#transformationtuesday nationals 2010 to Oireachtas 2013 same face three years apart lol 🍀🏆🇬🇧
Ahhhhh it’s that time of year again. Oireachtas post time! I was honestly so nervous and anxious about everything. When Sunday came around I couldn’t stand still. As soon as I got to the ballroom, I was greeted by so many familiar faces and that helped me calm down. I finished my first round and felt good about it. When my second round came around I noticed the groups were a little different so I had to dance with one of my friends. It was literally the most awesome experience ever. It was like we were both giving the crowd a show. It literally felt like the best soft shoe I’ve ever done and I’m so glad that we danced together. I felt like we both fed off of each other’s energy and danced our best. Finally it was time for my third round. I was so nervous about this. Before the third panel of judges came I was freaking myself out about it. Before I got on stage I just decided to throw out all of the what ifs I had in my head and just let everything flow. Finally the girl before me was up and she was utterly amazing. I decided to do something different when I got on stage. Instead of looking up I looked straight and saw the crowd and everything just clicked. With a big smile on face, I decided to just believe in myself and give the crowd something they would enjoy. As soon as I heard the metronome, I knew that I would be okay. The room was silent and the only thing that filled the room was the music and my dancing. I got to the middle of the set part of my set and knew I could finish this strongly. I got to the end and the crowd erupted. The room was fuller than it was in the beginning and everybody was standing and it was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. I am so happy about everything I accomplished this weekend and I’m so happy that all of my friends did well and I’m so happy that it’s over. Also thank you to everybody that said really sweet things to me after my rounds. It made me feel so happy and so grateful for all your guys’ support. Another nice moment was when I went to my friend’s ballroom after I got out of my dress and the first thing she said was,”I was sitting down and started to hear the music for vanishing lake, and I was like mmmmm. Then the dancer started and I was like I know those steps. That’s Kaitlyn. I can hear it from in here that’s Kaitlyn. I can hear the applause. That was definitely Kaitlyn.” And that also made my day. I say also a lot. I’m sorry. Thanks for reading and congrats to everybody!! :)
irish dance is a special kind of sport where we glue our socks to our legs
it still hasn’t sunk in that i actually managed to qualify for worlds. i just remember at random times throughout the day and have to remind myself that no, i’m not daydreaming, IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED.
Now that all the regional oireachtasi are over, some of us may not have done as well as we would have hoped. Watch this. Train hard. Do more. Come back untouchable.
This weekend was insane. I’ll probably ramble in here, but I’ll try to keep it focused.
Last Oireachtas (2012) was pretty much terrible across the board for our school. There were so many expectations that were just dashed—practically no one did as well as they would have liked. So we were determined to come back next year and dominate. We started doing a dedicated advanced ceili class just for the teams and alternates. We added another day of classes. We did strength and conditioning together. I did private lessons to help me prepare for my trad set. It still never felt like enough.
We wanted the 2013 SRO to be the Redemption Oireachtas for our school, and there was so much working against us to write that story. My teacher and his son and daughter left for DC on Thursday night, and thanks to the weather and a plethora of cancelled flights didn’t arrive until early Saturday morning. Just getting them to the Oireachtas involved a 5 hour drive to another city to catch a flight, a frantic, last-minute switch to another airport, and another 50 mile drive at 2am after no sleep for two days. If they didn’t make it, we didn’t really have alternates since we’re such a small school, so we were thinking we would have to scratch almost all our teams. M broke her foot right before Nationals and then had a bike accident that left her unable to straighten her arm until three weeks before the oireachtas. Our hotel reservation was messed up and I was worried we were going to be kicked out of our hotel because they expected me to pay an amount I didn’t have in my bank account. I was horribly sick with a cold starting on Thursday night and completely lost my voice (still don’t have it back 100% today!) The back of my new dress ripped right before I was due to go on stage. There were tears, near misses and “oh well” moments the entire weekend.
It started to pick up for me (and the school) in the afternoon when recalls came around. Last year I got 8th of 9 dancers in my trad set, and since there were so few of us they gave everyone prizes. Standing on that stage and having to smile with my second-to-last-place trophy while I frantically asked myself what I did wrong was incredibly difficult. I thought that the no-recall situation would be a repeat of last year, so I did my set, didn’t feel great about it since I was so sick and was sliding around on the stage, and went to the room where they were going to do awards.
Well, there was a recall list after all. My friend’s mom tagged me in the picture IDTANA-SR put on Facebook and that’s how I found out, standing in the back of the room and waiting for awards. I immediately burst into tears. Just the release of knowing I had worked hard and had gotten better from last year was incredible, and my goal was just to get top 50%. My teachers were afraid something was incredibly wrong when they saw me crying but they gave me hugs after they realized they were happy tears. I ended up getting 4th and that medal means so much to me.
So Saturday awards rolled around, and we were all on pins and needles. We knew four of our six ceili teams had recalled, and after sending only a girls’ 4 hand last year and being second to last, we knew we were already ahead. In solos, M did the best she’d ever done—3rd place and a sash and podium position AFTER BREAKING HER FOOT five months earlier and having almost no place to practice at college. K went from 60th and no recall last year to 15th place and a top ten/WQ soft shoe round. S placed 29th in Senior Ladies which is impressive considering how damn hard that comp is. And then ceili rolled around.
Girls 4-hand, which had never practiced together until the day of (my teacher reshuffled teams) - seventh place out of 49 teams. Our mixed 8-hand - second place; the team in front of us only beat us by a small margin, and we are sending it to Worlds. Our girls 8 hand was one away from recalling, which was impressive, knowing the caliber of dancing in that competition. Both our mixed 4-hands placed—and they kept calling numbers and none of them were ours. We were all in the very, very back screaming and looking at each other incredulously every time they called a number that wasn’t ours. Finally, one of our teams was called up at they were in 5th place—podium position. More numbers called—finally down to the top 3. You can see by the picture that the team that had already placed was pulling for them so hard too!
Then it came down to the final two—those of us in the back could barely breathe the pressure was so high—and the numbers were read and we went BANANAS. We won. WE WON THE WHOLE THING. That mixed 4-hand perpetual trophy will always say “O’Maoileidigh” on it. I was in the back with the parents and even though it wasn’t their kids who placed, they were crying and screaming because they knew just how hard we have worked every Saturday and Sunday to make this a reality.
The fact that our school did so well is just…incredible. We’re the misfits, the underdogs, the Bad News Bears of our region. We don’t workshop with overseas teachers. We don’t always have the best of everything. This was our biggest group to send to the oireachtas yet, at 16 kids. Only 12 of us did ceili, so I was trying to help coordinate everyone being sent from stage to stage because they were scheduled to dance at pretty much exactly the same time. We already plan on keeping that perpetual trophy for another year—and adding a few more to our collection. :)
Some of us didn’t do as well as we would have liked—Sunday results were a total downer, and for that there is always redemption next year—but each and every one of us has something to hold onto this weekend, some memory of relief knowing their hard work paid off. And knowing that we are such a tight-knit family, who revels in each others’ successes and that we hurt together when one of us is hurting, is just priceless. I love my dance family, and I am looking forward to another year of sweating, training, laughing and crying together as we become even closer.
My blackthorn stick
Disclaimers 1) this was only my third day doing this set so don’t judge too harshly 2) when I did it at oireachtas the timing was not off like it is here, and the left foot was way better 3) this was at the end of a 6 hour workshop 4) my arms are not usually that bad :)
The countdown begins
A year has passed, and yet another Oireachtas has come and gone. Going in, my goal was first to actually GET there, what with all the winter weather ruining everything, but then to place in the top 10; I was 12th last year. I wanted to improve, but I knew at the same time I’ve had a lot more going on in my life this past year and couldn’t devote as much time to practicing as I would have liked. And I knew numbers would be a huge factor; competition groups keep getting smaller and smaller. I was prepared for the worst, honestly.
Saturday morning came, I made the recall. Felt really good about some of my rounds, not quite as confident with the other, but I had three solid rounds, and that’s all I could ask for. I did what I could.
Now, the way they announce results at majors is a little twisted. All the dancers who recalled line up side stage, and then in random order, they call up the World Qualifiers to the stage. “103…107…119…122…125”
My number wasn’t called. That was okay. The idea of qualifying had crossed my mind, but only in a “what if?” sense. I just didn’t believe in myself that much, I guess.
After they announce the WQs, they remain on stage as the rest of the recallers are announced in ascending places. “In 19th place, from the Drake School, competitor so-and-so…” etc.
They began calling out numbers, names, places…my number wasn’t being called. They got to top 15, top 12 (yes! I improved!), top 10 (yes! I met my goal!), top 8…
At this point I’m just thinking holy shit, holy shit, oh god… It’s just me and two other girls left standing side stage. I ask them, “are we the only ones left?” The girl on my left is called, 8th place… Oh shit. This other girl and I were so close to qualifying. We look at each other, understanding the implications of the situation…her number is called, 7th place, 2 spots from qualifying.
I’m left alone side stage… I catch the eye of my first dance teacher, in Memphis, who was helping pass out awards. Mary, who taught me as a beginner, who taught me my first reel, my first treble jig, who sent me to my very first Oireachtas. She looks over at me knowingly, and gives me a heartbreaking smile. “Oh god, Kerry…”
And I just break down. Partly happy tears, because I never dreamed I would do this well, place this close to the podium, in all my years of dancing, but partly heart wrenching, frustration, “I was THIS close” tears.
“And in 6th place, from the Goode Academy, competitor 116, Kerry Hudnall!”
The gentleman announcing results says this with such genuine enthusiasm that I begin crying even harder. I walk up onstage to accept my award and take my place…right next to the podium. Literally inches away. The symbolism does not escape me. I can hear the Goode Academy section screaming in the audience, and the Maguire Academy section screaming even louder. I’m a bawling mess of complex emotions at this point, but I do my best to smile through it all. Gotta give the photographers a nice reaction shot, after all (see above. WERK) They place the top 5, our world qualifiers, and I tell the girl next to me in 4th place congratulations.
After I walk off stage it’s very much a blur of hand grabbing and yelling and congratulating. My current teacher is in tears, my former teachers are in tears, moms that aren’t mine are in tears, current and former classmates are jumping up and down, I’m a wreck as I previously mentioned, and everyone is hugging me. I was so overwhelmed by love and support that I couldn’t help but keep crying. All these people who had supported me throughout all of this, these many years, across 4 different schools in 3 different cities were still supporting me and still ecstatic for me even when I was disappointed. It was a lot to take in, and pretty much the only thing I remember is KT telling me I’m a beautiful role model and Andy saying he was so glad he got to see that. Whirlwind.
Even though I wasn’t going in expecting a WQ, it still tears at your gut knowing you were so close. There’s a chance that the qualification could be “passed down” if one of the top 5 dancers has an association conflict at Worlds (i.e. Her teacher is judging). In that case I would be offered a spot in London, but it just wouldn’t be as satisfying, obviously.
I had considered not competing next year, what with school and life getting increasingly busier, but now…I can’t end my career this close. I can’t forever be “one away.” So, probably much to my mother’s dismay, I’ll be in Orlando next year. She wasn’t able to come watch me this year as she’s recovering from a knee surgery, but I know how upset she was having to miss it. She’ll be in Orlando too, and she’s going to see me qualify. You can bet on it.
Look out Senior Ladies, I’m coming for blood.I had goosebumps (both that day and now)!!! So proud of you hun!!!
Delaney O’Shea from Drake u17 girls oireachtas champion
Best reaction shots ever!!
I am so proud of this girl! She is one of the most hard working girls I know!!! Not only is she a great dancer but a great friend who helped me get through this tough competition season! She is my inspiration and can’t wait to dance another year with her! Love you much Mariah and congrats on your 3rd!!!p.s credit to shamrock photo