"Welcome to Atlanta." Everyone, including the homeless, were very hospitable in Atlanta. One of the bellhops at our hotel said this to us, as he opened the doors.
"I've been to this hotel three times hoping to find see someone!" V, as she and M ran up to hug each other hello.
"Ahhhhhhhh, look, look!" Various dancers from M's school, as they discovered the surprise ad in the program book, with all of their baby photos in it, and were excited to share it with the others in their school.
"How come you can go three states away, and you still know people?" A friend, LF, who was dining with others from his adult, mixed 4-hand ceili team, after we did a quick hug and "kiss, kiss" greeting. He and I both laughed, while I used his cell phone to call M at the Decades Party as mine couldn't get a signal inside that restaurant. M, OHBoy, and Am went to the party, but an hour into it, they were bored with the d.j. switching from playing decades music. I'm glad their was that option, however. Many then went into the pool and hot tub.
"Do you know if there's a dance store around here?" A parent who didn't realize her daughter needed black tights, not bubble socks (which an Oireachtas vendor DID carry).
"Do you know what those numbers mean by the Round numbers?" OHBoy's mother asked on Saturday, and I couldn't recall at the time. Later, I remembered and told her that it indicates the competitor # that the particular round will start with. For example, if there are 76 dancers in a competition, 1-76, for Round 1, they may start with competitor # 17. This would mean that they'd go competitor #'s 17-76, then competitor #'s 1-16. Round 2 would start with a different competitor #, ditto for Round 3.
"Care for a Moonpie?" Z&B himself, to a woman as we watched figures teams. Some of ours did well, some not as well. (Friday night, M and V were the first official recipients of the first official Moonpies for the SRO 2007. I promised Z&B, however, that I'd not share his photo publically.)
"Where can we cross?" Various LSU, Tenn, and SRO fans, who were somehow surprised to discover that Atlanta had their BIG Christmas parade Saturday morning. "It's scheduled to end at noon; can you watch and wait 9 more minutes?" Some could. M was too excited inside, absorbing the Oireachtas itself, seeing her friends dance and others. I didn't wish to come to Atlanta and not see any of it. "The" parade passed in front of the Oireachtas hotel, down Peachtree, so I did catch about 25 minutes of it. (I don't believe I've ever seen so many adults in solid orange, including jeans, nor in purple with yellow. Teams, I tell you, Irish Dance school teams, and the SEC football teams.)
"We want to surprise our granddaughters." Grandparents of young Maple Irish Dance School dancers, whom I overheard in the street outside, and I pointed them to the tall tower of the Westin building and showed them the stage schedule. I heard that they later asked, inside, "Can you help me find where the Maple Leafs are performing?" They arrived in time.
"You're the ones with the baby pictures?" The mother of a U13 boy who got 9th place at Nationals this past summer, and had feised with M later in the summer (him sweeping). Not clear if anyone else from his school attended or not, but his parents and I chatted briefly again. I also talked with the mother of a local U13 boy from another ID school.
"Wow!" OlderJ's mother, as we sat in the balcony overlooking his stage. He'd just performed his traditional set dance, The Hunt. WOW indeed, just absolutely amazing. Enough to impress his own mother even:)
"I'm so happy for you, I could cry." Dancer from our school, literally crying for her friends Saturday night for having recalled AND qualified for National. One of our friends did not recall, okay with it for having been injured a bit ago and this her first Oireachtas, and was excited for recalling with her figures team. Sunday night, the crying girl's first Oireachtas, SHE was recalled, wiping her eyes onstage. Ahh:)
"We waited this long, for THIS?" A mother yelling at her daughter. The girl had had her competition number posted as having recalled, but she was not called onto the stage. The daughter then hid a bit, waringly, behind a friend, as her mother approached the stage and signed the girls competitor #. "Sorry, we overlooked one dancer. [first and last name], competitor # [#], got [placement]. Please come up on the stage." She received her medal then, and I clapped hard as did some others. I still feel badly for her.
"I just want what's fair." A TCRG, who ended up discussing the results of a particular competition with a director of the SRO 2007. I appreciate that this TCRG did this, not just for the dancer in that TCRG's ID school, who questioned the results, as this TCRG was as concerned about other dancers not in her school, also, but in general. There was some blatant concern, and there was a strong appearance of politics. Was there, or was there not? DID it still work out, mathematically? This TCRG is going via proper channels to see. Nothing against the dancer being questioned, however, who is a fantastic dancer with a not best day, nor the dancer's family, nor that dancer's ID school, so I won't post further details publically. It is, however, a "sound bite" I take from this Oireachtas, as having importance along with some related conversation.
"Did you hear what happened to me?" OHBoy, Sunday, rather brightly, after we YAWN, missed his first (hard shoe) round. He was all prepared for dancing Hornpipe. Thankfully, he didn't dance first in his hard shoe round, and was able to discover, hey, they are playing jigs, and dancing jigs. Ma was there, Ma was somehow seemingly at every single competition for her dancers this weekend, and if not, tried to. Apparently, she was able to talk with OHBoy, and hey, he'd learned a third jig step a couple weeks ago, and danced what he knew. He seemed okay with it. He'd prepared his reel and traditional set (usually, for boys competitions, there are so few competitors, that all recall and must be prepared to dance a traditional set). I watched his competition, and the U13 boys (two have danced at feiseanna with M in the past). OHBoy ended up placing 5th, qualifying for Nationals, and getting a sash. He even broke a smidgen of a smile going up on stage Sunday night for this.
"Just so you know, K didn't recall. I know y'all know what to do." "Should I go talk with her?" Ah, LessConformingGirl's dad told us the news. LCGirl didn't recall, either, even if she AND K both truly looked good just with really tough competition. K was a little sad during awards that night. LCGirl had told me Saturday night that it was over for her. I talked with her, sincerely. Not because of my talk,but in general, she was fine by Sunday when we heard K had not recalled. At least K's 4-hand team recalled:)
"....you're not competing against others, you're competing against yourself." A mother I overheard talking with a girl she was walking with, presumably her daughter after not recalling. While I agree generally that one competes against oneself, this IS technically a competition against others, and so the Oireachtas is a bit of both. Not sure if that matters, though. The girl was calm, and was obviously supported emotionally by her mother. THAT is what counts more.
"So, if there are only three groups in Choreography, do they automatically get at least third?" Another parent, basically trying to figure out if her son would need to be in costume and present for awards Sunday night. M's team did a great job. Basically, it's a lot of work to create and prepare a choreography or a dance drama, including a lot of practice time in addition to any other practices and dances learned. That's part of the reason that there were only three entries in their age range (U-15). The school who won first, to me, clearly won that first. The school that won second could have tied with M's school, from what I could tell (slight lineup issue once each). Beautiful, nicely done, yet with arm movements that I didn't know if it should have been more in dance drama or not, vice choreography. The five judges were under no requirement to award placement to all who competed. M's team did get up there and performed well, fit the rules of the competition, and did earn their award. They received third. Even if it's out of three potential placements, they earned that third place.
"That's the best we've ever danced it." The other girl in the mixed 4-hand ceili of M's. They really did look good. Both Ma and FiguresTeacher were surprised that their team didn't recall. I am, also. Ah, well. Five judges. Theirs was the only jig, so danced alone and not with another team. They were disappointed but okay.
Please note: No photos, still or video, are allowed of competitions during competitions. This was taken AFTER the judges rang the bell, releasing the dancers off stage and completing their competition. I'm still proud:) (Also, the date stamp is wrong, sigh, OHBoy's mother thought she had auto-flash on her camera but it was off and she had no photos (I sent her some), and I had M's digital camera and didn't know at the time how to take off or fix the incorrect date. Hey, we're not from the technologically-savvy generations!)
"Is that your medal? Don't lose it, your thousand dollar medal." "Thousand dollar medal?" "Yes, that's about what it cost [to travel here]." Parents and dancers after awards, dance gear and medals strewn about, while waiting for two Nationally-qualifying friends to pick up their results / scores.
"Can we go up the tower?" It was one "Atlanta" thing I could have M do, other than visiting "the" Underground for food (basically a mall like Crystal City underground, just smaller I think). They went up to the Sundial, a restaurant that spins around 73 floors up, and M and others could view Atlanta lit up at night. For the most part, the elevators were insanely not even worth waiting for.
"Inspire, not intimidate." MegaMAID on Sunday night, after some dancers and parents had gathered for ice cream. MegaMAID is hopeful that is how the dancers who came to SRO 2007 feel.
"Welcome to Washington." Me, as the Floridian next to us woke up after we landed at Washington Reagan National Airport. Later, I saw her change out of her flip flops.
"I liked your choreography." A National-qualifying dancer from another local ID school, who flew in on the same flight as us. She'd tried to be discrete as she turned her head to read the ID school name printed going down M's sleeve.
"I preferred it [the weather in] in Atlanta." M Monday afternoon, as we battled 40-50 mph winds while taking our luggage to my vehicle. "I can feel the moisture in the air." Also M, who noticed like I did and others as to how very dry it felt in the hotels in Atlanta. We're home, and that feels good, too. (For the record, today it SNOWED!!!)
And, then the non-sound moments worth remembering:
The practially fainting anticipation of a parent, practically sliding down the post she was leaning against, then happiness, as we waited to hear her daughter's name called. And waited. And waited. The announcer starts with the recalled dancer who placed furthest, leading up to those who placed first (sometimes after calling up those who are in the very top top). Every name called that was not her daughter's name, meant one placement higher. Finally, this girls name was called, barely into the Nationally-qualifing dancers for her competition. Their goal this year.
The big, sincere hug from friend LF after I went up to congratulate him and his ceili-teammates on their 1st place win.
The surprise on the face of the champion dancer who won the competition that appeared questionable, again, a superb dancer of apparent good character just as the others in that competition are, as far as I know, just seemed potentially political.
The trying not to be sad face of K during awards, who brightened when her friend, also a K, sat with her, them playing "draw a letter on my back and I'll guess what it is" quiet games, happily.
The entrancement of, and standing ovation by, the audience watching the Billy the Kid dance drama. "Udderly" fantastic.
The beaming faces on M, and others, after going on stage for their Southern Region Oireachtas 2007 medals. (Seems the boys didn't make it onstage -- there were I believe 16 dancers total.)