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The Story Behind the Gig

In the spring of 2008, Wendy Williams and her troupe from Penticton embarked on a mini “workshop & show” tour. On Easter weekend Alice Bracegirdle, from Bellyfit®, hosted Wendy and the Get Bent Belly Dancers here in Victoria.

I performed in the two showings of Pulse! The Spirit of Rhythm & Dance at Metro Studio as part of Nath Keo's Sacred Centre Dance Company.  

For the show we resurrected some Shaabi pieces we had already performed in Shaabi Shake 2000! earlier that year.  However, this time we had a different stage and different line-ups for the few pieces we were doing but we had only organized the new line-ups during the few minutes we had for tech run.  And the line-up for each show was different depending on who could participate.

And this is where my story begins . . .

So, it's the second show of the day and things have already gone smoothly for the first two pieces performed back to back.  We exit the stage and I am feeling really good about how I have just danced.  Next song is coming right up.  In the almost total dark, I whisper, “break a hip” to my fellow dancers and stand off to the side.  But then the music starts, the dancers begin to enter to the music and I realize with mounting horror that I have the order mixed up and I am supposed to be moving out onto the stage too!  “No worries” you might say.  Just join one of the lines.  But, oh, no, this is a Nath Keo choreography.  A Nath Keo choreography is intricate, technically challenging and has tricky transitions.  And that's not all:  this particular piece has right side dancers and left side dancers.  I have trained as a left side dancer.  Everyone has just entered from stage right and I am supposed to be first on stage in one of the lines!!!!  I can't run out and cut across the stage to reach my spot without messing everyone else up.  What to do?  Should I stay or should I go?

In a split second decision I join the middle line as they move out onto the stage and end up as a right side dancer on the far right side.  Okay.  I am on stage but can I reverse the choreography without messing up?  And does anyone notice that the two halves of the line up are lopsided?

All the while I am concentrating hard but smiling up a storm – even laughing at my own audacity.  I can't believe I am pulling it off.  Reversing the choreography properly and turning in the correct direction for a right side dancer.  But on one of the first turns I look across the stage and find myself locking eyes with Nath.  I can't imagine what he's thinking.  I was supposed to be in his line, in front of him leading out onto the stage.  I don't know him well enough yet to know if he's (1) thinking: “what the heck happened?” (2) finding it funny or (3) boiling with anger.  Gulp!  It's one of those moments when you could sink right into the floor.  

But now's not the moment.  Keep on dancing and smiling.  Don't screw it up any more than you already have.

Later, when I tell hubby, parents and friends sitting out in the audience what had happened, they indicate they didn't have a clue.  They didn't notice there were four dancers on the left side and six on the right.  Surprising, because my mother has a sharp eye!  Whew!  Total disaster averted.  But I must say those four and a half minutes were some of the longest of my life.  I feel like a naughty child caught with her hand in the cookie jar before supper.

I apologized profusely to Nath and the other dancers. I was so embarrassed to have made such a stupid mistake.  To this day, Nath has never said if he was angry about it but he lets me continue to attend classes and be part of his troupe so I am hoping that means I am forgiven :)


December 02, 2008