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Irish - Champs
Surviving Your First Major (karma: 33)
By LouCeemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 1608, member since Wed May 19, 2004
On Wed Aug 09, 2006 06:21 AM
Made sticky by Theresa (28613) on 2006-08-16 11:16:27

Ok, you've done a few Open Championships, and your teacher enters you for a major championship. You start to panic, and on they day everything goes wrong. Your shoes break, your wig won't go right, your socks fall down in both rounds and you come off regretting it. Don't let this happen to you!!

Coming Up Before the Competition

Practise, practise & practise, get that stamina up! That's one of the biggest regrets I have after a big comp - my stamina not being it's best. If you've got heavy jig, try doing your jig and then the leadaround again! and if that eventually becomes easy, try doing the whole jig, leadaround again, and middle step again etc!

Now one of the best posts I read on working up to a major and making the recall: www.dance.net . . . scroll to the first reply (Jitchiwah's reply)

Make sure your dress is in good condition. Ie replace lost sequinns/rhinestones and cut loose threads. If you feel your dress isn't going to sparkle much, invest in some rhinestones, they can do wonders for a dress!

Now, packing for the feis. Are you going for a couple of days before your comp? Make sure you bring practise stuff, so that you don't lose that all-important stamina.

The day before
If you're there the day before, just relax. Watch some dancing, have a couple of practises during the day, eat some lunch and just make sure you know where everything is (ie where to go backstage etc!) By knowing the venue, it makes the next day a little big easier in the morning for your mum especially! And nowadays they have the starting numbers in the programm, so LOOK IT UP. Starting numbers are very important! Imagine missing your turn and being disqualified?

That night, eat a good dinner (NOT curry/chinese/asian..) and head back for your hotel. Top up the tan and just lay your stuff out for the morning. I always, even if on at 8, do my wig/make-up in hotel, because the toilets at these events can be quite crammed!

The Day of the comp
You wake up, and suddenly panic because your supposed to be dancing that day. I always sit in bed for 5-10 minutes and take deep breathes, and a glass of water. I then get up, jump around (a little..just to wake myself up) and start to my wig, make up etc. Meanwhile mum goes down to the breakfast area and gets me some fruit & orange juice (i'm a bit particular, I can't eat anything but fruit before I dance! It's a bit of a nerves thing)
So you get there, and you see a lot of girls in your age warming up, practising..but just do what YOU need to do. So what if so&so is doing her jig millions of times for her teacher next to you, if you need to warm up slowly, warm-up slowly.

Make sure you know if they call up your group in the main hall. I often have my mum in the main hall with my bag etc and then I go outside the hall to warm up. The first time they call you up, glue your socks extra (and make sure they're the same length)

Touch up your make up - a little extra blusher maybe, or lipgloss.
If you feel that the tage
Now last but not least - put on the dress! Make sure the back-piece is on very sucurely.

I normally take a bottle of water and tissues with me back stage, cos' I generally seem to have a cold at every feis/major! Now they'll start to organise you a bit when back stage, but often they'll just leave you once they've organised you, and it's very easy to be talking at the back of the "backstage" room to your friends and then realise your on next - so check what numbers are on next regulary.

I personally find talking helps with nerves, but don't get utterly involved. I normally wish my friends luck, talk about the nerves a little and then when there's only about 2 lots before me, I stop speaking and I do last-minute stretches, deep breathes. For the 2nd lot before me, I go through the heavy jig in my head, and then for the last lot I stretch/deep breathes.

So you walk on stage, and after all those weeks of preperation you're there. Well no-one can affect it now, your teacher can't shout what your doing wrong, and you just have to put everything into your heavy round. I say heavy round, because I've learnt this in the past - a bad first round is sort-of you out of the recall I'm afraid. I've done okish heavy rounds and the best light rounds i've ever done, but it's not enough. The 1st round is so important!
So power, movement (but DON'T bang into people, you get marked down) and lift everything to that last bar in your dance. Click near the end? Even if your dying GET IT, and GET IT HIGH.

When waiting to bow to judge, smile as if you've just danced the best you've ever danced..even if you haven't. If you feel like dying from exhaustion, you can die in roughly 7 seconds time, walk off shoulders back, etc.

Now did you find you had a bad heavy round? put it behind you, you can't do anything. Come out like it's your first round for the your 2nd round and just FORGET the heavy round - it's over, you can't do anything to change it.

Stay high on your toes in the light round, lift and just enjoy it. I always enjoy the light round because it just goes so fast and you can really enjoy the dance.

So both rounds are finished, and everyones waiting around. They then anounce the recall (btw it depends at which major your at..at nearly all they recall a third, but at the american nationals and british nationals this year they recalled 50%)

You make the recall - great! That's really great for a first major. Now go give it everything in the set, there's nothing to lose.

You don't make the recall - There's ALWAYS next year or next comp! But don't be upset that you didn't make it this time, but there's always next time. I did majors for 2 years & a half before I got a recall at one! Just put everything you learnt from the first into your rest, and everything should just become normal. If your interested in what place you came, you can buy after the results have been given out on the screen (I'm talking not the NANs here..as I've never been to them so I can't really talk about them?) the marks sheets. At All Irelands/Worlds they're for sale at the desk when you come in, and at other majors often the same.

If your there another day, have fun! Watch the competition, and try watch those top dancers to get some inspiration!

Lucy xxx

50 Replies to Surviving Your First Major

re: Surviving Your First Major
By irish_dancer_82 Comments: 545, member since Tue Feb 01, 2005
On Wed Aug 09, 2006 07:06 AM
Great Post Lucy, Karma for you! I think all you wrote down is not only for Champs, but also for any other level dancer.
x Anita
re: Surviving Your First Major (karma: 1)
By Cinnawiz Comments: 3136, member since Tue Jan 03, 2006
On Wed Aug 09, 2006 07:58 AM
Absolutely fabulous advice! I believe that it can (mostly) apply for any feis/level. I wish that I had had that kind of advice when I went out for my first feis. I was completely terrified and ALONE!

One other thing to add, if I may:

Remember, you're doing this because you want to! Have fun and enjoy the experience!
Surviving Your First Major
By irish_chick Comments: 27, member since Tue Jul 18, 2006
On Mon Aug 14, 2006 09:48 AM
That was great advice, I'll definately use it at the next Oireachtas. (the closest Major coming up for me) Thanks!!
re: Surviving Your First Major
By Maigh_EoPremium member Comments: 877, member since Thu Feb 17, 2005
On Mon Aug 14, 2006 09:54 AM
Lucy, your a marvel - fantastic advice!


xx
re: Surviving Your First Major
By Rosiemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 4094, member since Wed Jun 30, 2004
On Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:02 AM
Great thread, Lucy! I've never been to a major, Oireachtas this year may be my first. I'm really excited!
re: Surviving Your First Major (karma: 1)
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 17315, member since Thu Jun 06, 2002
On Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:07 AM
So you get there, and you see a lot of girls in your age warming up, practising..but just do what YOU need to do. So what if so&so is doing her jig millions of times for her teacher next to you, if you need to warm up slowly, warm-up slowly.

So, so, so, so true. Don't change your routine just because someone else is doing it differently. There are a million and one ways to warm up for the competition - and the only thing that matters is what's right for you.

Louise
re: Surviving Your First Major
By IrishLizzymember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3559, member since Wed Jul 28, 2004
On Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:36 AM
Could this be made into a sticky? It's really good advice, not only for majors but a lot of this advice can help with just regular feiseanna.
re: Surviving Your First Major
By seanmharcailinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1978, member since Fri Dec 10, 2004
On Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:37 AM
Sigh. I've had the same routine for about 15 years. Sure, its changed a bit, but I have my routing and I HATE when people try to mess with it. I think that's the most important thing. DON"T change what you do just cause its a Major. Get through all your little lists the way you want to do them.
re: Surviving Your First Major
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 17315, member since Thu Jun 06, 2002
On Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:40 AM
If you want something made into a sticky you have to ask the moderators by hitting the mod button in the bottom right corner of Lucy's post. They don't trawl the boards looking for sticky-worthy posts. Although I'm sure this post has sticky potential. Ew, it's sticky.

Louise
re: Surviving Your First Major
By dancing_sheep85 Comments: 291, member since Sun Apr 23, 2006
On Tue Aug 15, 2006 03:32 PM
This is so useful! Thanks so much...
re: Surviving Your First Major
By Kerry_dancermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 1280, member since Fri Feb 18, 2005
On Tue Aug 15, 2006 03:39 PM
That night, eat a good dinner (NOT curry/chinese/asian..) and head back for your hotel. Top up the tan and just lay your stuff out for the morning.


Instead go to Macdonalds get a meal and a Mcflurry head back to your hotel and start attacking a plant!! Mwhahaha------>Sound familiar?? :D

Great post girlie!!!
re: Surviving Your First Major
By xLeanneDDx Comments: 1077, member since Wed Nov 09, 2005
On Tue Aug 15, 2006 03:55 PM
^^ lol or what we did, the midlands crowd and Gerard took over pizza hut!Granted i didn't eat alot, too busy laughing :D !!
great post Lucy, i survived my first major!! Roll on the Great Brits xxx
re: Surviving Your First Major
By IrishLizzymember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3559, member since Wed Jul 28, 2004
On Wed Aug 16, 2006 03:20 PM
Yay, it got sticky status!
re: Surviving Your First Major
By LouCeemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 1608, member since Wed May 19, 2004
On Mon Aug 21, 2006 03:18 PM
Oh this has been made into a sticky! I only found out a few hours ago haha, and then the laptop went weird and yeah! THis is my first comment in ages I've just realised...well that's cos im on holiday!
Anyways just wanted to say you dont have do all that is listed, as most people have their own little routine but it's just bits and bops I HAVE done over the last 3 years. As weezy said, one of the most important is NOT to do what all the other girls are doing on the day, you do what YOU need to do :D
Have fun, and also I hope everyones having a nice summer :P
Lucy xxx
re: Surviving Your First Major
By Stewart14 Comments: 22, member since Sat Sep 09, 2006
On Sat Sep 09, 2006 06:34 AM
whoa....that even rips my teachers advice.....do u mind if i print it out?
Surviving Your First Major
By stacey_ Comments: 16, member since Tue Sep 19, 2006
On Tue Sep 19, 2006 03:51 PM
Wow. That should help when I eventully go to a major. Thanks for posting it.
re: Surviving Your First Major
By jinty3 Comments: 175, member since Wed Sep 20, 2006
On Sat Oct 07, 2006 03:53 PM
thanks, daughter will be doing her first major soon, will remember your advice and pass it on to her.
re: Surviving Your First Major
By mwdancemom Comments: 335, member since Fri Mar 25, 2005
On Sun Nov 19, 2006 09:38 PM
Thanks for the great advice. My dd will be dancing solos for the first time at the Oireachtas next week. I'll be sure that she reads this during this week before she dances. I especially liked your advice about your last click in the heavy round to GET IT and GET IT HIGH! She has one right at the end of her Treble Jig and I always tell her to make it look as effortless and strong as her first one. She'll be happy to see that advice in print and not mom just blabbing!

Thanks again!
re: Surviving Your First Major
By misstwinkletoes1 Comments: 7, member since Mon Dec 04, 2006
On Mon Dec 04, 2006 05:16 AM
I had my first WIDA feis yesterday and i wishd id had read your post before yesterday!!!!!!!
Some great advice.
re: Surviving Your First Major
By Reelmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 2682, member since Thu Dec 28, 2006
On Thu Jan 04, 2007 01:21 PM
great post! i totally agree--watching the top dancers is great. it can motivate you to dance your best and also to practice harder when you're through with the competition! i remember my first o being quite confusing because i hadn't even done a championship yet, but i've done many since then and still get nervous with what to expect sometimes. the best thing is to talk to someone who's done it before, or knows how to handle situations that might go wrong or might be unfamiliar, which could be a top dancer in your school, and older sibling, or your teacher. also make sure you know all the technical stuff, sometimes we screw up our dance and are ok and know what to do, but then the girl we dance with falls and we're not sure what we're supposed to do. if you know what may happen and know how to handle it you'll be less nervous.

the best thing for me is to dance on stage before i actually...dance on stage. generally they start at 8 so if you get there early enough you can practice. you get a feel for the stage, how slippery it is, etc. plus it's a good warm-up, being up there gives you a little pump of adrenaline that makes you work harder. it's important to push your practices beforehand, not just your dance for the judges. the warmer you are the better you'll be, so backstage continue to stay warm by stretching and doing jumps. once you're done, it's done! no matter what regrets you have put them behind you, they may affect your next dances. then just relax and have fun until the next dance or the next *big or little* competition.
re: Surviving Your First Major
By BarbieGirl014 Comments: 20, member since Mon Mar 13, 2006
On Mon Jan 08, 2007 01:55 PM
Wow thx for this. It really helped. This is not only for champs but also for every other dancer.
re: Surviving Your First Major
By wrocdancer Comments: 50, member since Mon Jul 02, 2007
On Tue Jul 31, 2007 12:52 PM
wow haha i think you and my teacher are related. Great addvice I love the part about getting up slowly in the morning this really calms down the nerves. Thanks so much for the great post!
re: Surviving Your First Major
By jig_jig22 Comments: 59, member since Fri Aug 03, 2007
On Wed Sep 26, 2007 08:35 PM
i am printing this out and taking it to the all irelands.... i am pretty "new" as in my first worlds was last year and my first nationals was the year before last.... im still getting use to it but i get SOOOOO nervous!

THANKS!
re: Surviving Your First Major
By bebbee Comments: 85, member since Sat Apr 12, 2008
On Sun Apr 13, 2008 09:54 AM
this is a great post with some good advice. but if you are a nerves person who fells sick at the thought of walking out onto a huge stage with loads of people waching you and know the opinion of 5 or 7 of them is what counts it still doesnt help but thanks any way. lol
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