One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

July 15, 2009

Summer Performances

So every summer, my fellow (and more senior) belly dancer troupe put on 3 big summer performances. There are always littler performances throughout the year – Canada day, community associations’ park festivals, fireworks festivals, etc. But these 3 big summer performances orbit the local Shakespearean troupe’s performances, we get to make use of their big tent and their professional sound and lightening equipment and technicians and it is quite a big deal and also fabulous.

Last year, Canada Day was my first performance and then we did the Shakespeare gigs. It was kind of getting thrown into the deep end. My group’s first real taste of performance was the backstage, running, scrambling costume changes, panic, drama stuff. I was about ready to puke backstage. When we did our number and I was supposed to raise my hand in the air for the choreography, I was trembling so much I was doing a “finger shimmy”.

We did our first big tent performance of the year last night. And, while I had a lot of moments during the day where I was like, “Okay, this is HARD. I don’t want to hang around all day doing hard things. Can I go home and nap now cause I’m feeling nervous and avoidant” there was certainly no feeling like I was going to puke, no trembling. It was, actually, a pretty enjoyable evening.

It really has been hard though. We’ve had rehearsals every thursday since early spring. There were a couple of weeks where we fit in Monday rehearsals too. This last Saturday we did dress rehearsals from 10am to 9pm and then on Sunday from 2pm to 6pm. Then on Monday, we met at the tent for a cue to cue sound and light check, then a two hour full dress rehearsal which finished one hour before the audience was admitted for the show, then the show. (And around all this, delousing the kids and cleaning and fixing up the house to sell it.)

Also, a week and a half ago we (the junior group) learned we were expected to have, make or borrow a gold bra and belt set for the finale. We had actually asked earlier in the year if we should be working on one and were told we probably wouldn’t need to, don’t worry about it. And while there were people willing to lend costumes, three of us are ridiculously proud, perfectionist and protective of personal space. So we ended up making our costumes in less than ten days. During the sound/lighting check and dress rehearsal, we were stitching between dancing, joking about how we had until 9:00 to finish. Then the other dancers would say, “what? The show’s at 8 and we’re supposed to be backstage made up and ready by 7” and we’d say, “yes, but we don’t have to be in THIS costume until the finale which will be about 9:45.” And then during the dress rehearsal finale, on the final “flip-arms-dip-up-and-pose” two of us came up on the pose shouting, “AUGH my bra!” as straps popped off. OMG, too awesome. Luckily we still had half an hour before we were supposed to be backstage and ready. Hah.

And, indeed, we were doing last minute fixes on someone’s bra straps right before going onstage. And my costume was completely untested.

And yet, I wasn’t super-stressed. I’m told I smiled good.

I think I’ve made a lot of progress as a dancer in the last year, and if I stop to analyze, I think it’s all been in the attitude. I haven’t done much work on my technique. But I’ve worked pretty hard on my self-assurance. And, yes, ridiculous things like my smile.

And, really, every little performance, with its host of unknowns (stage, sound, lighting, weather) and variable crowds (enthused/bored/sparse/TOO-interested) has given me a better laissez-faire attitude. I don’t worry about how I’m going to handle everything because I’ve seen enough and had enough ridiculous things happen that I know a) you just deal with them when they happen and b) the laissez-faire attitude is pretty much your only weapon against the unknown. The only wrong response is to freeze. You have to start by loosening up and just dancing and enjoying it, then you deal with disaster by just continuing to dance and enjoy it. And then it pretty much doesn’t matter to anyone.

Anyhow, no pictures yet. I think Ian might come to the next show and take pictures.

I’m going to leave you with a link to this ridonkulously cute music video that I saw today. I couldn’t find it on YouTube to embed it. But, so you know, it’s worth the click-through and the director deserves the traffic. So go, go and watch it now. It’s lovely. Tonight, Rachel sat on my lap and watched it the whole way through and then said, “find me another song just like it.” I wish I could.

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2 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. Howdy, Megan. I’m the director of the Crayola video, and here’s a link to the video on youtube so you can embed it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EELEjeYzfjM Thanks so much for linking to it so far, and I appreciate you sharing it with all of your friends. We just released it YESTERDAY!

    Best wishes and good luck finding your colors!

    Cheers,
    Ballard C. Boyd

    Reply
  2. scheherezhade

     /  2009-07-15

    Something I was noticing the other night is that in addition to the smile and the face, how good a performer looks has a lot to do with how she moves her shoulders, how relaxed her shoulders and torso are. One of the senior dancers that I was watching — no idea who she is — who, in addition to being ridiculously skinny, holds her torso and shoulders very stiffly. She’s pretty, and I think she’s probably technically quite good, but she looked stiff and a little awkward, like she wasn’t very comfortable in her skin. Also, during the lights-on-heads dance, one of the other senior dancers (who I really should know by now, she’s older, straight brown hair, a little dumpy) in the back row, looked like she was afraid the tray would fall off her head. Her shoulders were tensed and up a little and it made her look awkward. Of course, as I said to Roman, maybe she had sore neck or shoulder muscles. I imagine that would make doing that dance something of a trial.

    Reply

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