Friday, June 7, 2013

Irish Dancers

This winter Elena and Clara started taking Irish Dance lessons.  They have been telling us for at least a year that they wanted to start these lessons, and we are a bit embarrassed to say that we didn't take it seriously.  We thought it would be a passing desire.  But they have been persistent in their desire, and so they began in January.

In March the had their first set of performances.  They are very in demand for St. Patrick's day, and so it was quite an initiation for us in dance performing.  All day the Friday before St. Patrick's day we went from school to school performing for other children.  Then Saturday and Sunday was full of performances in parades and nursing homes.  These are a few shots that are very representative of the experience.

All of the dancers are required to have "traditional" irish dancing hair, which is ringlets.  Since neither of our girls have that hair naturally we tried two methods to get them to that point.  The first day we used these updated versions of rag curlers.  They worked okay, but not great.
They also required the girls to sleep like this - with towels over their wrapped up hair.  The novelty of that wore off after the first night - so after that we relied on a curling iron and hair spray.
The first morning was pretty cold - this is very early in the morning before the first elementary school performance.
They had been working in class on a few numbers.  One was this circle dance.  They love their teachers, and were so happy getting to dance with them.
There was a lot of gap time in between performances.  Elena and Clara would come over and practice in front of us sometimes - here is Elena working on her moves.

And here's Clara:

But a lot of the time looked like this:
And this:
They were real troopers - it was a long, long day and at every school they were ready to rally and perform again.

One of the enjoyable parts of the day was getting to see Clara and Elena's friends at other schools.  Here they are with Annie, their friend who lived across the street from us for awhile.  They were thrilled to dance for their friend, and to get recognized by a "big" girl in the school.
The most exciting stop was the last one of the day - they got to go their own elementary school!
Elena was very excited to show her friend Annie how things worked at their assemblies.
And the principal made their entire year by singling them out and bringing them in front of the full school to introduce them and thank them for representing the school.  It might be hard to see the beams on their faces, but they were just thrilled.
After that day of performing the adults were completely exhausted.  Like good, Irish folk we headed to the pub and had a pint.  Just the adults, though.  The girls were still raring to go, and kept right on performing.  People at the pub were pretty thrilled to have a free (cute) performance, and we were happy to be out of auditoriums for awhile!

Steve, leaning back after a day escorting dancers.
And Clara, finally pretty darn ready to go home.
We have video, but will get that uploaded here a bit later. 

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