Our weekend is now over. Sadness. But we had a really good time. I guess no one ever wants the good times to end.
We arrived in Ottawa on Friday afternoon, and met S, D, R and my mom at the Ottawa Congress Centre, which is where S would be competing on Saturday in the 2007 North American Irish Dance Championships. We took some time to get a feel for the venue, see in which hall S would be dancing, and buy a few items from various Irish vendors. Ru, Signal, my mom and I then headed to our hotel to check in while S had a last private lesson with his coach before Saturday's competition. We all went out to supper at Irish Village, which is a group of pubs in downtown Ottawa. It was fun, but packed with other dancers, parents, and teachers, so it made for a rather loud night. I guess that's what happens when 2600 dancers and their families descend on a downtown core for 5 days! After a yummy supper, we all headed our separate ways so we would be well-rested for Saturday's events.
S danced in the Boys Under 16 competition on Saturday morning (and afternoon, I suppose. It's a long affair...) His first round was hardshoe, and the U16 boys did treble jig. By luck of the draw, S had to dance first in the hardshoe round. He did very well and looked great on stage, although after coming off told me he had ended up on the wrong foot at one point. I didn't see it, but there are three judges, so I suppose one of them might have.
While S was on stage for his first round, Signal wasn't paying any attention at first. Then, the music started and he looked towards the front. Well, he recognizes S on stage and started waving fanatically while grunting excitedly. Ru tried to tell Signal that S was too busy to wave back right then, but there isn't much reasoning with a 7 month old.
His second dance was his reel, and luckily he danced in the middle of the pack that round. His reel looked excellent - he covered lots of the stage and really looked like he belonged up there. I'm guessing that some of the nervousness from the first round had subsided as well. We were all really proud.
Once the second round was done, we dragged a reluctant S upstairs to have his picture taken by the professional photographer on site for the championships. He wasn't too keen on the idea, but really, a first international competition must be commemorated, no? And Granny would have been very sad if we hadn't managed to convince him. She needs a photo to go on top of her TV! While waiting for his turn with the photographer, I managed to get these photos of him. Doesn't he look happy?
After the photos, we headed back down to the hall his competition was taking place in to find out if S had made it into the third round of competition. He did not, but again, it was his first international, and by far the largest comp he had ever participated in. He was up against 28 other boys his age. To put that in perspective, at regionals, there were 3 in his competition. So it was truly a whole new ballgame.
We then stuck around to watch S' fellow competitors dance their third rounds. There were some really amazing dancers. The boy who ended up winning the competition had an outstanding third round - he was really great to watch. The dancer who came in third was also spectacular. It was great to get to see all those talented male dancers. If you're interested in the results from the entirety of the 2007 North American Irish Dance Championships, you can find them here.
Competition done, we headed for a tasty dinner at Mexicali Rosa's. Mmmmm. Mexican. Enough said. I chowed down on the most delectable beef burrito. Just thinking about it makes me want to go back to Ottawa. We then went back to R's apartment and futzed around on his computer. My mom, D, and S teamed up to take the Test the Nation IQ test. That's right. They did it as a team. It was hysterical. I think they ended up doing okay, but in this case, we weren't sure that three heads were really better than one!
On Sunday morning, we all headed to Zak's Diner for brunch before going our separate ways. If you are ever in Ottawa and want food at any time of day for a reasonable price, head to Zak's. It's boisterous, but the food was really tasty and our server was great. We highly recommend it! We of course had to take the requisite Signal and Oma picture for the blog as a last huzzah. I hope you think this one is okay, Mom! I think you look lovely.
So there you go. We had a great weekend. Now, we're all secretly (okay, clearly not so secretly) hoping that S qualifies for Nationals again next year. They're being held in Nashville! What an account that would be.