The Entertainer

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Let’s just start with this – last night’s Showcase went very well.  I suppose if I really, really wanted to I could pick at certain parts of both routines.  Fortunately, I’m not in the mood for that.  They were both really solid and I actually felt good about both of them.

When compared to the Famous Franchise, this is a very low key Showcase.  There were just 20 performances spread out into three acts.  And I accounted for 2 so 10% of the show was me!  (Sorry that just hit me).  A lot of it was pro/am for people working with instructors at the studio.  But there were several pro pairs who danced and one very advanced amateur couple who compete who came to do a number.

It looked like there were some people who had several family members out to watch.  I just had Hilde as my plus one for the night.  I don’t know how many of these people actually compete because it seems like at least two of them just learn routines to do at these Showcase.  Well, technically, that’s all I’m doing but then I’ve got a whole other dance life outside of Studio B.

But, even with a small crowd, there is still that wonderful mix of fear and excitement when it comes to doing this routines.  It is hard to explain to people why I feel compelled to keep putting myself out there for people to watch.  At least if you are competing, then there is a tangible goal and that might make more sense for those who don’t dance.  Here, you don’t really get anything except some applause and some memories and a sense of pride and accomplishment.  I’ve said this before but you work for six months on a routine that lasts less than two minutes.  (Well the six months sounds impressive but I was just taking one lesson a week and I missed a few weeks)  Hard to see that the scales balance but it is all worth it when the performance goes well.

And maybe it is different for me as an introvert.  Dancing in front of a group of people hardly seems like an introverted thing to do and that might be part of the appeal.  It is more of a challenge because we tend to shun the limelight and yet, here we are taking center stage and having all eyes on us.  Oh, that is actually another difference between this Showcase and a Famous Franchise event.  Here, since this is all there is, I do think people focus more on the routines.  At a Famous Franchise event, you tend to have people running to change and to get ready for the next set of heats so you don’t always have the full attention of the room.

Well let me set the stage and give you some more details.  Got there about 30 minutes before the doors opened because I was supposed to meet Mindy to run through everything again.  Because we were doing the West Coast Swing first, I arrived in my jeans which was quite the contrast since most of the other numbers were smooth or standard numbers with much more elaborate outfits.  We worked in the little dance floor behind the big one and the first two times I was doing the West Coast Swing, I was skipping two whole steps.  Funny what the mind can do to you.  Good thing was that I recognized as I played the dance back in my head and then we had some good runs.  Switched to the Salsa and did the same thing.  Then we broke to change.

I had set Hilde up with my phone so she could record.  She got there just as I was getting ready to head back stage since the show was starting and we were #3 in the first act.  It turns out that we were the only ones who used the back dance floor to walk onto the main floor.  That is how the last two went but they made it optional so most people just entered from the corner of the main floor.  That just gave us a slightly longer walk on as the announcer was going over what we were about to dance.  There was just something about the sound of dance shoes on a floor in a mostly quiet studio as we made our way into position.  Remembering to breathe and trying to relax and just smile and walk tall and look confident and all that stuff.

When we took our opening spot, we were facing the audience and that’s when the nerves kicked into high gear.  Fortunately, the rest of the dance was in a line that was parallel to the audience so we were generally looking at each other.  But, I hit the start and we just rolled through it.  Basically, I’m just counting to myself and flashing to the next move in the routine and just trying to relax and feel the music.  I heard the crowd a few times.  We got a big reaction with the little trick she through in right at the end.  Then, its over and we walk off.  A few nice comments from people as we walk by and then run to change into the Salsa outfit.

By the time I got changed, the first act was almost over.  There was a 15 minute break between acts so there was some general dancing which Hilde was all over.  I had to back it down a bit because I didn’t want to wear myself out too much knowing I had the second routine to do.  We were #2 in the second act, so when the announcer said it was the last song before the second act, I said goodbye to Hilde and made my way back to the little dance floor to wait for our second show.

Same general set up as the first.  We had the long walk onto the floor while the announcer was introducing us and the dance.  Then, we took our places and cue the music.  I had asked Mindy to count me in because finding the start had been difficult.  Once I got started, I could stay on time but I kept having trouble finding the right beat.  Since nobody could really tell she said “5” which was the clue to start counting and then hit the first move which was just to explode away.  There were times I could feel myself start to speed up but we had worked on this so much that I managed to pump the brakes a bit and not get ahead of the timing.  So it was another solid routine and the same applause and high fives as we walked off the floor so I could change into what I was going to be wearing the rest of the night.

Spent most of the night dancing with Hilde but I did get a chance to dance with a former Famous Franchise student.  We sometimes called ourselves the A team in group class so it was fun to get a Swing with her.  I got grabbed by a lady to do a West Coast since she said I had no excuse since I showed everyone I knew how to West Coast.  And, I had an instructor grab me for a Cha-Cha.  Dancing with instructors is always a bit stressful since it sometimes feels like you are being judged.  But, honestly, she had done several shows during the day and I think was just looking to cut loose and relax.

Oh, and I decided to post my West Coast Swing on my Facebook page.  Why does that matter?  Well, except for Hilde and one other person, my life at Studio B has been kept secret from the rest of the Famous Franchise.  No real reason except that is just how I roll.  Nobody ever asked “are you dancing at another studio” so I saw no reason to bring it up.  Except I am friends with a few of the other students so the secret is now out.  But that’s a good thing.  Nothing wrong with seeing what life is like outside the Famous Franchise.

Will be curious to see if anyone says anything.  Now this week the focus turns to the Famous Franchise and Showcase #2 a week from today.

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