Thursday, February 03, 2005

So tonight was the last class of the Dance Master's Thursday night Viennese Ball dances class, and something rather fun happened. Apparently at the last Jammix he saw Anachoron and I (I finally came up with a blogname for him that I'm happy with) polking together. As you know, he's one of my favorite polka partners ... probably my favorite male polka partner, at any rate, and we were playing around with this thing we'd been working on since the Jammix before that, which was a Viennese step in polka time followed by a redowa. It's step (man's right), heel click, redowa: step, click, redowa, or one-and-click, re-do-wa. Anyway I think it's awfully fun and since the Viennese step is actually pretty easy to lead I think it's a nifty way of getting into redowa.

Well anyway, apparently the Dance Master caught us doing this and decided to show it to the class tonight (though he credited only Anachoron and not me, but oh well). And he said he needed a name for it. I'm sure I'm not the first person to have thought of that combination of steps, but since it is sort of mine I feel like I should get to name it. My personal vote is for air redowa, since Viennese redowa got rejected (and since in polka time, at least, I prefer to get into it with either a single pivot or, even better, a single air pivot). If you see the Dance Master, I think you should so inform him. I think it's a shame that there's no polka contest at the Viennese Ball. It'd be a blast to enter something like that with Blue Rose, or Anachoron, or Alanna, or ... well, with lots of people. If I'm ever filthy rich I am so buying a house with a dance floor large enough to technopolk upon.

As long as we're on the subject (and as long as "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" is playing ... mmmmmm for good redowing polkas) I suppose now is as good a time as any to talk about performing. Especially since tonight I also had my Iolanthe callbacks (which went much more satisfactorily than the audition, though sadly I will not get to play opposite Phoebe). I think that for me, performing comes down to two things. One is the sense that God did give me certain performing gifts which deserve to be nurtured. I don't mean to say that I'm all that on stage, because I'm certainly not, but I think it's still a part of the me that God had in mind when he first conceived me.

Two is that I'm shy. This itself has two dimensions (you can tell we're Speaking Natalie now because my list has sub-lists). The first I think is that even shy people need a legitimate extroversion outlet. Being outgoing and extrinsic in regular old social situations is not always comfortable. But just because I'm shy (and this goes for a lot of performers I've known) doesn't mean there isn't another side of me inside me waiting to get out. And when you're on stage, behind the fourth wall, it feels a lot safer to let that out. And the second dimension is related to that: the something inside me. I want it to get out for its own sake, I suppose, but more importantly I want it to get out so that people can see it. So that they can know me. This is, of course, a recurring theme in my life: getting the story out, being known. Performing is a way of putting a part of me on display, of saying, "You may not see this in me all the time, but it's part of me all the same." On stage it's frequently the authoritarian or villainous me (I would love love love to play Javert or the Phantom of the Opera one day). Perhaps this time it will be the comical me. On the dance floor it's frequently the flirtatious me.

I think this is also why I am simultaneously flattered and embarrassed when people watch (spectate, I should say) me dancing. On the one hand it seems ridiculous that my mere dancing should entertain anybody so much that they should just watch, as is beginning to happen with alarming frequency at weddings. I mean, I don't want to dance just to show off. But on the other hand I do want people to see how much I love social dance, and I want this piece of performance art (the dance) to communicate that in a visceral way. Getting the story out, being known. I wonder if that's a general model for thinking about shyness.

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