Overnight Dance Camp

This morning my husband & I dropped our daughter off at her first week long over night dance camp. We were surprised when we got the invitation because she was a level four dancer and the overnight camp was usually restricted to level 5 and above. At our school dancers are placed in their weekly classes by levels according to how many years they have danced IE: Marina’s a level 4 so this was her fourth year of Irish dance. For this year’s camp however our director felt she had a strong group of dancers going from levels 4 to 5 and invited them along. Marina jumped at the chance to go and we thought it would be a really good opportunity for her to work with Micheal Ryan from Ireland and get some very intense training – not to mention having fun along the way. The past two weeks leading up to the camp have been a roller coaster ride to say the least. There was the excitement of getting the roomate she wanted, the planning of how to decorate the dorm room, what to take and purchasing the big girl suitcase. Yesterday as we were packing for the week her mood seemed to go from excited to nervous to downright scared. The tears started flowing at 10:30 last night and continued until she cried herself out at midnight. Try I might I could not console her. Would she not have fun? Didn’t she get the roommate she wanted? Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? Ooops wrong story. No – all was well it that department but she was going to miss her father and me and was dreading watching us walk away from her. God I’m going to miss that when she’s a teenage in a few years and will look forward to being away from me (us)! The best I could do was reassure her that she was with friends in a safe environment and while it would be a lot of dancing it would be alot of fun too. It would be diffeent for mom & dad too as she is our only child and we’ve never been apart for this long in the almost 9 years we’ve had her. I told her to take one day at a time and look at each night as an individual sleepover. Besides we are leaving for a family vacation the evening camp ends and she’ll be stuck with mom & dad for a week. I won’t lie – I was feeling guilty. Maybe she was too young for a week long overnight camp. Maybe we should not have let her go this year but if we didn’t think she could handle it we wouldn’t have considered it.

This morning went off without a hitch (Thank God) and although I knew she was still nervous she seemed to be handling things well. She was especially relieved when I told her I had signed up to work a lunch shift and a dinner shift on two separate days so she would see me during camp. As for me – I’m suddenly exhausted and want to go back to bed. I think I was more nervous for her than I wanted to let on but I know she’s in good hands and with a great roommate and will be fine. I’m fulling expecting to hear good things when I go in to help with lunch tomorrow.

Secretly though I am relieved that she’s occupied this week. I’ve been asked to write a major story on Terry Gillan and Philip Owens two of Irish Dance’s movers & shakers who have recently opened their own school, Gilleoghan, in Connecticut. Look for it in the next issue of Irish Dance Magazine! ‘Til next time – Slainte!

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