Good lord, I think it is a curse to make promises via your blog. Seriously, any time I say I'm going to do something on here, I fail. I swear, I am very productive and DO finish things, but there is a Blogger Curse going around- you've been warned. I have not finished my previous craft project, but it's only because I left one of my tools at the in-laws and have failed miserably to get it back. What would it take for me to get it? Ask. Geez.
Anyway, someone once told me that January 23rd is the Worst Day of the Year. She was a meteorologist and a psychologist, and something about the weather and the lack of any holiday/vacation time adds up to a horrible day. I wouldn't say that today is my worst day of the year, but I am definitely feeling like I need a vacation! It is only the third week of the term, and I am already OVER IT. I'm sure this is just a temporary feeling, but at this moment it feels very worth mentioning.
I titled this post dance because I had two dance performances this weekend. The first was Saturday night and it took place at the Oregon Piper's Society meeting. Once a month they meet up, host a guest piper, and I believe they even host a competition. They invited some Highland dancers to come out, so several teachers got their students together. This was really fun for me because one of my younger students performed along side me. It was really fun to be dancing a group Fling at the end and look down to see my own student jumping around.
The other performance was last night, where we had the honor of performing with Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas. Alasdair is a professional fiddler (Natalie plays the cello), and he is amazing. So talented, warm, friendly and passionate about what he does. He has four fiddle camps (2 in California, one in Scotland and one in Spain!!), and travels the world "following his fiddle". The goal of his show is to take his audience on a journey, and he does a fabulous job of giving them some history and insight into what and why he is playing. Sitting in the audience, I was reminded why I do what I do, and how truly amazing Highland Dance is. We often get so focused on competition (and who am I kidding, I love competition), and the technical side of dance that sometimes we lose focus of the amazing history and culture that we are a part of. And as much as I love and respect bagpipes, dancing to something else is a great feeling. It reminds me that I am a dancer first and foremost; a competitor second.
The first dance we did was a choreography number that a couple of my friends choreographed and posted online for anyone to learn. Alastair agreed that if he toured somewhere where there were dancers, they were welcome to perform that dance on stage with him. So we learned (and tweaked) the dance, and ended up at his show. We closed out the first half with that number, and during intermission he mentioned how much he would love if we popped up on stage and improvised. So during his final number, we did it! We just jumped up there and I shouted out steps for everyone to do. We ended with a Jig step and incredibly, our last STOMP was the exact moment they finished playing. It was SO meant to be!
On a side note, I would like to mention that when I danced with Nancy Mandish, she had an entire warm up routine created to several of Alasdair's older albums. If you have ever had a dance lesson with Nancy you would recognize Alastair's older music in a heartbeat! Trust me, listen to a couple tunes on iTunes (The Road North and Dawn Dance were the albums she and I use). When we showed up he said "do any of you even know anything about my music?" (mostly in a joking way) and he was really pleased to hear that I knew his albums and had been dancing to them for almost twenty years.
Later I realized what a "full circle" moment I had last night- when I was ten years old and stretching on the barre, chatting away with Colleen or Joy, I had no idea that almost twenty years later I would be dancing on stage with Alasdair himself. It just goes to show the amazing journey that dance can take you on, if you allow yourself to follow it. Below is the choreography number, posted by an awesome audience member.