Monday, January 30, 2012

in 3 days...

I leave for California, AH!  I cannot believe it's nearly here already!  I'm not really only feeling moderately prepared, but positive about the fact that I am a good teacher.  I just have to show them that!   I'm so grateful to have Kelly with me again this year and to not be alone.  Last year when I received my email telling me I had been "unsuccessful", I felt so defeated...   But, reflecting back I realized all the things I could have done better - mostly, commanded the room.  I had zero self confidence and control...  which is so unlike me.   
All my steps are ready to go, and I've practiced a few times.   I will be doing a dry run with Wendy and some students tomorrow night... Eep! :)

This exam is the hardest most terrifying thing I'll ever do in my life.  If I can conquer this, I can do anything.. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

little talents...

In my preparation to retake my exam, I have to be sure I have steps of an appropriate range of levels...  By doing this I am haphazardly learning or re-learning steps from the competitive program.  Price I pay for not being at that class weekly, brain fart central.   Mary had sent me some videos of the new slip jigs.  One of which was made up with one of our students, Gwyn.  Now, something you need to know about Gwyn is, that she's my little student.  She started a few years ago with us, but was unavailable during the normal class time for her age group.  She took private lessons with me all year, her mom even joined in and I choreographed a 2-Hand for them for the recital.   So, needless to say she's near and dear to my heart.  

Tonight I asked her to teach me her slip jig she choreographed with Mary - the look on her face was priceless.  I could see it meant a lot to her that I had asked.  I have to tell ya, it's a beautiful step!!  I'm very excited to have it in my repertoire

back to practicing...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

in review...

So, I may have lead on in my last review... since receiving a Kindle I've been reading a lot.   After finishing Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I thought that something a little more light hearted and humorous would do.   This book was suggested to me through after I had gone in pursuit of a Sophie Kinsella book...   

It was funny, charming, obnoxious - all the things a "chick lit" recipe calls for.  The main character, Georgia Fulton, walks us through each man she encounters in her search to find a great man, true love, and of course...herself.   It starts out in college at University of Washington where she bumps into a not so attractive guy who introduces her to Talk Radio.  After becoming instantly attached to being a radio personality she realizes not only does she love it, she's quite good at it!  There was a small point, where just like that friend who just can't seem to get it right, I truly wanted to slap Georgia Fulton and her gentlemen chasing antics.   But, like any solid main character, she pulls through in the end :)

On to Girl Who Played with Fire next...

I have made it to Vermont.  I'm not exactly sure what the weekend brings, but it will involve snow and possibly a very sore hiney...  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Week of class...

This week Mary and I swapped classes. It was a nice change of pace to teach the competitive classes, and quite motivating for me since I'm preparing for my redo section. I realized that I remember a lot more steps than I had originally thought. Which is refreshing after the panic I had this previous weekend.
I had careful instructions from Mary on what to drill and for how long (she knows me so well, that I need a plan, a schedule to keep). About half way through the list, the poor kids just looked whipped. Like they had just ran a marathon.
I'm not good at faking the fluff so when Gwyn asked me if her arms were better after she had done her hornpipe again I said, "no, I'm sorry everyone looks as if they've just ran a marathon".
They all kind of laughed in a way that said, "please spare us more!" the toughest thing is to convince the kids to continue to give 100% when I too, am extremely exhausted...

We had fun, though and the parents thanked me for pooping them out!

I'm taking the weekend off of studying my steps. Heading to Vermont tomorrow to visit Chris, epic tale to follow no doubt - I'm hoping to use my snowshoes for the first time and maybe learn to snowboard....

Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

in review...

First, I need to explain that I received a Kindle for Christmas.  Thank you Santa!  I wasn't quite sure how I was going to like the little eReader Device - because, frankly I love the smell of books and get quite a satisfaction out of turning the pages and feeling the thickness roll from one side to the other... 
After traveling through Ireland with a book, I decided it would be a lot more convenient even just for traveling sake to have a Kindle or any other eReader.   It's remarkable how much like paper it is reading, I'm so glad I hopped on the boat.    The first book I downloaded, on Christmas day was: 

Now, I'm certainly what I'd consider a "reader".  This book was extremely difficult to get into.  It took about 9-10 chapters to get moving on the plot and I was severely confused for a lot of the beginning and set up.   Once this book got rolling, it was great - could barely put it down.   

It's very dark and twisty - somewhat of a mystery and left me begging for more.  There are quite a few very disturbing areas/scenes in the book which make me a bit reluctant to go see the movie (now in theaters with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara).  I am pretty stoked to see Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist :)

A light hearted chick lit is on the reading list next, then off to the second book in Stieg Larsson's series or book 1 of the Hunger Games...

Read any good books lately? 

Friday, January 6, 2012

to teach....

Sometimes means you're tying shoes all night, or begging a child to cooperate, even yelling over loud noises... or learning yourself.

I've learned that you just have to roll with the punches. Which typically I'm not very good at - I'm getting better. That a 5 year old who just started kindergarten this year is and receives information much differently then a 6 or 7 year old. Now you might think, course that's common sense, I thought so too - but, it's a little different after you experience it.

Last nights class are my babes. The 5-8 year olds in the first class. I have a few difficult/resistant 5 year olds who don't really trust what I have to say all the time. Probably because I'm not Mom... They are always challenging, exciting, and some times frustrating to teach. But, I can see on their little faces when they enter class each week that they're soon falling under my spell. :)

They all shout questions at the same time. Which can be overwhelming but, it's usually the same question. They will never have quiet feet in hardshoes no matter how long I stand and wait or ask, and they will indefinitely have the "cute factor" during St. Patrick's day shows.

These kids are slowly teaching me to be better in aspects of my life - and they don't even realize it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

it begins..

It's a new year, and some would say that gives you new beginnings...    It's been almost exactly 1 year since I attempted the TCRG exam for the first time and was successful in all but one section... 
Last night was my beginning of my next attempt.  The flights, hotel and rental car are booked.  Both Kelly and I are fiercly emailing eachother about travel plans and teaching material.  Worried whether we have it right this time, we're still excited to go and have another opportunity at obtaining the most meaningless acronym to the world; yet, the most meaningful to us. 

I've got my chart, I've only got a few holes in which some steps need to be brought back to the front of my memory.  I need to be sure my dancing is up to par.  So, last night I attempted to dance in Mary's class...  2 drills in I literally though I was going to yack everywhere and ended up going home. 
Kelly said "great role model".  She's right, what a schmuck I must have looked like.  I make these kids do hours of drills and it appeared as though I couldn't even survive 5 minutes.  
I will, of course, try again next week; and tonight, and this weekend :)  To redeem myself.

Until then...  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I just got back to my apartment after a somewhat exhausting hour of class.  Tonight was the first night back after Holiday break and much like I guess they were at school all day, the kids were wound for sound.  I'm happy to be home enjoying my class of vino, however thinking back they are a hoot.  For instance, this little gentlemen here jumping with his crazy arms that Mary (and me, too!) would disapprove of, was the source of some headaches for sure.   See, we have our competitive and performance classes separate.   From a scheduling perspective it's a total nightmare.  From a teaching perspective it couldn't be more perfect of a set up.   
Today was not only the first day back from Holiday break, but my deadline (as the teacher of the majority of the performance program this year) for a spot in the recital and shows come St Patrick's Day.   I had a few students who had been solely taking Mary's competitive program join my class tonight... Truly, these kids are wonderful even if they make me go a little crazy now and again.  
They couldn't wait to ask me what Santa brought me and tell me what they'd gotten under the tree as well...  

 Mr Leo must have misunderstood me, as I haven't really been a presence in his classes, when I said "we don't mess around in my class, we work hard so that come St Patrick's Day we look amazing".  
I did try to put it in a language he'd understand - 
"Miss Nina is like the Hulk - you won't like her when she's angry" 

Maybe it was something in the air, or we're close to a full moon.  Maybe it was just that first day back - those first day giggles, wiggles, and misbehavior.   

Somehow we did manage to teach the 4 new entries the Choreography thus far... I was amazed!  They work so hard (most of the time). 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Welcome 2012...

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season!  Mine was certainly filled with friends, family,  and loads of food.  Chris was in town this weekend for New Year's - we had a blast exchanging gifts, taking Malu (freshly 1 year old) to the dog park, spending time with friends he has here, and of course spending time with each other.   Saturday we had shopped our faces off - Chris had scored a deal for buy one get one suits, they were also able to get his alterations done same day so he could wear his new Justin Timberlake look out :)   I waltzed into Express thinking "I can't afford the clothes here" and found a really classy LBD to rock.  Picked up some lunch and some gold accessories and we were on our way! 
For the evening festivities we bought tickets for an all inclusive evening at a club downtown.   It's not somewhere we typically go, so it was nice for a change of scenery.   We ate, we drank, laughed and chatted with friends.  The ball dropped, we toasted, kissed and an hour or so later cabbed it back home.  

With the blog being almost 1 year old and my recent lack of ideas - I've decided to take this creative outlet in a slightly different direction.    Every year we make resolutions and stick to them or...maybe not so much.   You know the average bit - lose 10 pounds, save more money, see the world, stop swearing...etc.
I really only have 1 true goal, and that's to pass my solo teaching section when I do my repeat exam in February... But, I'd also like to focus on this as well.  So, as this blog was intended to be a "life after Irish dance", I will be striving to turn it back into that.  

The "study" schedule for January is as follows:
Monday - Practice teaching imaginary students
Tuesday - Teach actual students
Wednesday - build step repertoire
Thursday - Teach actual students
Friday - hit the bar :) 

So, thank you for taking the time to read my blog - I hope I can keep you more interested in the future :)
Cheers to 2012!