Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Muddy grass, dead leaves and active insects: Adventures in garden belly dancing...

This is a two dance post kind of a week, apparently. :) But they're fun for me to write, and I hope that you all enjoy reading them even if dance isn't your passion as it is mine. I thought I'd pen a quick summary of our performance adventures yesterday, since they are inevitably amusing, and this instance was no exception. It'll be back to Catholic stuff tomorrow and Friday. :)

As I mentioned, our venue was a community garden, and we were under the impression that the place was quite spacious. We all met at the studio and drove in one car to the garden since it was in a city location none of us were very familiar with. Well.

We roll up in Claire's car and survey the scene. In unison, all 4 of us say:


Decidedly NOT spacious. A corner postage stamp with a few handfuls of people standing around. A good number of children and some adults, several of whom look a bit sketchy.

Mackenzie summed up exactly what we were all thinking when she said:

"So often with these dance gigs, you drive up and see the event, and you just want to keep on driving."


We pile out of the car. We knew that there would be zero space in order to dress, so we all arrived in our costumes with flowy coverups over top. We each have flower trays, Claire has a giant sound system, Mackenzie has a silk veil blowing in the breeze behind her, and I have a sheathed sword. Inconspicuous we were not.

Everybody turned to stare at us as we walked up. Claire found the woman who had organized the event, who had lovely purple hair, by the way. :) No judgement here, this is coming from the woman wearing a hot pink caftan cover up. I always thought pink highlights in my hair would be pretty cool, actually, but I digress.

She's all excited to see us and Claire asks her where we will be dancing.

"Oh anywhere you like! The grass isn't *too* muddy."

Glamour, all glamour.

We find a tiny cleared spot to set up and confer in a huddle. We make the immediate and unanimous decision to excise the solos, save for Claire's. This is an awkward situation without many audience members, and shorter is always better in such circumstances. Leave 'em wantin' more!

I will say that the small crowd that gathered around us seemed pretty into it. There were maybe 20 people there, and they looked on curiously and politely as we got ready to dance. We start the first group number.

As we enter and start our first formation I espy a gaggle of small girls in the front of the crowd. They appear *very* interested, and one little girl is clearly watching me and mimicking my arm and hip movements, trying to dance along with us. She was *adorable* and I gave her approving beams in regular intervals.

Our grassy surface was making turning difficult, and leaves kept getting caught in the hems of all of our skirts, so we dragged them around with us, there was no help for it. :0 I stepped on the hem of my skirt multiple times, crunching leaves as I went, that was a first. But keep dancing I must!

Around the time we started the drum piece I noticed that a few cars had stopped to watch us dance, and lots of people were taking photos and videos of us on their phones. I always wonder about where those photos end up, but such is all of our lot in life in today's day and age.

When we finished, Claire came out to dance, and she immediately got the eager little girl up to dance with her. This went over very positively, and soon she had other willing volunteers to dance with her. She is *very* good at interacting with the crowd that way. One girl was reluctant at first, but soon Claire had her relaxed and dancing. I'm *terrible* at this. I really don't want to ask anyone to dance with me for fear of rejection anyway :0 and should they show any signs of reluctance I'm already wide eyed and dancing in the opposite direction.


When Claire's song was over, we just had our tray/improvisation number left to go. Leaving the most fun for last, no? :)

We did the tray balance thing, and Mackenzie was the first to improvise. She used a silk veil and swirled around in an absolutely lovely fashion. I had my sword at the ready and was batting away a few insects while enjoying her dancing as she floated to one side. It took me a couple seconds to realize that she had exited our "stage." She didn't use up quite as much music as I anticipated, but then again, normal people don't time things as anally as I do. :0

I recovered quickly and sashayed my way out to the forefront. I had been so caught off guard with my start time that I didn't really have time to be nervous. I spun a few times and balanced the sword on my fingers while I did a few hip movements. The music crescendoed, it's wonderful when things work out like that :0 (if I had tried to plan this, it never would have gone so well), so I took the opportunity to balance the sword on my head. It went well, and I could tell that our gaggle of tiny girl fans really liked this part. The sword is always a crowd pleaser. :)

I danced until a good stopping point in the music and exited so that Lara could dance with her flower tray. When she finished up, we all breathed a sigh of relief. We were done, and our small audience seemed to have enjoyed it. Only about 15 minutes had elapsed. :0 But, hey. They weren't paying us, and things ended with the crowd happy. That's a good note to finish things on.

So that was that. It wasn't glamorous, but it certainly was fun and makes for a good story. Onward to our next dance adventure!

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