(regional championships of Irish dancing) . . . Competition was supposed to be 35 minutes from home, but since Illinois' covid restrictions were too tight, they bumped them to Indianapolis. So, we drove 3 hours and paid for a hotel. Our makeup and hair lady decided the day before that she wasn't going to go. Mini tried to do Curly's makeup. Epic fail. Mary, Curly's teacher, begged people from Ireland to do her hair and makeup. Day saved. He even took pity on us and asked Curly to showcase one of his new wigs, for free. Curly puked between rounds for the first (but not the last) time ever, but went on to dance a flawless slip jig. A clueless judge, who we suspect was called to judge as a last minute sub for a judge who opted out due to covid, placed Curly 44th or something in that fabulous round, which brought her scores down really low. Poor Curly. All of her other scores were in the top ten range. She was pleased with 9th place, but we felt she'd been robbed of the podium. *sigh*
This year: the competition WAS 35 minutes away. Hooray. I realized very recently that her age group was going to dance on Friday. Louder HOORAY. Her age always danced on Sunday and that was always a pain. Tough to recover and be ready for work/school the next day. She's older now, and the older girls dance on Friday. Saturday is for ceili teams, which our school doesn't do because we are too small. I'm good with one.less.thing. We did teams at former bigger schools, and they were fun but holy time suck.
Not on my radar: With all the distractions this fall, I forgot to schedule a hair/wig appointment and only set up one private dancing lesson. Normally Curly would have a weekly private for 6-8 weeks leading up to a big competition. Curly insisted that she didn't want to do any other private lessons. I reached out to the lady who had baled at the last minute last year and she said she was holding a spot for us. Curly had to be at the venue for hair and wig at 6 am on Friday. She would dance at 8 am.
More freebies: The hair lady informed us mid-wig/makeup that she wouldn't be charging us for the appointment. She still felt bad after backing out so last minute in '00 and she said I'd given her a deposit back then to hold the spot. Plus, she told us that we are some of her favorites. What? I'm trying to think how we could've made a great impression on her when we met her a few times over the last few years at crazy early times for these 30 minute hair/wig appointments. Was it my chipper morning self? Not possible. Was it Curly's wincing when the woman stuck 50 bobby pins in her head? Doubtful. At any rate, that was a pleasant surprise.
The lineup: There's always a random number chosen for each of the 3 rounds. In Indianapolis and again in Arizona, she had to dance fairly early in the first round. She detests this. Feels rushed. She'd rather observe some of her competitors and then get psyched to 'kick' some butt. Friday she danced about middle of the pack. Perfect.
Less prepared than ever: Curly admitted that this was the least amount of prep she'd ever done, but the best she's ever danced. I tend to agree. She rolled her ankle in early September and then again in late October. She hadn't danced in proper dance shoes until a few weeks ago. She'd been wearing practice shoes, which look and feel a bit more like sneakers. Because her ankle was still weak, she had to change the 'rock' parts of all three rounds. Bummer, because that's a tough move that impresses judges, if you can pull it off (which she usually can - don't ask me how, because I'm tall too and I'd lose my balance, guaranteed). Think of a rock like standing on your tip toes with your feet tucked tight together and then shifting your weight back and forth a few times while keeping your legs perfectly straight. Falling 'out of a rock' is a no-no, points off, etc.
Did I mention: she danced AMAZING? WITH NO PUKING?
The awards: I was so happy they were finally announcing who won, that I wasn't all that nervous. They first announce the top 10 and then set them aside like good china. I'd told Curly that no matter what, she should remember that she danced amazing. I was thrilled that she made the top 10, it's a feat out of 84 girls. I admit, I really didn't want her to be 9th again though. As they announced each competitor, I was in awe. I was also in tears. It was a moment. We knew before anyone even danced that the girl that took 1st would take first again this year. Untouchable. The rest of the placements were a little more iffy, but we had our guesses. Curly beat some of the girls that we consider really hard to beat. She's simply over the moon.
I won't make you wait till tomorrow, if you want to know what place Curly took you can watch the awards clip below. The announcers begin by placing the last place (they only place the top half of the dancers and those girls perform the 3rd round before the judges decide). There were about 84 competitors, so they started at 42nd place, but this video starts when they get to the awards for the top ten. Curly is the tallest one up there, of course. Dark green dress on the far right. Blond wig. (yes, if you listen you CAN hear her real name, ack - who cares).