Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dance Nostalgia...again.

First, Happy Birthday, Carrie! You rock!

I was watching my old dance recital videos from 2000 and 2001 today. Basically, while I was home helping at this year's recital I noted that two things had changed in the cancan choreography, and wanted to confirm that I was right. Of course I was. I did that dance for ages, and even though I hadn't danced that particular cancan in five years, muscle memory doesn't lie. In fact, that's what I was known for back then, an almost uncanny ability to remember dances exactly as they were taught to me. I was wrong once in a while, but if I had conviction about something, best to go with Abby's version.
Anyway, I watched the cancan and ballet from each tape, and jazz and modern. I skipped the tap and opening numbers, which would have involved too much fast-forward and rewind action. I remembered little things that went on during the shows, and some big things. On reading in someone's blog today that she was having calf problems, I remembered the year my calves caused me to collapse as soon as the final curtain went down. I had to be massaged by my teacher and a doctor...I actually can't remember if that was the year I pulled my hamstring, the last year, or the year before, or what. I noted in a survey recently on myspace that the worst pain I'd ever felt was a bad cold/flu ache, but I lied. My calves were really bad that year, and when I was in Evita they were so bad--tight and painful-- I couldn't put my heels down for two days. I know 2001 was the year I pulled my hamstring in two places, because I remember my dread when it happened, my very last recital ever, not knowing if I'd be able to dance. If you look really hard you can see my Ace wrap under all my tights. 2000 was the year Alina had a bad ankle, and almost collapsed in the final cancan kickline; I don't know how she didn't fall, but the line was strong that year and probably helped pull her up.
And I remember other things, like the quick change from jazz to cancan, from a three piece costume to a ...oh, thirteen piece costume. I was the first one off the stage and I remember stripping as I ran behind the back curtain to get to the senior dressing room, changing into my top on the fly. I remember that 2001 was the first time I'd done jazz in the recital, but I was front and center anyway.
2000 ballet was a really pretty one. I got to dance with my teacher and my dance husband both, and I contributed by making little sleevelets and flower garlands for our hair. The costumes were very pretty white and blue and the dance was particularly well composed. In 2001 my partner Dan and I made up most of the partnering work, and to this day we always talk about what we could have done differently, even though it was pretty.
As I said, I've always had a pretty good memory, and it's funny how much of the backstage stuff comes back just by watching a simple tape. As frustrating as it sometimes was, I actually miss the tiny little senior dressing room, with eight girls crammed into a closet with an expansion curtain, and all our costumes, at least four apiece, sometimes as many as six. How well I remember touching up lipstick or fixing eyeshadow between acts, the year my toe shoes kept sliding off my heels, all the moments when we'd make eyes at each other when we couldn't be seen. How all the little girls would ooh and ahh as the cancan girls made their way through the backstage rooms to get out to the lobby, where the dance began (we ran down the aisles to make our entrance). That perfect combination smell of sweat, face foundation, leather, theater air, and flowers. How excited that smell still makes me whenever I'm backstage anywhere.
When I go home I hope to find some time to watch some of the older videos. We have tons, and are only really missing 1990 (the Circus year), I think. I have big plans to make a scrapbook someday of all my dance stuff, with pictures and programs and mementos. Someday being the operative word.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Thanks hon!

How I don't miss quick changes. The worst were the one song ones, where I'd have four women around me and I'd just stand there trying to catch my breath while they changed me. Any sense of modesty I had went out the window. I'm sure you know what I mean! Ah, memories...

And is there anything more exhausting than a can-can? Whew!