Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is it worth the effort?

I often ask the question, "Is it worth the effort?", and by effort I mean the prepping, the traveling to and from a show, the changing from mere mortal to belly dancer and the dolling up we all do in order to dance for 5-10 minutes? I have to admit there are some days when it just seems like too much work, but the truth is...I honestly do think those few minutes are worth every bit of effort, I just have to remind myself of that fact from time to time.

Case in point. Mirage was asked to come dance at a gig through University of Texas called Act Local, Think Global tonight. They asked us to dance for 10 minutes. Four of us (myself, Jeanette, Dana and Ginger) were available and so we said sure...why's a way to get our name out and also help out UT's Informal Class program who so graciously gives us a performance venue for free. The original information and instructions were simple, show up at 6:30 in costume ready to dance. We decided on doing two numbers back to back, and I had already prepped by putting them on one CD. We would dance around the audience, do our opener number, remove zils (while noodling on stage), do our choreography and noodle off. (I'll define noodle in another post...)

However, the event coordinator emailed me early today asking if we could dance longer...which really isn't a problem, however she just couldn't define "longer" which meant I was stuck trying to figure out what we could add (is it 5 minutes or 10?), who would dance, what should we transition and hmmm....I guess I need to burn another CD. So, all day long I pondered the possibilities (while listening to whatever music I had on hand in the office) and the other dancers and I emailed back and forth with suggestions. But it was all for naught, at the end of the day...nothing changed, and we were still on for the original 10 minutes.

Next I had to leave work (earlier than I had originally planned), find a parking spot, lug my bag in, and then work on transforming (in a short time) from Chris the busy professional to Najla the dancer (sometimes the distance between the two is long...but thankfully not tonight). We checked out the stage (which incidentally was a 360 degree front or back) and talked through some changes (dancing back to back, altering our ending poses, etc.) to make sure we were ready.

When it was finally our time to dance, all of the tedium that goes with prepping for performances just melted away (at least for me), and once I heard the music start (thankfully it was pretty loud) and we started zilling (and zaghareeting...) the energy was contagious. Then, off we went twirling, spinning, shimmying and hip-dropping into the crowd. The cool thing is most of them probably hadn't seen belly dancers up close and personal. So, with a crowd of about 200-300 people, we certainly were the center of attention. And...boy oh boy...there were more cameras snapping away when we danced that Clinton and Obama's press campaigns combined. All I hope is that they get a pretty picture of me...I'm always captured in photos in really odd poses or with strange expressions (which by the way don't seem apparent if you watch my videos...).

And there we were, with the rush of the dancing, the pleasure and enjoyment of the faces of the crowds, and the glee of dancing with people you really like! So, for the record if you wonder whether or not all the work and effort are worth it...especially if you only get to dance for 5-10 minutes, I'd say yes, yes, yes!!!!