Life Lessons From Irish Dance

If your dancer is like mine, and you have been doing this for a while, there are some adjudicators they want at the table while they dance, and some, well, not so much. So when TGC (that is ‘the girl child’ for you new readers) saw the ‘cool judge’ sitting at the table to judge her Hornpipe, she was thrilled. And if you follow me on Facebook, you may already know that TGC got a first in that dance, which coincidentally, was the last first she needed to be advanced to PC, so lets just say she was a little happy about it. read more

Gem City Feis 2013

gcLogoThe Gem City Feis was held on October 12th, 2013 at the Dayton Airport Expo Center in Vandalia, OH.

This is my second year reviewing this feis although we have been here a few times. You can see the last review here.

Venue – As I said last year, the Expo Center is a great venue for a feis. People at the feis even commented that it was their favorite venue. However, last year I also said “probably could have taped off a bigger area for camping then they actually did, since the camping filled up and became difficult to navigate in and out of, but the annoyance was minor” and maybe I was a little too subtle. There is a ton of open area that could have been used for camping, but they taped off the same inadequate area this year and people were openly irritated. TAPE OFF A BIGGER CAMPING AREA IN 2014 PLEASE! read more

Vendor Shoutout – Made by Mare

Wanted to give a special shout-out to the ‘ribbon lady’, aka Made by Mare over at http://www.madebymare.com. She has a lot of unique ribbon gift ideas and is an absolute joy to deal with. I have purchased a few things from her and she even let me return an item.

If you see her at a feis, stop by and say hi, or visit her at her site, http://www.madebymare.com.  Be sure to ask about Batman keyfobs, but don’t believe her if she says she has a Guinness keyfob  ;)  (inside joke). read more

Amanda’s Bequest B&B

And now, there is a sequel visit… read about it here.

Up until now, I have not found any feis accommodations worth blogging about, I mean hotels are hotels right? Some are nicer than others, but generally, as long as they are clean, they are really all the same. But when we waited to long to make a hotel reservation, in Muskegon, the weekend of the Irish Music Festival and feis, I just knew we were going to end up in a hotel that was on the less acceptable end of  ‘really all the same.’  I have to say though, we stayed somewhere this weekend that we all liked so much, I needed to blog about it. read more

Michigan (Muskegon) Feis 2013

The Michigan Feis was held on September 14th, 2013 at the Muskegon Catholic Central High School in Muskegon, Michigan.

This is the second review for this feis. To see last years review, look here.

Venue – This is the third time we have done a feis at Muskegon Catholic and unlike some of the other feiseanna located in schools, we like this feis.

There were 4 stages in different areas of the school, 2 in one gym, 1 in the auditorium on the schools auditorium stage, and the PC/OC stage in another gym at the far end of the school. If by chance you had dancers on stages 3 or 4 and one of the other stages, especially stage 1 (OC/PC) you probably did not enjoy the layout as much, since dances moved quickly and it was a few minute walk between the stages. read more

Irish Dance Terms .v1

Term of the week is our attempt to label those Irish Dance things we know, but which don’t have a ‘real name’. The first one came out of my mouth tonight on the way home from dance practice, and I thought to myself, oh, I gotta start writing these nuggets down, so here goes.

hance

verb ˈhan(t)s, ˈhän(t)s
1 : to use only ones hands to practice all the steps in an Irish Dance routine.

hanc·ing

intransitive verb
1 : to engage in or perform Irish Dance steps with only the hands. This can be done in a seated or standing position read more

Rock River Valley Feis 2013

The Rock River Valley Feis was held on September 7th, 2013 at the Pheasant Run Resort Mega Center, in St. Charles, IL. This is the point in the feis weekend where I tell you what I thought about the feis, the venue, judging, musicians, etc… you know the drill. This one however, is going to be different.

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that our trip to Illinois didn’t turn out as planned, and we ended up in the ER Friday night when The Girl Child hurt her foot practicing. By Saturday morning we realized that competing was out for the day, but we were near the venue, and her foot was ok to walk in the funky shoe they gave her at the hospital, so we decided to stop by and support some of TGC’s dance classmates. read more

F.E.I.S. Recommendations

This F.E.I.S. (First Everyone Is Safe) Recommendations list is the consolidation of thoughts from a few other posts. If you are new, this is the third in a series of posts regarding feiseanna safety. You can see Part 1 and Part 2 to get caught up if you need to.

Based on input from you, and some of my own observations, this is a concise list on what contributors think can help make the feiseanna environment  safer:

  • No dancer name/school lists posted in the ‘clear’ on any website – access can be granted to teachers and parents with the appropriate login credentials.
  • Posted results use numbers only to keep dancer/school anonymity in the feis environment.
  • While at a feis, use of the buddy system for all dancers, whether it is dancer/dancer or dancer/parent buddies.
  • Appropriate dresscode before, between and after all dances. ‘Appropriate’ can be determined by governing bodies.
  • Age appropriate makeup – IMHO, none of the girls are old enough to wear the makeup typically seen at feiseanna.
  • Visual identification for parents, other family members and friends, obtained at registration or upon paid entry. Registration would have more control to prove ‘association’ with a dancer. Recommendations have been wristbands and brightly colored stickers.
  • Presence of feis security – even a few school dads with ‘SECURITY’ or possible ‘SAFETY’ t shirts wandering the venue would help.
  • Safety signage that shows the feis is paying attention to safety. Examples might include:  ‘report incidents’, ‘be observant’, ‘no videography’ etc…
  • Observation – everyone needs to be observant and proactive.
  • Enforcement of the standards issued by the governing bodies, and common sense. This is top-down from the dance organizations, to schools, to competitions, to parents and the dancers themselves.

So, what do you think? Any obvious omissions? Again, please keep comments brief if possible. read more

Great Lakes Feis 2013

image001The 11th Annual Great Lakes Feis was held on August 18th, 2013 at the Lansing Convention Center in Lansing, Michigan.

This is the third, fourth, ah who knows, time I have done the Great Lakes Feis. You can see last years review here but that was before I had scoring for each section of the feis, and just had an overall score.

Venue – The venue is great. The feis uses what I assume to be the biggest hall in the center and there is plenty of room.

There were six stages with numbers 1 and 2 at one end of the hall for OC and PC, and 3 – 6 more towards the other end for the other level dancers. The stages were huge compared to many feiseanna I have attended. The smallest I saw, if my visual measuring system is even close to accurate, was about 24′ x 28′, and the stage we were on was closer to 32′ x 32′. There was also good separation between the stages, on the order of tens of feet, if that makes sense, not a few feet or attached like other recent feiseanna. read more

Milwaukee Eats

We had an eclectic little restaurant recommended to us because of the filets, and were told they had some gluten free options. Did a quick Google search and found the Via website. Looked good, so we checked it out and were not disappointed.

Via offers plenty of gluten free pizza and pasta options, and the gluten free crust (according to the boy child) was pretty good, which is hard to do. All of us had pizza and it was the best Pizza Diavola I have had in the U.S. I had the opportunity to visit Italy a few times for the Navy and really enjoyed their pizza. These pizzas were more Italian style, made in a brick oven, and were pretty darn good right over here in ‘Merica, read more