It’s Tuesday and I am just barely removing the bright red nail polish off my fingers, still riding high from my weekend.
I truly lived my wildest dream and succeeded in dancing for a crowd. Dream, goal, and fear all rolled into one. I’ve felt ridiculously relieved and accomplished since then. I received many positive compliments from my fellow dancers and that is just making my head bigger.
I gave myself 50 days to prepare for my debut solo. Mind you I have been in the community for almost ten years now. Dancing in various groups for small event fundraisers and working a few hours a week at the boutique that sells belly dance costuming.
In the past performing was never my thing. I am more shy than showy when it comes to dancing for people. But I was tired of going to these shows and seeing the same dancers doing what I can do. I kept telling myself, “I would want to see me”. I am a bit chunky and shy but I can dance! I would’ve truly wanted to see me dance. (And look like I am enjoying it).
Working at the boutique with all those costumes I already had what I was going to wear picked out. You get to dreaming surrounded by all that glitter and glam. Even for an especially plain lady like myself. Picking a song I liked was incredibly hard. No not really. Picking a few and wanting to mix them was hard. Settling on one and giving up on the others was hard. I picked a drum solo because the drums always make me move. Theres a universal language that comes through in drumming that speaks to me. Egyptian, African, Native! All of it. I have had no instruction or lessons on how to dance to a drum solo. I truly went with what my body wanted to do.
Many times I wanted to tell the goddess that runs these shows “nevermind”. I had never choreographed anything in my life. The drum solo was easy though, it was just shaking it. I said ok the first minute mostly lower half and a few turns. I knew the stage was intimate restaurant style, no level change, with three sides of audience. So I tried to face all for a little bit. The second minute mostly upper half, the last minute all of it. I am a reader so I wrote it all down on paper so I could study and memorize it like a test.
My notes didn’t really help though. Because I had no idea what to name things. You know what did? Listening to the song on repeat for weeks straight. I promised the girls in my house they never had to hear it again. A drum solo is usually an experienced dancers’ fast and furious finish. Exactly like an orgasm.
I spent a lot of time making alterations on my top by making the straps on my heavy coin bra with flimsy lam’e straps an x in the back instead of a halter around my neck. I turned two skirts into one. Even sewed in some extra padding in the top. The one and only time I danced in it was at a restaurant about a year ago and it was malfunction to the maximum. Felt like it was sliding down with every move. I felt the matching belt to the bra was so rigid and heavy. I didn’t want to cover up all the movement that was going on right underneath that belt. So i just tied a hip scarf around my waste and didn’t inhibit any movement. I had bought that hip scarf the night before the performance.
The best part was all of this getting to wear what I wanted and dancing to what and how I wanted. This doesn’t usually happen when dancing in a group. There was no name or label to it. Just me. I was a bundle of nerves the week previous leading up to the show.
It was nice to take credit for being my own seamstress and choreographer!
I had to take that Saturday off of work (the full time job I have in the medical field that bores me to no end, you know the one that pays the mortgage) just to beautify. Plus I couldn’t risk having those sock lines and cankles that magically appear after my normal 12 hour shift on Saturdays. My sister arranged for a make-up artist. That is usually the part that stresses me out the most, I absolutely hate wearing make-up I think it looks like hell on my squinty eyes. Very uncomfortable. She charged me 30 bucks for the fake eyelashes and face that felt clownish. I’ve never claimed to be fashionable or trendy so I had to trust the young woman that it looked good.
I swear that drum solo was exactly the antidote to all the nervous energy I had. I spilled my heart and soul on that stage for everyone to admire. Maybe not everyone, I didn’t even invite my family. I actually had a couple tickets that I did not give out. I didn’t know how I would be, I was still imagining a total fail whilst keeping how I wanted it to look first on my mind. I was into real positive self talk these past few weeks. My friend Christie gave me a good pep talk, last week. And I realized if I say I am not a performer then I won’t be. I did the dance for her last week and she said it looked great and I said “Yes, because I was wearing jeans and had a beer in my hand”