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Saturday, May 18, 2013

It was a rough start ....to getting back into Highland Dance competitions

I wrote this article for the Scottish Society group here in our city, who wanted an article about Katie.

Katie decided to get back into competitions, after being gone for FIVE years.  Her last competition was when she was 10 years old.  When she found out that San Antonio was going to have a competition, she was eager to jump back in the ring.  She took lessons from Miss B .... (an amazing teacher, by the way!) for six weeks, and was ready for competition the first weekend in April.  Here is the story -- it involves spraining a certain girl's ankles... three times.

Katie became a Highland Dancer when she was six years old. She participated in her very first competition shortly after as a Primary dancer (the youngest group there is). There she learned how to count her pas de basques (16 in a row) and where her feet was to go exactly.  As her mother, I learned the sword dance, and taught the steps to Katie at home, so she would learn it at a faster pace in time for her first competition. After her very first dance competition, Katie would go on to compete for another four years in competitions all around the Midwest, often winning "Best Dancer" award, or "Most Promising Pre-Premier Dancer", and even a scholarship.

When Katie was 10 years old, her family moved from Missouri to San Antonio. There, she joined the San Antonio Scottish Society's Highland Dance group. She was able to share her talents and her love for Highland Dance with everyone. After taking a short break from competitions (OK, five years, really!), Katie started lessons with "Miss B".  In a funny twist, "B" taught Katie's first dance teacher when she was a teenager. Katie had taken several of Miss B's workshops when she was younger.

Katie's BFF Madison holds up a sign she made for Katie

When Miss B announced a dance competition was going to come to San Antonio, Katie decided to get back into competitions. She started her lessons again with Miss B in February of this year, and six weeks later, she was preparing for the San Antonio Highland Dance competition.
Katie as shown before the competition starts ... she was excited!

The big day arrived, and Katie was very prepared. Nervous, but excited! As she stood on stage to perform the Lilt, she took one step out, and when her foot landed, it landed at an odd angle. A gasp was heard from several people. Immediately, all could see she had hurt her ankle. She finished her dance, and limped over to where family & friends were sitting. Ice was applied immediately, and her ankle was wrapped. She went on to dance the Highland Fling, and did a beautiful job! The third dance was the sword dance. She asked me to help her with her leaps. So we walked to the grassy section of the grounds, and she took one giant leap to the right, and landed on the same ankle in a bad way. She fell to the ground.  I pleaded with her to stop ... it was OK to forfeit the dance. She had done a great job and had much to be proud of. However, Katie is a very determined girl. When she has her mind set on something, she is going to accomplish it. She walked on her ankle a bit more, and said "I'm fine ... let's walk to the other side and practice on the practice stage." After realizing little dancers were playing on the dance floor, she said "we can do it here on the grass .. it'll be fine." She took a leap to the left, and this time when she landed her foot down, a LOUD pop was heard,and she fell to the grass and was in dire pain. She looked up at me and cried "why?!"
 Katie dancing the Lilt -- the very next second is when she twisted her ankle the first time

By now, I was frantic, and could barely believe Katie had twisted both of her ankles THREE times that morning. What are the odds?! More ice was added to the other ankle, and that ankle was wrapped. Her turn was coming up quickly for the sword dance .. the dance that she had to perform with leaps. After speaking to Miss B, who assured her it was OK not to do the leaps she needed to do, she walked (limped) to the staging area. She gets on the stage, and starts the sword dance. Next thing we see, is Katie doing her leaps ... I am holding my breath, praying that Katie will have the strength to accomplish what her heart desires, and just to be able to get through this dance in one piece. Tears run down my face when I realized Katie did it .... Katie pulled through perfectly. Through all that pain.
Katie talking with her teacher, Miss B -- asking what to do about her Sword dance with her ankles as bad as they were. 
Miss B gives her a hug before she goes on the stage.



Katie performing the Sword dance 
Katie performs the Seann Triubhas

Katie danced one final dance, and did a beautiful job. All Katie wanted was a stamp. Of course, her eye was on the trophy, but at this point in the game, she just wanted to place in something so she could get a stamp on her dance card. To get a stamp on her card meant she was much closer to going into the next category. 

Katie's group was announced for medals. Seann Triubhas... Katie placed first. Sword Dance ... Katie placed first. Highland Fling... Katie placed first. The Lilt.. she was disqualified because she twisted her ankle. Best Dancer of the group? Katie! Imagine going back into serious practice in only six weeks, and walking away with a Best Dancer trophy of the group! The joy in Katie's face when her name was announced was worth it all. She was truly surprised. She was surprised by the strength she had in her. She said "I can do hard things!"

The first award she wins of the day

After all the awards are given, the Best Dancer award is yet to be awarded. 
Katie's name is being announced here -- see her smile?!


Katie with her dance teacher, Miss "B" after the competition

Katie suffered a second degree sprain in her left ankle, and a first degree sprain in her right ankle.  She had to skip the Houston Games which were held three weeks later because she was not ready, but she did participate in the Dallas games (which will be told in story in a few days!).  Way to go Katie!

Katie told me I had this wrong ... she twisted her right ankles twice, and her left ankle once.  Her left ankle was the worst!


On the way out of the Games, Katie & Maddie both spied with their little eye, my picture of Katie leaping in the air on someone's vehicle!

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