All 4 stages for our dances are in one area. I had been sort of cranky earlier in the week that Thalia's dances were scheduled to be scattered over 3 stages, which is typically tough to keep track of, especially if the stages are in separate rooms. But, hey, we realized Friday night that everything is in the same room, so maybe that seemingly bad scheduling won't be so bad.
All 4 stages are in one area ... and it isn't a particularly big area. Isn't there some sort of metric to tell the minimum cubic feet necessary to accommodate X number of dancers on X number of stages? Because on the night before the feis (Friday night) Thalia and I were looking over the setup, and trying to picture how this was going to work, and we just couldn't see this being anything but a mess.
Did I mention that all 4 stages are in one area? One SMALL area? That idea I had that we could look across the room and see what Stage 3 was on while we were sitting in front of Stage 2? There are so many people packed into the place that you can't even see the sign for Stage 3. You can barely fight your way in and out of the room. Egads. What an intimate setting. I can't tell you the number of complaints I heard in passing.
Here's what's a shame -- they had a big pavilion available where everyone could spread out. But there wasn't signage indicating that people could go out there and dump all their stuff there. Also, plenty of room in the pavilion to hang out and wait for a dancer's competition level to begin, BUT the pavilion was a hike from the stages, and there was no way to tell what was going on at the stages when you were at the pavilion. Some sort of large screen that showed what competition was happening on which stage would've been really handy. Clarkson does this at the An Samhra feis, so it's not like people would have to invent new technology -- the stage managers at An Samhra enter the info on laptops as they're running the stage.
So we sat at the stages so we could keep track of what was going on.
Notice the squishiness of that photo? Annabeth is sitting in row 2 of the 3 rows of seats provided.
There's a shot of row 3, then some people packed behind them, standing there watching the dancing. See that guy in the white and green shirt facing the other way? He's standing right behind the 3 rows of the stages on the OTHER side of the room. HELLO, WE ARE A TIN OF SARDINES.
Anyway, setting aside the space problems (and, wow, it's hard to think about anything else when thinking about this feis) there was some weirdness with the timing on Stage 3. I didn't ever quite catch on what the problem was, since all anyone was talking about was how small the room was. Someone said a couple of judges flights were cancelled. ?? Thalia said they didn't want the stage to run too fast, so they had to take a break ... ?? ... then she checked in, sat around waiting for about 20 minutes (not a bad deal, since there was more room in the checked-in seating area than anywhere else) because apparently they were waiting for people from Stage 5. Then the kids were lined up on stage to dance ... then stood there for quite a long time. Thalia revealed that she positioned herself to dance first because she thought her feet would probably fall asleep from standing there so long.
And after all of that waiting, waiting, and more waiting, she got a 1st in that dance. So that was pretty cool.
As the day wore on several people left -- the beginners danced first, so all of them cleared out by late morning. Then it was time for lunch. We had packed a lunch, so Annabeth had time to practice on stage with some of her friends during the break.
(We think the foot movement on that photo is fun.)
And then suddenly things were whipping along. Thalia and Annabeth danced Slip Jig at the exact same time on adjacent stages -- this exact same thing happened at the An Samhra feis last year. Sort of a weird coincidence. Also, their Treble Jigs competed at the same time, although they didn't dance at the exact same time.
That's the Treble Jig lineup. Thalia is with the tall kids on the righthand stage -- she's just to the left of the girl in pink. Annabeth is with the short kids -- she's 3rd from the right of the shorties.
In the end, Thalia's had some good results, Annabeth had mediocre results, and we survived. I'm sure Graham will learn from the experience and try something different next year. I'm sure we all hope they do.