Monday, March 12, 2012

Belly dancing makes everything better, which helps since SOMEONE IS WALKING

Well, after a very long week last week with Anne, I'm happy to report that we had a good weekend. And, praise the good Lord above, one new baby fang has come through the gum line. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure at least 1 more is in the immediate wings, but I'll take any reprieve we can get at this point. We also experimented with putting her to bed just a hair later (she was going to bed quite early at 7 pm) and that seems to have helped too.

And we need all the strength we can get at this point given that the child has decided that she is going to start walking. SHE IS 9 AND A HALF MONTHS OLD. This should *not* be happening! I guess it's because she has an older sibling, but holy smokes. I wish she'd cool it a bit.

She stands unassisted very well now. And for a week or so she'd take a few shuffling steps before plopping down to crawl, since that was clearly so much faster for her. But now that we've been having her practice (I suppose we're enabling her, sigh) she'll let go of whatever she's holding on to and come wobbling over to you, beaming as she goes. She doesn't make it very far before going splat, but she's clearly progressing at an alarmingly fast rate. A whole new level of baby-proofing is coming our way.

At any rate, I did manage to peel myself off the couch on Friday night to attend my dance class, and as ever, I'm so soothed by my participation there. I just love those girls. We had a performance scheduled for Sunday, so much rehearsing commenced. It was for a women's retreat at a local hotel.

We have several group numbers that we're all pretty familiar with, so we went with those. We're learning a new cane number, but that one is no where near done yet, so that's been on the shelf for several weeks. Near the end, Claire sprung the big news on us:

"Why don't we do one improv (improvisation, in other words not having a planned choreography, just spontaneous dancing) number at the end, and we can all spread out around the room and try and get people to dance?"

Oh boy. Improv scares the absolute daylights out of me. There's nothing a control oriented person fears more than not having a plan. Therefore, I made it my immediate goal to plan out my improv.

I mean, I knew I couldn't totally create a choreography or anything. But at least I could practice improvising to the song Claire said she was going to use and maybe have a few accents or combinations planned out ahead of time. I know that all professional dancers improvise and to truly grow as a dancer I need to challenge myself with this more often, but I can't help it. It scares me. I widen my eyes at it and slowly back away.

So on Sunday morning, a few hours before the performance, while Mike worked on his grading, I set Hank up with a video and Anne in her high chair with some Cheerios. I put the music on and tried dancing around the kitchen. I felt ridiculous, but Anne seemed to enjoy it. She bopped along with the music as she munched. By the end of 45 minutes or so, I felt better. Sweaty, but better. Just relaxing with the music at home inspired me a bit. Plus, I discovered one extremely vital secret:

My veil. Using a veil while improvising makes it infinitely easier. It's almost like doing a duet. There's something else for everyone to look at, and it makes me feel a bit less like an animal in a cage at the zoo. Plus, you can swirl it around in a bunch of different ways while you search your mind frantically for what movement you'll do next:

"ooohhhh pretty! Good, that buys me 5 additional seconds to figure out what the heck I'm going to do next."

So, that helped. Soon it was time to costume up and head out. I just prayed that none of my neighbors looked out their window as I walked out to our garage in my mumu-like coverup with sparkly green costume sticking out underneath. And sandals. I know it's March, but I had just painted my toenails. My version of a pedicure: paint over the old and chipping polish that I last applied back in November. Instant glamour.

I arrived and saw another mumu-clad figure entering the hotel. A kindred spirit! It was a member of my class, and so we walked in together. I give the woman at the front desk a lot of credit for not batting an eye when we walked in. She directed us to the room we needed and we found the rest of our class bunched up in a corner, chatting. Claire was teaching for the hour prior to our performance, and so we were waiting for her to finish. She wasn't sure how many people she would get for the event, saying it could be anywhere from 3 to 300.

Well, it was 3. Or, 4 to be exact. 3 women and one surly looking teenager. Thankfully, due to the fact that we now outnumbered our audience, Claire told us to axe the improv section. It might scare people to have multiple belly dancers vying for their attention, all focused only on THEM.

This took quite a bit of the pressure off, to be sure. Group numbers are very non-nerve wracking for me now. So, we did them, and Claire did a smashing solo with a sword. One audience member looked quite enthusiastic and was watching us, smiling. The others, not so much. Claire always tells us to "connect with your audience! make eye contact, smile!" but of course that only works when the audience looks alive. But what can one do? We did well, and we had fun. We took some pictures afterwards. And it got me excited by the thought of planning a new solo for the upcoming spring hafla.

And thankfully, I had gotten more sleep, so all was well.

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