Dance! - The Road to Heavies: lesson 66, May 22, 2015
The Light Jig... (sigh) the performance and... Yes! FINALLY! The Saint Patrick!
We start with the Reel and that goes well. I'm surprised my left leg isn't throwing a fit, as it has been firing unexpected cramps at me all day already.
The Light Jig however quickly takes a turn for the worst and the cramps start in the leg that wasn't bothering me a moment ago.
The teacher has a problem with one of her knees and thus has got taped (or applied that herself, I don't know). One of the girls also starts applying sports-tape and one of the others, who already has a few long pieces of tape applied to one of her legs, even seems to be showing off. She proudly shows it to everyone and it almost feels like you're not part of the group when you don't have tape stuck to your body somewhere.
The dress of one of the 'taped' girls also changes owner. I can't tell what the price is, but it most likely won't be cheap. The better wig, judging by my teachers' comments it's good quality for the price, is about 90 Euro. Of course, being a male I hardly paid any interest in that whole world, but it's nice to just catch the conversation.
The Saint Patrick...
And than, it's time for the dance that is still so troublesome. I get some time to practice in the hall outside and when I fail to dance it in whole at normal speed, I resort to lowering the speed. With the music 10 slowed down 10 percent I start. The set goes alright, changing feet after the tip-down-steps is still a disaster and all the thinking doesn't help, but then...
I get to the rocks and suddenly understand how I should hear them. It feels like (for me) like they are not danced at the same speed, probably down to the fact that my teacher said something like 'and rock and rock', where the first rock is basically connected to placing your left leg behind your right, considering I start rocking with the right foot, as I'm not too sure about that yet.
Again! I walk back to a good spot in the hall, start the tune from the beginning and start moving. The first steps go well, I get through the beginning of the set and although changing feet still is troublesome, I manage to get back into the rhythm for the rocks. I rock completely to the music and then finish with the trebles. I do finish slightly early, but now finally understand the timing. I finish and shortly hold position.
After that, I frantically start jumping up and down. YEEEEEEES! YEEEEEEEES! FI-NAL-LY!!! I shout out loud. I'm jumping around like an idiot and I even scare my fellow beginner, who just came into the hall. She asks what's going on. It probably looked completely idiotic, but I really can't be happier. I finally managed to at least time the steps!
This unfortunately doesn't last, because back in the room I just suck, but at least I'm slowly going forward. It doesn't help that I kick myself in the right shin at the first few steps of the set. A sharp pain hits me when I press it and I stop to investigate how bad it is. Touching and rubbing the area I can't find anything special and eventually I can continue dancing. It does create a nice lump and a crust from the graze a day later. It's not special anymore, I have gotten used to it.
Something completely different that strikes me today: The T-shirt I'm wearing and I once got at work, is a total disaster. It's fine in the beginning but once I start to warmp up and thus start to break a sweat the more I feel how the shirt starts to get soaked and is starting to feel more heavy.
That's a thing to remember... let's not wear this T-shirt again for danceclass...
Sound-recording with music and shoes
This time I also record the sound of the shoes, to layer it with the music later on. Otherwise I got completely lost just listening to the music, which surprised myself the most. I had no idea when to start on my heavy shoes. I could identify my steps from the Reel, but the rest... Besides I still have trouble in general finding the point to start moving on my heavies. When in soft-shoes I'm fine, but my first step of a Treble Jig or Saint Patrick still is a slightly panicky move as I start a tad too late. That contributes to a lot more trouble when you have to 4 single steps and have to start on time every single step.
Recording it proves to be the right thing to do, I was about 8 bars too early. I already got the feeling the dance took longer during practice, longer than I had practiced in class and my feeling is right.
Back home I immediately try to put the shoes and music together. Well, 8 hours and numerous edits to the shoes' sound later it still sounds like a mess, but the original is even worse and sounds like a bunch of people is dancing on a box filled with feathers. Especially the lack of reverb of the room we're dancing in kills the illusion that you're listening to a bunch of Irish dancers. It sounds dull, flat and short.
Added to it are the sound of the shoes that quickly drown in the music.
After editing to get the sound of the shoes at least as equal as possible (as not every hit is as loud as the others) I even remove a large part of the low tones, amplify the highs, then put some gain over it to get the shoes to sound a bit more fierce, then remove the slightly hearable music from the shoe-sound, and mix it with the music.
But no, it still sounds ridiculuous.
I eventually turn down the music so you at least can hear the shoes clearly. But other than that it still does not sound like a performance.
I let my brother listen to it, who immediately says that it's most likely down to the lack of reverb that makes it sound so dull. That was my thought exactly, but the 'Reverb' option in GoldWave is lacking options and is therefor not that strong.
I separate both files again, get a compressor (or something, can't remember) and do use a 'Reverb'.
With a 'Room' reverb of nearly 1,5 seconds at 16% of the original volume the shoes alone sound exaggerated and even like people are dancing in a metal can. But when I mix this with the music the result is finally right. Now it sounds like you are listening to 4 pairs of heavies in a well-sized room.