Two Weeks of Run-thru Practice to Prepare for Longs Peak Feis

Article featured in Diddlyi Magazine.
09.03.09

I’m down to less that two weeks before my next Feis in Colorado. That means I’ll be focusing on the sequence of my steps rather than perfecting the movements. In my last blog I explained my little stage fright problem. Feiseanna can cause me to have a major freeze up in front of the judges if I don’t prepare.

Last April I came up with a new form of practice that I call a run-thru. I dance each of my three dances four times through a peice. Sounds crazy, right? Actually I hardly break a sweat, and that’s the point. The first three times I run Treble Jig for example, I don’t dance it all out. I only softly dance the steps using about 10% of my energy. I keep full posture and move the steps just as far as they should go, but no butt-kicks, high leaps or hard stomping.

Also, as I go through the dance 3 times, I make each run-thru face a different direction of the studio. This is a distraction that prepares my mind for unexpected distractions when I get before the judges. It also helps me get used to NOT seeing myself in the mirror. Then, once I’ve run-thru the dance three times, on the fourth time I dance the steps all out, giving 100%, facing the mirror.

The point of all this is to lock the sequence of steps in each dance from beginning to end in my mind so when I get in front of the judges and my mind freezes up for a second or two, my body takes over and keeps the dance going.

This has helped me dramatically in the past 6 months. In fact the first Feis I went to after starting this new run-thru practice, I won 1st place in Preliminary Championship at Feile Denver for the first time. So this is the type of practice I’ll be doing as much as possible for the next week and a half to get myself ready for Longs Peak Feis.

TAGS: prepare, practice, longs, peak, feis, open, championship, preliminary, competition, irish, dance, dancing, studio

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