06 November 2006

I am the treble reel queen, I can do anything

Apologies to Lizard King Jim Morrison, but it feels true :-)

Yesterday the adult dance company performed at Raleigh's International Festival, a gig we've done for several years that, while nice, is not really a big deal. This year we were all willing to do it, of course, but not over the moon with excitement. We'd initially planned a hornpipe number, followed by a new choreographed reel we learned in September. Then, about a month ago, our teacher decided we were ready to be brought into the crown jewel of the school's show numbers, a big treble reel featuring all the prizewinner dancers. We've known this reel for ages now, but never really felt ready - and certainly not as a group - to do it publicly. We've been messing around with it a lot lately though, and so Meighan (our teacher) decided to take a leap of faith and turn a good portion of the number over to us. We knew we could do it in practice at the studio, but could we do it in front of people?

Everything went as planned, and even better. No one one freaked out on the hornpipes (which tend to be one of those numbers where we all know it so well we're prone to just blanking out. thinking "this can't be so easy," and then flubbing), and the reel went beautifully. The treble reel loomed, however.

So, we got onto the stage, all 40 or so of us (adults plus older teen prizewinners), and got into position. We were dancing in the Dorton Arena, at the fairgrounds, which, for those who've not been there, is a large, ugly building, but one that can hold a decent amount of people. The International Festival people had dozens of booths set up around the outside of the floor area, with a large stage abotu 5 ft off the ground and seating in the front (there's also seating all along the walls of the area, of course). As we danced, most people there were paying attention (from what i could tell), but it was still a typical festival atmosphere - people wandered around a bit, talk to their neighbors, etc. As we began the treble reel, this was what was going on. What no one in the audience (maybe 350 people or so) knew though, was that the dance begins with a huge, simultaneous STAMP from all the dancers, as we do this really dramatic turn to the left. It goes something like STAMP (long pause) very fast step, STAMP (long pause) very fast step, and then the dance begins in earnest. I can tell you, when we did that first giant STAMP, the arena echoed with the sound of our shoes, the stage literally shook, and everyone stopped talking, milling about, etc. We had their full attention from that point on, and each of us nailed our parts. It was SUCH fun! The dance begins with a group of call and answer type sets of steps, between the adult company and prizewinner company, then breaks down into solos and duets, then ends with a big group section, a big jump/kick combo thing, and hands in the air. I wish I had a video of this I could put here - must see what I can do about that. It was just THE MOST FUN I've ever had dancing - the crowd was into it, lots of clapping along and stuff from them, and those of us on the stage knew we were doing a great job.

As soon as it was over (which was all too quickly, if you ask me), we were all ready to go back out and do it again. What a sense of relief! Knowing now that we can do treble reel solos and 2 Hands in public and not make fools of ourselves is quite a feat ;-) Now I'm just anxious for the next event to come along.

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