Shall I Embrace the Silliness

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Our next Showcase is around May 5th so the other studio selected a Cinco de Mayo theme (yes, how original).  I originally agreed to be part of the formation and the first rehearsal really turned me off since it included the Macarena and I simply stopped coming when rehearsals started up again in January.  In part, I had a legitimate excuse for some of them.  After all, I was at the studio the other four nights so I needed a night to actually get other things accomplished and I did have some things that had to be taken care of.  I probably could have squeezed in a trip to the studio to practice the formation but I didn’t feel compelled.  Well 3 of 3 asked me about it and then Z basically confronted me to want to know if I was still doing it.  There was another student who asked whether I was still going to do it.  I gave them all non-committal answers with stories of conflicts and the like.  Yesterday, I had a dentist appointment to get a filling replaced and I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to go but the procedure went better than I expected and I wasn’t feeling any after effects so I decided to go.

The formation hadn’t really advanced so I was able to pick up what I missed and it didn’t get any better.  They want to start out with the Mexican Hat Dance (really, could you be less original) with lots of clapping and ladies in skirts swinging them around.  There is still a small amount of Salsa and then we get to the Macarena part.  3 of 3 claims there will be some real dancing in the middle while allowing that the beginning and end will be purely for entertainment value.  She tried to justify it by saying that other studio is likely going to do the same thing since their formations tend to consist of large groups of people doing silly things.  Not the best sales pitch to me.  The studio was empty except for the formation practice.  The Body Double and the Statue were reviewing some steps with Z watching them but they all spent a good deal of time watching the formation – well specifically watching me since I guess I couldn’t keep my facial expressions in check and it was clear I wasn’t down with the program.

So you might be saying, why are you such a stick in the mud (don’t know where I pulled that phrase from).  Dancing is supposed to be FUN!  Have a little FUN!  This is pretty much what 3 of 3 was saying the whole time as well.  I actually came back because I know that I need to not worry so much about what I look like since that holds me back from doing some of the things that I’m supposed to do like arm styling.  And what better way to get over the fear of looking stupid than to participate in a group activity where the whole point of certain parts is to look stupid and cheesy.  After all, there is safety in numbers.  This was my thoughts going in.

But I can’t get totally comfortable with this.  Fun to me is actually accomplishing something.  Hitting a complicated pattern and making it look smooth and effortless is fun for me.  Doing a routine where we move across the entire floor is fun to me.  I have no problem getting into a costume since I’ve done that for most of my recent routines and a little bit of playing around is OK but to me the routine should be about dancing.  I know I take myself too seriously when it comes to dancing but dancing is important to me.  I don’t want to go for cheap laughs at the expense of doing real steps.  After all, they may be laughing more at us than with us and that I guess is my real problem with the whole thing.   Or maybe I just need to lighten up and go with it.  This is my dilemma because I said I’d do it and I want to honor my promise and I’m certainly going to be at Showcase so I can’t use that as an excuse.

The real argument against this is that I’m going to be doing three solo routines at Showcase plus numerous heats in other dances.  Most of the closed routines are pretty well down but I’ve got new Tango and Mambo routines to master and new dances like the Bachata to pick up.  In other words, there is going to be a lot crammed into my head between now and May.  Not sure that I have any room for silliness.  Why devote the time and effort to something that isn’t going to be taken seriously.  I suppose I could always just half ass it but I’m not wired that way.  If I’m going to do something, I’m going to give it my best effort even if it isn’t supposed to be that serious.  So it would take time and focus which could probably be better spent on the other dances.

Thus the dilemma.  I suppose the fair thing to do is back out now if I have doubts rather than leaving it hanging.  But I’m notoriously slow at making decisions since I have to weigh all the options in my head.  I know this may sound a little egotistical but I think the rest of the group would appreciate having me there with them.  And forcing me to act like a clown might help me get over some of my self-consciousness.  So there are some reasons to do it.  But it sure doesn’t meet my definition of fun.

At the end of the night, 3 of 3 was trying to pump everyone up to stay excited about this.  She said that the only routines that people remember are the entertaining ones.  That may be true but you can be entertaining and dance well and not resort to cheap theatrics and obvious cheesy moves.  The judges at our November showcase remembered my West Coast Swing routine from over a year ago and we had a little bit of fun in the beginning but it was all about the dancing.  Got nothing against entertainment but I’m a dancer not a clown.  OK, I’ll go to my lesson and think some more about this.

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