Right before our first show, as I stood in the dark backstage area that is the Steward studio, I realized that I had sort of forgotten what it was about performing that I liked.
When you’re about to go onstage, and you’re in the wings or the back or wherever – it’s usually pretty quiet, and the cast is either standing solemnly or fidgeting to keep sort of warm. I imagine that must be what it’s like to be waiting for your execution.
It got better.
Like with everything else in life, motion seems to be the answer. Movement fixes all problems. Once I started dancing it was fine.
I was more nervous for this run of shows than for most others I’ve done – the CHIN Project being the exception. Perhaps it was because this was my (let’s make it sound impressive by saying ) “big city debut,” and because the material was put together so fast, I wasn’t completely comfortable. It was like a pair of pants that you knew would fit eventually but wasn’t quite broken in yet.
We did four shows, and I think that two of them sold out. I personally felt that three of them went pretty well. And the fact that people paid to watch me dance was pretty cool (I mean, I know they’re paying to support the choreographers and to see their work, but still).
After working my ass off for years, I still can’t quite believe it paid off. It was anticlimactic.
Maybe that’s why I do this, taking something that should be nerve-wracking and turning into a part of a routine.
I was reminded of this Huffington Post article about ballerinas’ bedrooms. Some readers were aghast at the fact that these seemingly luxurious women were living in apartments so small that the bed was two feet from the stove, and both were right next to the front door. These people would probably also be surprised to find out that the glittery costumes also smell like armpits.
Part of the routine of being a dancer or a performer is embracing the mundane as much as the chaos. Endlessly circling the block before the show while you look for parking, realizing you didn’t have time for dinner between work and warmup and buying two-for-one nature valley granola bars with a coupon, trying to control your awkward haircut and finding no bobby pins in your bag – it’s all part of it. There is such a disparity between the world we live in and the one we present on stage.