Happy New Year everybody! I'm still exhausted from mine :0 (you'll see why shortly), and the transition back to work wasn't an easy one. I had a lovely vacation at home with family, and braving the sub zero temperatures here currently in WNY to troop back to my office, away from the family love, wasn't easy. :-\ But let's reflect back on the fun, and look at where we're heading in 2018!
Christmas was lovely. I did not enjoy having no 4th week of Advent though, is anybody with me? I know it just falls like that sometimes, but it's very unfortunate, in my opinion. Our church was already decorated for Christmas on the morning of the 4th Sunday of Advent, because there was no time to decorate before the Christmas Eve Mass that evening! :0 And Christmas Eve was hectic with family party festivities as it always is. But after that...BLISS.
Christmas morning Mass. Gift opening. And then days upon days of relaxing family fellowship and meals. I loved it.
And New Year's Eve? Was CRAZY. :0 In a really good and amusing way. Got your tea or coffee?
So I wound up with two dance gigs that night. We had a bit of a house of cards situation going on with dancers starting out at 2 locations, then funneling to a third as earlier sets finished up. As opposed to our usual tag team plan, with us switching out for each other at each set, this year Claire had to dance fully before me, and then jet to the second venue, leaving me alone to handle my sets for the final hour. This was uncharted territory for me, and I was nervous. :0 Oh, and I did I mention that the high that day was 4 degrees Fahrenheit?
We were starting off in a small Indian restaurant, and every time the door open to admit a new diner, a blast of icy air filled the space. And our "dressing room" was a tiny, closet-like indentation that we had to stuff ourselves into, with a window to the outside that also made it freezing.
All glamour, all the time over here!
Claire got started right on time just as the restaurant was filling in. Everything went great, the audience was very happy and responsive. After her first set, she reported in that despite the polar air regularly being admitted to the restaurant, it was actually *sweltering* out near the buffet while dancing. This actually made us appreciative for the freezing dressing room between sets. Huzzah!
The rest of her sets also went great (as I expected they would), and she noted something I would find true in precisely 1 hour: the 3, 10 minute sets with full costume changes between each, all within an hour, were pretty tiring. We are used to dancing multiple 20 minute sets, but over a multi-hour time period, with huge breaks in-between while the other person dances.
She finished up, said goodbye to the owners, and then I was on my own from 8-9 pm. Sweating profusely. My delightful friend Brandy came to help me with my costumes and start my music for me, bless her soul. I was changed and ready for Set #1 at 8:05 pm.
Veil and I swirled out and it went great. It was a polite and quiet crowd, but very attentive and responsive. I made my way around the entire restaurant with ease, given the size. I had 4 playlists for New Year's Eve, so I kept forgetting what was on each one - It was a big surprise every time a song ended. :0
Set 1 finished, and I rushed to change in The Freezer. Set 2 is Sword's set, and as you can imagine, he was all excited. ;-) I tried something different this time, and emerged with Sword already balanced, and I have to say, I like this model better. If you're having a good sword night, you can remove it, do some other things with is, and then re-balance at various spots of the restaurant, but if you're not, you can just discard it with the pressure off and no one is the wiser. Plus, when you come out with a sword balanced on your head, it really gets everyone's attention. :0
Sword had his big drama sequence, and it went really well. I re-balanced a few times as I swooped around the restaurant, and then handed him to Brandy as I moved into my second song - which is to say, my favorite Middle Eastern song of all time, Shik Shak Shok.
Now, you see, Claire warned me about this. Before I ever did my first professional gig, she wisely told me:
"Always pace yourself. Have a slower song in each set so that you don't tire out before the end of the evening!"
And what did I do this past New Year's Eve? I put together a set with Sword (slower song, but still high intensity nerves given the balancing prop), the high energy Shik Shak Shok which I loooovvveeeeee, and a drum solo.
Shik Shak Shok starts. Let's just say that I got very into it. :0 I've never performed to that song before, and I danced HARD, circling the restaurant like it was going out of style. I mean, I love it, I couldn't help it. I don't think I've ever shimmied so much to a single song in my entire career, and this song is over 5 minutes long.
As it was wrapping up, I thought to myself:
"Oh boy. I'm *tired*."
I pounded out the drum solo, but Great Googly Moogly. You could have scraped me up off of the floor with Sword by time that set was done. And then I had to wrench on yet a third costume and perform another set. And it was quickly approaching 8:45 pm, so I had to hustle.
I think part of the extra exhaustion factor was the quick costume changes, plus all of the new adrenaline rushes every time a set starts, all within a condensed period of time. Luckily, Set #3 didn't involve any props, and was much easier than the others. A fun pop song, a slower but upbeat baladi, and a very familiar drum solo. I got some people up to dance with me and all went well. After that, I changed, said goodbye to the owners, who seemed very pleased with how the evening went, and Brandy and I rushed off to Indian restaurant #2. Well. :0
This was a larger restaurant, and it had a nice crowd there. Claire was dancing when I arrived to a very lively audience, and I hurriedly changed and readied Sword (yes, AGAIN, *sob*!). To make things even more challenging, I had also put Shik Shak Shok into this set. WHY GOD, WHY?! I told myself that I could do this. I was tired, but it was just one more set. Granted, a 20 minute one, but that's cake. Usually. I hope.
Claire came back to the dressing area, breathless, and we looked at our watches. It was 9:35, and dancing was scheduled to go until 10. The time was nigh.
She set up my music while Sword and I got ready, and we came out with all of Sword's dramatic flair. The crowd was LOUD and somewhat raucous. But in a really good way. :0
Sword and I swooped our way around. There was a table of little boys who seemed particularly taken with this part of the program. We did our thing, it went well, I handed Sword to Claire. And that's when things got interesting.
I was making my way around the restaurant when I noticed that a group of people had come out into the center of the room and were dancing, beckoning me over. So I danced over. Quickly, a circle formed around me. This was a first, but OK. I got this.
Next thing I know, I notice things flying out of the corner of my eye. That seemed somewhat alarming, so I made a circular movement thus that I could inspect further. It was MONEY. This was another first. :0 It is a Middle Eastern custom and sign of appreciation to shower performers with money as tips. I kept dancing, and the money kept flying over my head. I tried to keep my face not showing the surprise I felt that anybody liked my dancing that much. :0
There were lots of kids there, and they ALL came out to dance with me. By the time Shik Shak Shok queued up, I was having the time of my life, and flew around the restaurant with ease. I wasn't tired anymore, and this was the most enjoyable set of my career. I was starting to feel it a bit as my final drum solo started up, but I made it through no problem. That was FUN.
Afterward, Claire and I kibbitzed about what a great gig that was. The owner was very happy with how things went, and we left, aglow.
Then I got home, was all wired on adrenaline, and couldn't fall asleep until after 1 am. Happy New Year! :0
So, after all of that excitement, I am here thinking about the year ahead. I used Jennifer Fulwiler's new Word of the Year generator, and this is what I received:
I like that! 2018 is the year of making things counts. :) I have always endeavored to do the things that I love, and to do them well, to the best of my ability. Vivid. I think it really fits.
So let's plan! Lent is approaching, and begins on Valentine's Day this year. Shall we do a book club? If I do one (likely historical/scriptural-based fiction from the Living Water series) who would be in? I'm thinking we could do a combo here on the blog and also at the Facebook group thing, and we could add in a devotional component. Like, each week we set some sort of spiritual theme or goal for ourselves. Maybe we could all take turns coming up with the themes for the upcoming week? I'd love a show of hands of who would like to participate, and then we could go from there!