Tuesday, July 25, 2017

"Oh great! The Hawaiian dancers are here!" Adventures in summer dancing, take 343...

So, this weekend's dancing adventures were...interesting. We can say that for certain. ;-) Never a dull moment since I started training in Middle Eastern dance, and for a shy and timid gal, I suppose that is a very good thing. Grab your coffee or tea!

Saturday I had two dance events lined up: one was a larger studio performance at a local public library for a children's reading group themed around cultural dance. The other was a paid gig for 3 dancers at a country club for a corporate party. Each had it's share of challenges and amusements. :0

For the library event, we had a bunch of group dances scheduled. I was dancing with my troupe, and Claire had also asked me to do a solo with Sword, since she wanted a variety of props to showcase. You all know about my love/hate relationship with Sword as a balancing prop, but I do what I can. He's been a good boy lately, at least. But he adds an element of stress to any performance that I'd ideally like to avoid. So I was NERVOUS.

I was in a few group numbers before Sword had to come out. Our audience was quiet, to put it mildly. They were attentive (only one child was sleeping :0), and polite, but incredibly quiet, which can make them hard to gauge. Everything went great, although I was distracted by the hip wrap on our new gowns. It was sliding down a lot on my right hip, so I took some pins to it before my slot with Sword came up.

I posed with Sword, and my music started, and well...it wasn't the music I had planned to dance to. :0 This is where being fluent in improvisation really saves your bacon. There was a miscue on my part when I told Claire what song I wanted to dance to. I hadn't specified the version, and I assumed that she had the same version that I did. Never, ever make that assumption, dear friends. 😂

I swirled Sword around, but without the same cues I had marked in my practice, I had no reference points for where I was in the music/where I planned to balance, etc. Not much I could do about it at that point though, so Sword and I soldiered on. The music seemed to be going on interminably, so I stuck Sword up on my head and he balanced like a champ. I took him off, and did a lovely spin, but then the music kept GOING AND GOING. So I stuck him on my head again and channeled Patronus Face for all I was worth. A little toddler came out to dance with me, and his mother was mortified. :0 I think she was worried about the presence of Sword, for which I cannot blame her. Having people come up and dance is fine in other settings, but with the sword present, (even though it isn't sharp) it just isn't the best time for it.

So Sword and I navigated all of that as best we could, and I have to give credit where it is due: he was excellent. No bobbles or other stomach churning issues to deal with. Huzzah!

We finished the group pieces, and our quiet audience departed. They seemed to really like it, and they grew in number as we performed, so I know people were interested. They were just quiet. :)

Then it was time to ready for the evening gig, and my stomach went into definite churning mode. Claire, Amy and I freshened up, and then headed to the country club. We were all schlepping our giant costume bags, and I had Sword safely sheathed beside me. It took a few minutes before we found someone we could ask about where we needed to go. Claire had been trying to get in touch with the event planner all week about specifics on the party and venue, but had received no response.

*ominous music cues up*

The guy that we eventually found told us that the event was being held outside, under a big tent.


We schlep out to the tent. Our approach made a few things abundantly clear:

(a) We'd be dancing outside. Not my favorite thing to do in summer humidity. And,
(b) The party appeared to have a luau theme.

This was alarming, because, well. It doesn't seem like Middle Eastern dancers really fit with a luau, yes?

The guy we met inside introduced us to an outside guy and departed. Outside Guy says:

"Are you all working for us tonight?"

Strange way of putting it, but sure. We all nodded our assent.

"Great. So, people will begin arriving about 6 pm. What we need you to do is stand next to this bowl of leis here and hand them out as they come in. Then you..."

"Um." Claire interrupts him. "We're the belly dancers."

Although I wouldn't have minded the lei handing out job, just for the record. :0 Sword may have been a bit much for that particular task, but still.


Glad that's cleared up.

"Great! Glad you're here. John, these are the Hawaiian dancers! Could you talk to them about how to get their music cued up to the sound system?"

Uh oh. In an instant, a trifecta of brown eyes between me, Claire and Amy meet up in alarm.

"I think there's been a misunderstanding." Claire, our fearless leader, never lets us down. "We're BELLY dancers."

*blink blink*

"Belly dancers. Middle Eastern dancers. EGYPTIAN dance."

"Oh!" It took a second for that to sink in for Outside Guy, but there you have it.

"We're not Polynesian dancers. In fact, there aren't any Polynesian dancers in this area. Perhaps that's why your event planner booked us?"

It's Outside Guy's turn to look mortified.

"Oh gosh. I'm so sorry for this confusion. So...you don't dance in grass skirts?"

*pregnant pause*


Although if I could find a Polynesian dance teacher, I totally would! :0 A beautiful dance, there is just no representation around here, sadly.

Outside Guy apologized profusely that our time had been taken up on a gig that was not at all what we could have expected. We're not certain whether the event planner had thought belly dance WAS Polynesian dance, or whether, in the absence of actual Polynesian dancers, she figured: "eh, this will do instead"? At any rate, it was a giant misunderstanding for all involved. The event planner was not present, so we'll never know, I suppose. We were not the type of entertainment this party had been looking to hire, so we let Outside Guy know that we would just head out, and not to worry about the contract or paying us. He was immensely relieved, and took our information for future events that were not luaus. :0

So there you have it. Never a dull moment, no sir. And this weekend...*shudder* Never a dull moment is an understatement. We have the biggest festival of the year, plus I have 2 additional gigs (one with the troupe, one solo).  Sword's presence is once again being requested, and I suppose I can't begrudge him with how good he's been behaving. 😟 At this point, I need a vacation from my weekends. :0

But on we forge! How was your weekend?! Are you all set for book club this week? It's the third to last week, can you even believe it?!


  1. Oh my!! Hawaiian dancers and not belly dancers!! This is so like those worst-case-scenario nightmares where you PLAN and PLAN and then it turns out - you totally misunderstood what was suppose to happen. Or the event planner . . . glad you all were gracious. This happened to me recently - not that I'm a dancer- LOL - but I was scheduled (other rather conscripted) at a book event to DO a presentation in the children's room. While I like children and can certainly DO presentations - my book was NOT a picture book and I had no idea what I'd be expected to do. (A middle grade audience would have been fine.) As it was, I got there in time for the end of the guy before me - he actually WENT OVER into my time slot - and he did dragons, and puppets and cute drawings on a white board - he really had those kids engaged.) But they all wandered away as my time came and went . . . I sat there . . . but nary a child came to see what I had to offer. Which was fine with me - I was just going to wing it anyway and I had NO PUPPETS - gasp. Glad to see things like this don't just happen to me. :)
    My weekend was rather pleasant although we had a huge downpour one night and I had to miss Mass. :( My sister's white blood count was too low for her to be anywhere germ laden. Sigh. (Happily by today it was back up to perfect and she didn't need a B shot OR antibiotics.) I finished an edit job, got to read and even watch the Food Network.

    1. Donna,

      I have to admit, I like to wing it (hence, the preference for improvisation when I dance). BUT, it does have it's limitations. :0 Sometimes, no matter what we do, it's just better to gut things out and be grateful when they're over, lol!

      So glad to hear about your sister's improved blood work!

  2. I am still giggling over this story.


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