Vancouver Convention Centre, an amazing facility by Canada Place, right on the seawall. All the other feis I'd been to had been at hotels, the hallways choked with dancers and spectators, but this one at least felt like it had sufficient room for the hundreds of dancers who'd come from as far away as Mexico and Australia.
Irish dance competitions feel like a strange mash-up between a track meet and fashion pageant; gym bags and water bottles are everywhere, and competitors not about to dance are divided between those applying stage makeup or false eyelashes to each other, and girls in t-shirts and shorts warming up or practicing their steps. It's all a bit surreal at times, but the amount of focus and determination in the air is positively palpable.
Another dressmaker promoted her work with a brilliant dress dedicated to the host city:
And a larger merch selection than most concerts.
As far as the dance itself went, the girls were happy to be the first of 33 scheduled competitors. They kept things tight and made no major errors, so they were happy, as was their teacher, Lori. Their goal was a modest one - don't come in last, and they didn't.
Afterwards, we killed some time taking photos around the convention centre, which also hosts the sculpture "Digital Orca."
And even the dance dads got in on one of the shots (with a little prompting)...
Afterwards, the girls changed into their team jackets and headed off down Burrard Street for dinner. If the huge hair and stage makeup weren't enough to turn heads along the way, what looked like roving glam-gangs probably was.