Monday, February 11, 2013

Getting Back into the Shimmy of Things Part II

What a wonderful weekend it was! The day... I mean the DAY was finally here. I took it as a sign that the weather wasn't too pleasing. It was a rainy, dreary day which knocked that little hope to ride right out of my noggin. Riding when I should be practicing my belly dance songs probably wouldn't have been the best idea, but would have been completely inline with my standard operating procedures. The day included an extra cardio session...not like that would help me wiggle into my costume- but, at least I was all stretched and ready to go. Yup, yup, I'm ready. Let's go,let's go!

Of course, when I'm finally ready to do something time goes by slowly. Not ready to do something and time's gone like water in a waterfall. Swoosh! Gone! Not ready to take a test, why, "Hello test day. Where did you come from?!?" I'm ready, and time is gone like dripping out of a water faucet where the water supply has been shut off. Dri.........P................................................ddddddddddddddddrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...iP. Since I had decided that eating after a certain time would be a bad idea (doing belly rolls on a full stomach isn't pleasant), it made the dri..........P process torturous.

I did my make-up early since I had a dream that I didn't have time to put on my make-up before leaving for the gig and that made my mask look a little silly. Mr. Beer baseball cap and some Sophia Loren style sunglasses in place so the rain wouldn't ruin my 5 minutes of eye shadow work while feeding horses and running from a mad rooster. Who gave that guy the Godzilla video?

Our designated driver came to pick us up scratching his head when I greeted him in a thick bath robe and a beach bag. No questions were asked, but I answered the quizzical look with "I'm going casual." To our surprise we found a great parking spot right out front of the establishment where the Fasching party was hosted. I put on the rest of my costume in the car before entering. Pulling my robe extra tight. I don't believe I really gave an idea of what Fasching is in my last post. Fasching is the German version of Mardi Gras. Before I go any further, I'd like to say that the ladies who took time out of their busy schedules and organized this event did a stellar job! All the people who participated also did an amazing job. It was fun all around, and I'm so happy to have been a part of it. Thank you!

The skits were a hoot! We had a few ladies do verbal skits typical for the main Fasching areas in Germany. One of them was fine tuned for Lawton specifically. Basically babbling/ranting combined. Very well done. We also had our own Dancing with the Stars skit. It was a tango...pig style. The pig costumes were super cute. It was almost my time to get up on stage so I went to the back, put on my mask and when my intro music came. I jiggled out where everyone could see me in all my bathrobe glory and dismantled. Like BAM! Watch me shimmy. I think the ladies who had to watch me fool around in my pink-laced combat shoes let out a sigh of relief. All those hip figure eights on Blueberry paid off. Yes, I incorporated figure eights into my swerving/tire warm ups. It's all in the hips, baby. After 8 minutes of shimmying, I shimmied off the super hot stage sweat dripping down my hard make-up work. 5 minutes of make-up work in my world is a LONG time. And, a test of my patience. There was another verbal skit of simple Gisela, a farmer's wife. And, then came the crown jewel of the event.

Heavy metal music came blaring, and six men came in wearing trench coats, combat boots, beanie caps,...and pink bandanas. With their backs to the audience, the music changed. As Joe Cocker's You Can Leave Your Hat On came out of the speakers, the shoes came off. The bandanas dropped to the floor. The hats came off (contrary to the song, I know). Hips were wiggled, and the trench coats started coming off. The hysteria in the audience was high. All the ladies were excited. The men probably uncomfortable. And then... there were six brave men standing on stage in white tights and tutus. Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake started playing and off they were -the men, not the fluffy pink tutus. They went up in white-socked tiptoes and scooted forward and scooted back. They twirled, they smiled, and they continued on. The audience went wild with laughter. Pandemonium was near. The guy who was lifted had the cutest, most appropriate tutu matching little wings glued to his shirt. The fanned butt slap, first one way then the other, had quite the impact. Literally. The guys did an AMAZING job with their skit! After seeing rehearsals so many times and spending the first one doing nothing but laughing for an hour, you'd think the skit would lose a little of its amusement. Nope, not one ounce was lost. The music changed again, and oriental music floated out of the speakers. Shirts were rolled up and bellies popped out. I shimmied back out and we did a little impromptu belly dance session. I had told the guys in advance not to worry and just follow my lead. Awesome, helpful instructions, no? Those guys probably wondered how they'd been wrangled into the skit by some crazy German ladies. We're that awesome. We can convince anyone that they want to do something a little unconventional.Then again, they probably wondered that during rehearsals when we went through plies, spins, graceful arms, lifts, leaps, and spirit fingers. Not to mention the "open leg" issues we had. "Offene Beine, Jungs!" which was often shouted by the choreographer ("Open legs, boys!").  That alone produced 10 minutes of laughter from the rest of the Fasching crew. Ballet is all about open legs...or so we were told.  

After the skits were over, the beer continued to flow and the music kept going. There was dancing and just good conversation. Even I danced; the person who is creeped out by partner dancing. I'm not even good for a waltz, and don't even get me started on that bump-and-grind junk they do at some clubs. I danced with one of the ballerinas. I've never danced with a ballerina before. I also did the wobble for the first time ever...It'd be nice if I could push that on alcohol consumption. I ended up driving our designated driver home. I don't think that's how the DD job usually goes.

After a couple hours of sleep, I enjoyed my coffee and got ready for a ride/hike. The weather was amazing. Absolutely perfect for a ride and hike. Other than buffalo tracks in odd places and signs of wild hogs we didn't see any wildlife. I once again heard the comments of "not being able to, in my right mind, call what we are doing hiking." They'll have to take that up with the complaint department which works ungodly hours, so actually getting that complaint taken care of may be a little tricky. By the time I got home, the weekend had caught up with me and I was cooked like stick a fork in me done.

Of course, of all nights I had issues with my camera, it was Fasching night. A few pictures can be found on WGR Facebook album and I will also try to post an excerpt of my skit.
Going to start choreographing a couple of songs for next year's Fasching. Helauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Getting Back into the Shimmy of Things Part I

Some crazy person volunteered to do a belly dance skit at an event known to the Germans as Fasching. Some of my friends got together, sat down, and did an amazing job organizing this event. I mean, it's about time! Lawton, OK has over 5,000 Germans of which I am one...halfsie.

So it's been a couple years, nine years to be exact, since I've belly danced for an audience. In my years of being a solo artist (lazy may be a more accurate description), I mainly focused on doing drills of all the basic moves so my foundation is solid. However, playing around and choreographing some songs would have been a great idea. Hind sight, right? I forgot just how much work is behind pulling off a well-danced song. 

As I figured out how to finally get my belly dance cds loaded onto my computer (rip cd, go figure- it only took 9 years...), I realized just how much belly dance music I had. Jeez, and I used to complain that I had nothing. After picking two songs for the event two weeks prior to my performance, I had no choice but to go in belly dance overdrive. I shimmied my way through the halls of school, rib-slid at traffic lights on Blueberry (where's a tip jar when ya need one?), and snake-armed in the barn. I've now listened to my planned songs so often that it feels like someone welded them into my head with a blowtorch. I was tempted a day before music drop-off to change my songs. Very tempted. But, I thought that money-ransom picker-uppers are usually not happy when money isn't delivered. Who knows how German music picker-uppers are when no music is dropped off? Personally, I didn't want to find out through experience.

I was also undecided about the costume I should wear. I got a mask thinking I wouldn't have to worry about makeup. I assumed wrong. I, surprisingly, still fit into all of my costumes from many moons ago which didn't help eliminate choices. Okay, barely fit, but that's not the point. Cabaret or Tribal? Mix and match? It's Fasching, after all; it's supposed to be a little off the rocker. What to do, what to do?

Music drop-off came and went. I stuck to my songs wondering about my choices. The DJ then got a hold of me to tell me that even with his awesome system he could not for the life of him get one of my songs to play. I had even gone through the unnatural (for me) step of testing the cd to make sure it worked. If that wasn't a sign falling in my lap, then I wouldn't recognize a mountain landing on my head. Yup, my opportunity to switch songs just floated by and you can bet your cotton that I grabbed it.

The only thing really missing from my preparation was choreography. Good thing I've always been a firm believer in a wing-it philosophy. 

Six days 'til the event. It was the fourth and final preparation for the event. It was almost a gorgeous day, so I wore my summer jacket with light layers underneath. Turned out to be a not so gorgeous day five miles into my ride. Oh well, a baseball bat couldn't have knocked the smile from my face. Boy, do I get a joy out of riding. Hugging Blueberry the best I could, I arrived at the semi-dress rehearsal semi-luke warm. I did not bring my costume, and I did not really belly dance. Those poor women probably regretted assigning me a skit after my kind of belly dance performance in jeans and pink-laced combat boots.My plan at that moment (besides laziness) was to have the element of surprise in my favor. To be continued...