized every one of these awful tactics.  So I will refer to our current, wonderful teacher with the blog name of Cara Truly.  
Yes, this ACTUALLY happened.  A teacher said this exact thing to my three young dancers.  Curly was only 7.  My kids find mean spirited losers far from motivating.  Thus, the new dance school. 

Back in January when Curly began preparing for Nationals, I remember her coming home from a dance class brimming with excitement.  She was getting an awesome set dance. When I came to pick the girls up after the next class, Cara invited me into the studio.  She asked if I had a minute to watch Curly show off her new set.  Another classmate, Emily, who is Curly's age, was pouting because she wanted to be given permission to do the same set as Curly.  Cara knew that Emily couldn't handle it - it was too complicated.  I watched as Curly danced the White Blanket alongside a senior in high school . . . one of the school's most amazing dancers.  When the music stopped, everyone congratulated Curly on how well she was catching on to the new step.

This is a video of Curly dancing part of her White Blanket set just hours before we boarded the plane for New Orleans.  I happened to capture this video of her practice session, because video during competition is not allowed for fear idiot people would video other schools' steps and adapt them to their own school version.   I'm telling you, I've opened Pandora's box sharing some of the Irish dancing nonsense with you.  Just when you thought the world was a normal, rainbow-filled, well-adjusted place to co-exist with other people and teach children about their cultural heritage.  Don't get me started on leg tanning, make-up, and wigs . . . because Irish people are so well known for their deep tans. 

Now that Curly had earned a recall in her under 10 competition, she would get the opportunity to dance her amazing set.  Entire private lessons were dedicated to fine-tuning this set.  I tried to breathe as I forced my young, focused dancer to take a swig of water.  I stood by as Mini taped her shoes in preparations for the stage.  The end was in sight.  I looked forward to reclaiming my nervous system.  With any luck, my sleep patterns would return to normal.  

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