1st Place at Longs Peak Feis! I'm Officially in Open Championships!

Article featured in Diddlyi Magazine.

This was the most difficult Feis I have ever been to. In Utah it’s quite warm still and taking a jacket or sweatshirt with you anywhere is still pointless. So when I was packing Saturday morning for a day in Estes Park, Colorado I grabbed a sweatshirt to take with me just in case, but was sure I wouldn’t need it. Thank goodness I brought it!!

The Feis was held in two tents, outside at The Long’s Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival. I’d never done a Feis outside before, but figured it would be about the same. Wrong! It rained all day and there was nowhere to warm up and stretch. It was near impossible to get under the tents at times because of all the crowds trying to watch the competitors. And worst of all, one hour before it was time form me to compete, I look at the poodle socks I had thrown on earlier that morning. I wasn’t staying overnight, so I had just worn them for the day. I’ve done it many times before to help me get through customs at the airport with all carry-on luggage. My poodles were covered in mud! I had no backup, and unlike the usual vendors that will always be selling Irish supplies at a Feis, this Festival was not!

I was complaining about the problem aloud to a couple other dancers and a really sweet girl named Katie from The Wick School of Irish Dance said, “I have an extra pair if you want them!” I was so relieved! I have no clue what I would have done with my muddy poodles. I think it would have been really embarressing to say the least! Thanks so much again, Katie!

Before our competion, they gave us about ten minutes on the stage to warm-up since we had no other way. I’d tryed out the stage about three hours before on the lunch break, but my muscles were stiff again. Even after the ten minute warm-up I still didn’t feel fully stretched or ready. On top of that it was freezing and my toes were numb. So there we all were shivering smashed together, freezing under a small tent trying stay focused.

When I finally got on stage, it was not my best. But having watched all the other dancers before and after me, I realized no one was doing their best. One girl even stopped all together in the middle of her jig, and that is very rare to see in any Championship comepetition. We were all doing the best we could under these circumstances. I did my Slip Jig just as I wanted to, but my Treble Jig could have been ten times better. But I powered through it anyway, knowing I’d flown all the way here and waited all day in the rain for this.

After we finished I was so happy to be done, but it got even colder. We had to wait, shivering for another hour or so before awards. But it was worth the wait! I won first place for the second time!! Officially bumping me up to Open Championship! I flew home on a cloud and have been trying to let it sink in all week. Tina Shelley, my dance instructor, and all my friends at The Shelley School gave me big hugs and congratulations when I walked into class Tuesday. Most of which are very close to getting into Open Championships themselves.

It feels so unreal to have reached my goal! It’s an amazing feeling to accomplish something I wasn’t sure I could! Until now, all I could do was hope that my best was good enough. I worked hard practicing long hours in the studio all year. Now, having the knowledge that it’s all paid of is so wonderful, I hardly have words for it.

TAGS: 1st, awards, championships, Colorado, dance, feis, feiseanna, festival, first, goal, Hathaway, Irish, Irish Dance, Longs, Open, Peak, place, poodle, Preliminary, school, scottish, Shelley, Shelly, socks, Tina, trophy, win, won

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