Monday, September 5, 2011

the big time

This was another dance competition weekend for us, which is always very exciting, but there was an especially large among of anticipation for this competition because of the location--at the Western Regional Championships in Pleasanton. This is the largest competition venue I can imagine the girls entering unless we want to do some major traveling someday.

Three years ago I decided to take the girls to these Highland Games for a day because I'd heard that they were the biggest in our region and one of the largest Highland Games festivals in North America. Many thousands of people attend over the two days and there are bands and dancers from all over.

During our second visit to these games the girls and I were watching some of the Highland dancing when Erin announced, "I want to do that." I didn't take her very seriously but over the next many months she kept telling me that she wanted to learn Scottish dancing. We came again last year and watched quite a bit of dancing, just a few weeks or so after the girls began dancing too. Now here she is again, finally able to compete on that big stage herself.

I registered Erin to compete here several weeks ago but I'd been telling Kate for some time that I thought she could begin competing next year, if she wanted to. A few weeks later however, Kate let me know that she really wanted to compete in Pleasanton too, so at nearly the last possible minute I signed her up.

Erin competes as a Beginner, which starts at age 7 and can go up to adults. This competition occurred a week before Kate's 7th birthday, so she got to compete as a Primary, for 4-6 year-olds.

All dressed and ready to start:

The Beginners always dance first. In Erin's past competitions there were eight Beginners. Here there were twice that many but luckily they divided them into ages 9 and under and ages 10 and older. Erin was really only being judged against 6 others.

Kate sat with her teacher for a while and watched very intently.

And then it was time for the Primary's first dance, The Fling, which was the longest and most complicated of their three dances.
Following the other Beginner's dances and those of the higher classes, the Primaries did their last two dances and then the awards ceremony began with the Primary class first, where there were seven dancers. Kate took 3rd place and 2nd place in the last two dances, but in the Fling she got FIRST place!

Kate's first place Fling (she hesitates a little near the end and makes a mistake, but still was far better than the others):

The Beginners today could do four dances, and in those Erin earned a 6th, 4th, 3rd, and a 2nd place. Her best dance today was the Seann Truibhas (you'll hear it pronounced at the beginning of the video, as the announcer calls up another class to get ready). This is a bad video. I put one camera on a tripod and get it going while I take still photos with another camera. I was having all kinds of problems with the still photos so I didn't notice when Erin danced off to the side and I didn't follow her with the video camera very well.

I was really, really happy with the way Erin placed. Among her competition was the super star from her school and in her age group, Elizabeth. Elizabeth (deservedly) took first place in all 4 beginner dances and she was so good that she was declared the overall beginner class winner, which included those dancers from the older beginner group. The fact that Erin was next best in one dance was great. Erin took overall 3rd place.

In a couple of dances Elizabeth was right next to Erin. Here they are doing the Fling, you can see the difference in technique. Erin took 4th on this one.

Here are the big winners. proudly holding their medals for the day:

And one last bit of good news: with this weekend's wins Elizabeth immediately moves up to the Novice class, which means Erin won't be competing against her again anytime soon ;)


MommaWriter said...

Congrats to both of them! I love the smile on Kate's face in the two photos. Very cute. Glad they're having fun with it!

Anonymous said...

Way to go girls!!!! Lauren and Leigh Ann want to come see you dance!!

Trish said...

PHEW! After alllllll these years I ~finally~ figured out who Anonymous is!!!!

Sean, please stop posting Anonymously! :-) :-) :-)

they call me mama said...


Anonymous said...

ha, ha you two:)