Feature: Irish / Irish

Reel Treble #40!
By Cinnawiz
On Wed Jan 06, 2010 11:56 AM
Edited by TheMidlakeMuse (78507) on 2010-01-06 12:00:17 feature: activated!

Welcome to Reel Treble #40!
In this issue we meet Teashark, a.k.a. Kristiina, a CLRG dancer from Mainland Europe.

Name: Kristiina
Dance.net Name: Teashark
Member since: October 6th, 2006
Years Doing Irish Dance: 6 (+2 years in total of sickleave)
Age: 26
Dance School: Sarah Clark Academy (and I love it to bits!!)
Organization: CLRG
Competition Level: Intermediate/Prelim
Region: Mainland Europe

How old were you when you started Irish Dance and how did you get started?
I had just turned 19 when I had my first Irish Dance class. It was with a recreational school that also has performance activity. I had started taking dance classes some months earlier and a friend had told me how much she enjoyed the ID classes. I tried, I was hooked!

How many classes do you have a week?
I go to classes in Paris as often as time and budget issues allow, when there I have between seven and twelve hours of lessons per week.

How often do you practice at home?
When at home in Finland I practice five times a week, four regular and 1 pool session (Sunday morning 9-11). On top of this I have a gym routine for muscles and stamina.

Did Irish Dancing come naturally to you or did you have to work at it?
The rhythm and musicality bit was natural. I have had to work very hard for everything else, but I enjoy the challenge. Elegance and smoothness in movements has been my worst problem, along with lacking turnout and having bow legs (so even when I am supercrossed, it looks parallel (LOL). So placing 3rd in my slip jig in Intermediate (out of +30 dancers) a month back at my last feis - made me cry. Right there in the middle of Schiphol Airport (Holland) when my friends sent me the text with the results. I had never even placed in Int slip jig before in my many years at that level. Had I not got the medal for it, I would not believe it.

Does Irish Dancing get in the way of your school work or social life?
What social life? ;) I try to balance things out. I study a very theoretical and somewhat dry subject at the university, so jumping around like a mad person by myself in a studio (or on stage in wig, makeup, dress for 1000 euro and 160 euro shoes) is a very nice contrast! When you are too tired to dance one more slip jig, do your homework. When you are fed up with books, tests and essays - go dance :) I see friends on a regular basis, but do get a few complaints around feisanna when I seem to slip off the radar. My 2 favorite dance pals in Finland have gotten solid promises I will be available on full time after O's.

What do your friends think of your dancing? Do they support it?
All but one of my friends are very supportive of it. Granted, I have many dancing friends, but even the non-dancing ones give me plenty of encouragement and support. One friend however has never said one positive thing about my dancing and is actively trying to discourage me from going forward, saying it is "pointless for people like you and me". While being supportive of other dancers we both know. It does hurt. But does that stop me from dancing? No, never. It is an uphill battle, but it is my battle and is has only made me stronger and taught me discipline.

Do you do figure dances?
Yes! Or did. I Love figures, ceili, show choreography, you name it, I'll do it. :) I performed with a team for several years, and competed (and we did quite well I might add) with 2, 4, 6 and 8 hand, and figure. Team performances always have that extra magic that solo performance can lack. I love being on stage, just love it. It is rather impossible to do teams with my school, as I am around so little, but would love to do it again some day.

What does your dress look like and who made it?
White beaded organza over white satin as bodice and sleeves, with black embroidery as cuffs. Black embroidered 'corset' over bodice. Black embroidered two-layer soft skirt with white tutu made of beaded and sequined organza. 500 Swarowski crystals added for that extra sparkle. Made my your's truly, Mom did the zipper.

What brand of softshoes and hardshoes do you wear?
Hullachan all the way. Saved my feet, almost quit once because of pain in feet after dancing. Found Hullachan, never looked back.

What is the farthest you've traveled for a feis?
Had to google this one, it was a toss between Duisburg (Germany) and Den Haag (Holland). And the winner is: Den Haag, Holland (Feis Europe 2008). 1552 km (964 miles). I dont consider this a long distance, actually. I live in an ID-restricted zone, feis in Finland only every 4 years.. ;)

What is your favorite feis and why?
I liked Feis Europe (my 1st time there this year), I met nice people from all over and also a few DDNers! I also placed my 1st dance to Open (Hornpipe) so this might make me biased.

Have you ever been to a major championship?
Yes! I have been to O's one time (November 2008) and got to represent my school at the Great Britain Championships just this October in Bognor Regis. I loved both experiences.

Do you get nervous before you compete?
Always. Not a bad-nervous, but a good-nervous. I get a certain feeling every time I go on stage, makes me do my best and remember to smile.

Do you have any rituals you do before you dance?
Retie softshoes at the last minute. I have to, no matter how well I have tied them and double checked they are good knots. I have recently started to retie my hardshoes as well. OCD?

Practice makes Perfect - Passion makes it Art. --Teashark

What is your greatest accomplishment in Irish Dancing?
My third place in Intermediate Slip Jig at the Feis Europe a month ago. The competition was stiffer than any I had been in before. I was later told it was +30 dancers. My worst dance has always been the slip jig as I have been very unelegant and stiff as a dancer, and have had serious issues with high muscle tonus and jerky movements. I have been told to my face (by professionals) I will never become a dancer because of this. But, my TCRG smiled at me and took me and my goals seriously when I asked her if I could join her school. She managed to find in me what I and those other negative people could not - the dancer who can! This is why my 3rd place means the world to me. I did something which would have been completely impossible to me a year ago, something I did not believe I
could ever do, but wanted so bad. I am eternally grateful to my teacher.

What was your greatest disappointment in Irish Dancing and how did you overcome it?
Don't think I have ever been disappointed with anything in Irish Dance. People I have met through dance, yes, but never with the dancing. I hate jealousy, backstabbing, calling names and in general just making fun of other dancers. I have experienced this and it makes me not want to quit. Why adults and intelligent people find it necessary to hurt other people and make fun of them I will never understand.

What are some of your short term goals?
Get the rest of my dances (reel, treble jig and slip jig) to Open. Improve turnout and crossing - and regain my flexibility from last spring.

What are some of your long term goals?
Place in an Open Championship and get placed in a Major. Learn my 9 Sets and the rest of the ceili to possibly one day in the distant future attempt the TCRG exam.

What is your favorite dance and why?
Hornpipe. It suits me well. And it is also the only dance I have placed to Open, ever ;)

What is your least favorite dance and why?
Treble Reel! I am good at it, but haven't done too much of it in my many years of dancing. Give me a wonky 6/8 Jig Set with uneven number of bars anyday.

What move took you forever to master?
Hands down, triple click.

What is your favorite move?
An Over, I love the feeling of flying I guess.

Do you ever want to take the TCRG exam and teach?
In the distant future yes, but not unless I have reached Open level with all dances. Students deserve to have a teacher of proper technical level before them every day, I am a visual person myself and simply feed off better dancers and proper technique done before me.

Who do you admire the most in Irish Dancing?
A dear friend who makes me laugh and supports me through thick and thin (and teaching changed steps of reel over the internet, when I am unable to attend class). The most talented dancer I have met in my life, it is delightful to be in the prescence of pure talent.

If you could take a free workshop with any dancer as your teacher, who would you pick and why?
Ashley Smith. Her dancing if off the chart, I think I could learn a lot from her.

...I was in the line for security check when I got a text...

Tell us one of your funniest or most interesting feis stories.
Oy oy. the feis was running late and I had a plane to catch. So for my final dance (hornpipe), I got to go first and leave the stage after dancing instead of going back into line. I literally dashed out of my dress, packed my things and headed out of the building to find my taxi which I had ordered in advance. The only thing going through my head while I was dancing was - what if I miss my plane?? When I got to the airport, I slipped on the snow on the pavement and twisted my ankle and a bone chipped in my foot (I found out the next day when I could no longer walk and went to the doctor.). I was in the line for security check when I got a text from 2 friends still at the feis, telling me I won 1st for Hornpipe and 3rd in Slipjig. I think I cried all the way through the check and to the gate. My trophy and medals were delivered by another friend when she came home to Finland for the Christmas holidays some weeks later. Talk about a nice Christmas present :)

What was your most embarrassing moment in dancing?
Being made to perform a choreography which I was not sufficiently rehearsed in (choreographer finished dance the day before). Hip hop. I love it, but not something I can pick up and perform on a 24 hour notice. I did it but badly, and its on video.

Are you close with fellow Irish Dancers?
Yes. I have several friends who are dancers, in both Finland and France.

What's in your dance bag?
Hard shoes, soft shoes, jazz shoes. Baggie with everything from tape and a toothbrush to painkillers and sewing gear (a former scout - be prepared!). Top, shorts, leotard, water bottle. Snacks and a thermos of coffee if practicing in the morning. Tennis ball and roll of black tape. iPod and Bose earphones. Protein bars, protein powder, cereal bars, bananas.

Do you do any other types of dance?
Not at the moment, no time sadly. However used to do hip hop, tap, showjazz, ballet and jazz.

Do any of your family members Irish Dance as well?
Nope. Only sane person of the whole lot!

What other hobbies do you have?
Reading: fiction and good comics. Watching tasteful anime and pretending I am doing it to improve my Japanese.. Swimming. Worrying at what might go wrong and trying to prevent them from happening. (Think Asterix and Obelix - the sky might fall down on my head any day!)

Tell us something your friends would find surprising about you.
One of my best friends is my grandmother. She has always supported me in whatever I do. Our conversations about everything and nothing usually lead to laughter and lots of it. At 93, she still has the best sense of humour and memory for detail than anyone I have met to date. When I show her my dancing she cannot stop laughing. And making my grandmother laugh is worth it all. She is really proud me and my results, and that I have no fear of traveling to reach my goals.

Quick Fire Questions:
Hardshoe or softshoe: Hardshoe
Reel or Slip Jig: Reel
Hornpipe or Treble Jig: Hornpipe
Wig or Bun: Wig (TC out on this one, though)
Feis or Show: Feis (because I get to attend so few a year)
School Dress or Solo Dress: Solo (don't have a school dress)

Kristiina, thanks for a wonderful interview and good luck with your slip jig! --Reel Treble

17 Replies to Reel Treble #40!

re: Reel Treble #40!
By celticfeetmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Jan 06, 2010 03:02 PM
Another wonderful interview! :) I have to say that your quote is the best I have heard in a long time about practice and passion. Thank you so much for that!
re: Reel Treble #40!
By Hop_123member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Jan 06, 2010 03:29 PM
Love, love, love reading reel treble!
re: Reel Treble #40!
By SilviaNImember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Jan 06, 2010 04:44 PM
Very interesting!

Congrats on winning the Intermediate Hornpipe :) You must have gotten so happy when you recived the text!
re: Reel Treble #40!
By iheartmysetmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Jan 06, 2010 05:29 PM
Yea! Another great reeltreble. Thanks cinnawiz :)
re: Reel Treble #40!
By seannettaPremium member
On Wed Jan 06, 2010 07:30 PM
Oh my goodness -- you live in Finland but your dance school is in France? That's amazing dedication!

Great interview!
re: Reel Treble #40!
By luckyclover1member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:04 PM
I thought I was unlucky only have 1 feis here a year....but one every 4 years?? wow! That's great you can travel by plane/train to get to other feisanna. :) congratulations on your slip jig place!!
re: Reel Treble #40!
By ScullyPAmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Jan 08, 2010 07:54 AM
Wow, you are very dedicated! Wonderful interview.
re: Reel Treble #40!
On Fri Jan 08, 2010 09:43 AM
Hey Teashark!
just want to say a big big thank you!!!

This girl is just the most dedicated and helpful I've ever met! !

re: Reel Treble #40!
By tippytippy123
On Fri Jan 08, 2010 01:04 PM
That's my big sis :)
re: Reel Treble #40!
By Crazy_Clairemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Jan 08, 2010 02:35 PM
Such an inspiring interview. I'm at University currently and find it difficult to juggle dance and studying, but I like the idea of alternating when you get fed up of one or the other. :)

re: Reel Treble #40!
By Teasharkmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:30 PM
I didnt even know this was online, until my friends (Kaarina and Marketta) told me today! :)
re: Reel Treble #40!
By Cinnawiz
On Sat Jan 09, 2010 02:01 PM
Edited by Cinnawiz (148620) on 2010-01-09 14:03:35
You mean you don't live and breathe DDN? *gasp*

Where have you been Ms. Teashark? :P
re: Reel Treble #40!
By Teasharkmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jan 10, 2010 10:08 AM
Sleeping, Eating, Dancing, Eating, Napping, Reading, Eating, Sleeping

Repeat that and you get a rough idea of my life :P I blame the vanished sun (we had around 5 hours of daylight around x-mas, and it is not much better now), the cold and the snow for my sleepiness. On the odd day, I go to work or teach, for the variation..
re: Reel Treble #40!
By thefonz1
On Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:45 PM
love the costume and well done on your acheivementsxx
re: Reel Treble #40!
By Teasharkmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jan 20, 2010 01:43 PM
Thank you :)
re: Reel Treble #40!
By ID_capes29
On Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:31 AM
Hey, I'm new to DDN and I just want to say that reel treble is such an awesome idea!! :) keep them coming cinnawiz.

ps. love the dress teashark ;)
re: Reel Treble #40!
By slip_jig_chick
On Sat Jan 30, 2010 07:31 AM
This is one of the best yet. Keep 'em coming!


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