Check out that crowd!
Here’s the dance floor in front of the main stage at the “BIG Irish Fair” in Irvine, California, where your Irish Pride Dancers got the opportunity to perform for a ton of brand new faces. Look at all those cell phones and cameras pointed at US! We were so honored!!!
Here’s the scoop:
Battle of the Dance closed down last Wednesday, much to my disappointment since I was hired as part of the Irish dance ensemble there 6 weeks ago (which is also the reason you haven’t seen a blog post from me in ages). Even though I was a full-time dancer at BotD, I would never have abandoned my beloved Irish Pride Dancers! Just, y’know…less bloggage and Facebooking. Anyway, BotD was supposed to be dancing on the main stage at this festival in between the two headlining bands, the Young Dubliners and The Fenians while they changed over their instruments, to keep the crowd from disbanding. Once we all knew BotD didn’t exist anymore and wasn’t going to be dancing the festival, a few off-hand comments were passed my way about possibly having Irish Pride Dancers take BotD’s place on the main stage - let me just say here that Terry Anderson, Grand Poobah of the Irish Fair Foundation, has been running this event for over 35 years and is VERY particular about his performers (and even more particular about what his performers cost, but that’s a-whole-nother story ;), and he was rather put-out when he found out last minute that BotD wasn’t going to be there.
That said, nothing got set in stone for IPD to come dance at the fair, which was really just as well because the dance school that most of us teach for (the Aniar Academy of Irish Dance) was running the feis part of the fair (veteran Irish dancers will understand the dramatic implications of that statement) and we were all going to be running around like headless chickens anyway running stages and catering to adjudicators.
Except I got a text message last Friday night (read: THE NIGHT BEFORE THE FAIR) around 10pm saying it would still be awesome if my dancers could take over those 15 minute spots on the main stage to keep the crowds entertained between bands.
!$^#^@%^&%&#%^&#$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHY DIDN’T I TAKE THE EARLIER RUMBLINGS MORE SERIOUSLY?
Long story short, I threw it up on our IPD staff page for everyone to bring their Sportkilts and shoes all weekend, and we would do what we could with what we had. It ended up being just Ka-Ce, Calen, and myself for the Saturday shows. Words cannot describe how long 15 minutes is when you’ve only got 2.5 dancers (Calen is the .5 since he’s is one of our newer dancers and doesn’t know all the choreography yet) to work with. Oh, did I forget to mention it was 99,000 degrees with about 1,000% humidity out there? We did more like 7 minutes of dancing, but it was better than nothing.
Our beloved Young Dubliners, who have been so instrumental in our success thus far, asked us to dance with them during their set. We were exhausted but really, how could we say no? And our very dear friends Brick Top Blaggers asked us to come in between sets and do our signature number with them to their version of South Australia. We couldn’t say no to those guys either, since they have become our partner-in-crime-band (and they let us crash their merch booth with all our gear), so it was quite a day. Torrey and Bekah joined us for our Sunday shows, so it was the original 4 Irish Pride Dancers on Sunday to do a bit of a longer show. Both the Young Dubliners and The Fenians asked us to dance with them during their sets on Sunday - we’ve never danced with The Fenians before, and they have some ties with some bigger deal world champion Irish dancers than we are, so that was a huge compliment to us!!!
All in all, it was a hugely successful weekend. Our stage manager, Jim, kept telling us how impressed he was with our last-minute ability to put together something that looked so smooth, and he said he would be putting in a very good word for us with Mr. Terry Anderson…and he expects us to be asked back next year! That would be AMAZING - we’re anticipating being asked back to the Pomona Irish Fair in March, and it would be fantastic to have both local Irish fairs on the books! Regardless, we had an absolute BLAST this weekend, and we’re so thankful for the opportunity to spend some good hangout time with our good friends from Anita and the Yanks and the California Celts as well.
Next on the agenda is putting our press packet together and getting that sent out to some more local events. I am SO AMAZED at how fast and how far we have grown! I’m so proud of all of us!!!
(Warning - shameless plug alert…) If you’ve got an event that needs some Irish Pride, give us a holler at firstname.lastname@example.org, or just hit the ask!