|Dance costume selfie with a troupemate's bra|
I'm going to stop numbering the Projekt weeks since I've pretty much cleared the three month mark (especially because my school/work load has been keeping me way too busy to blog consistently). Honestly, I never thought I would get this far, or have it go this well. I do have to admit that even though it's going well, it could be argued that 1) dancing is still causing nerve problems so I shouldn't be doing this, and 2) dancing wipes me out in ways that force me to continue using various adaptive aids (I don't generally dance with the crutch, but I use it all of the time outside the house unless I'm using my wheelchair...I still can't walk more than a block without issues). Call it stubbornness, but I'm going to keep dancing as much as I can!
That stubbornness has paid off. A couple Sundays ago as I went to the studio to do my work-study (that's how I can afford to dance with my medical bills), I was invited to join Helix, the studio's ATS® student troupe. I was so happy to be invited for a bunch of reasons. The first was that I really wanted the sense of community and siblinghood that being in a troupe can give. As an introvert, I sometimes have internal freakouts about whether or not people actually like my presence or if I'm being intrusive when I try to be social. The second was that since I've been dancing for about ten years (granted, not as much when my spine got really bad...but dance was still in my heart and soul) and had been paid and asked to perform for shows, I felt uncomfortable with being in a student troupe for cabaret or fusion bellydance....but with the unique group improv format of ATS® and my relative inexperience in the style (one summer in San Francisco with FatChanceBellyDance plus another trip plus dabbling) made the "student" status a perfectly fine fit.
Hm, I realize that might sound bad or like I'm creating some sort of hierarchy of shimmies or something. It's just that I've taught and been paid to dance, and the teachers & more experienced dancers at the studio that dance with the student troupes are generally considered "guest artists." My old troupe treated me really poorly because of my semi-pro dance experience, so I feel like I have to try to assert my worth as someone that's been doing this and doing it well for a decade (introvert problems perhaps?). I would love to dance whenever and wherever I can, with whomever wants to dance with me because in the end, I love dancing WITH people versus being a soloist.
Anyhow, paranoid introvert rambling aside, my first performance is tomorrow! I do have to work to get a few pieces of costuming together. This style usually involves pantaloons, a big poufy skirt (10-25 yard bottom hem) over that, belts or scarves over that for the lower body, with a choli as a base on the upper body with a decorated bra over the choli (see self-photo of the choli with a decorated bra), plus makeup and a "hair garden" with fake flowers. I already had a couple pairs of pantaloons, a couple cholis, and skirts. I'm borrowing a decorated bra from a troupemate as I don't have time to decorate my own right now. I need to find my pretty shawls that are hiding in the house along with the jewelry and hair flowers that I've collected over the years.
I'm excited but a little nervous. My balance isn't getting much better, so I'm a little worried about falling on stage...but I think my troupemates understand my limitations and are just happy that we get to dance together. *grin* If anyone takes photos, I'll post them for you all to see!