For those of you who are new to my blog, I took up belly dancing in February this year. I am not a very physical person – I hate gym. Have never danced and have 2 left feet. I have been on a mission lately to challenge myself. I have always been quite reserved and not very adventurous. So I picked something that was, in my books, way out there. And belly dancing certainly was when I started.
I coerced my daughter-in-law to join me and she gladly accepted. After the first 2 lessons, I knew I would stick it out. I have loved every minute of if. I feel like I fit in and have a wonderful, patient teacher. The biggest challenge for me was the choreography. I am typically a thinker and you can’t overthink when dancing – you just need to do it! Anyway, we were informed a few months ago that we would be expected to perform on stage in a showcase at the end of our term.
I worked real hard in learning the routine and spent last week in a panic as I had not mastered it all yet. I was also working on a huge event last week so was not able to rehearse and I was working 20 hour days. My event finished on Saturday and my showcase was on Sunday.
So I woke up early on Sunday. Collected my daughter-in-law and we drove through to Roodepoort. The show was at the ProMusica theatre, seating about 400 people. We had Make-up scheduled for 8.30am. Photoshoot at 11am. Walk though on stage at 1pm. A show at 3pm and another at 6pm. So a busy day ahead.
The Make-up artist was brilliant. I hate make-up and can’t bear feeling like I have gunge on my face all day. It makes me feel claustrophobic. She spent almost an hour doing our make-up with false eyelashes the works. And I felt like a million bucks. So she had a huge part to play in making the day very special for me.
We then went off to find the dressing rooms. There were 4. 2 Chorus and 2 smaller ones. We chose the one smaller for 6. We thought we would secure 2 dressing tables for the 6 in our group and would share with many other dancers. Thankfully, no one bothered to join us so the 6 of us had the dressing room all to ourselves. It was great for morale and of course we spent every free moment rehearsing our routine.
it was freezing backstage. We were going to be very cold for the day!
Once we got unpacked and dressed up in costume no 1 (brrrrr), we went to find the photographer. I am generally not very photogenic so I hope she took some nice pics. Haven’t seen them yet. Once she did the first set, we went off to change into costume no 2 and went to have some more pics taken.
By that time we all started running out of time so we never got to have our group shots taken. It was 1pm and time for a walk through on stage. Originally there was only one show scheduled and it sold out fast so they put a second show in. So thy had to move the time of the first performance forward. Therefore there was no time for a full rehearsal. Just time enough for a quick walk through with placing on stage.
So chaos reigned for the next 90 minutes while we all came on and off stage placing ourselves and getting familiar with the stage. Quite daunting for me. Although I have spent many many hours on stage through out my career, I have never actually been on it when the lights are on and an audience watching.
We had final call at 2.45. We were to get show ready and get on stage for the opening number. The opening number had all 70 odd of us on stage at the same time. My group (the beginners) only came on stage towards the end of the opening. Daunting enough let me tell you. You suddenly realise you are in front of loads of people focussing on you.
In fact I was not nervous. I was not concerned about the lights or the people. The only thing I had on my mind was “remember to smile”. That and remembering the choreography. And what is the first thing my kids said to me after the performance – “You could have smiled mommy”. So I hate to think how much I messed up on the choreography.
I was a lot better in the second show. I think if we did another one or two shows I would have been perfect. Dancing in a studio versus the stage are very different. Especially when it comes to spacing and where are you compared to the others on stage.
They took a video of the performance. When I get it, I will see if there are any suitable parts to post for you all along with some of the photographs from the photographer.
I had a really good time and I would perform on stage anytime again – even in my nearly nothings. We all had a great time. I can’t wait to get back to class and start rehearsing for next years show.
Just goes to show that sometimes it is worth challenging yourself – you may just end up enjoying yourself in the process.
What other challenges shall I concur………