Monday, September 1, 2008

Sunburned from dancing

It's always a bit anti-climactic, driving home after a performance. You rehearse for what, six weeks? three months? (It depends on the piece) And then its just over, and there's nothing left for you to do but to drive home. On any given day, I typically choose to ride in silence, unless its one of my Great Courses on tape . Tonight, I needed the quiet. I was woozy from all the sunshine, and all the smiles.

Smiles are exhausting. Not just the cheesy "on-stage" smiles. (Believe me, I have those specially designed to not fatigue my face). It's the genuine, o-my-god-they're-cheering-for-me smiles that get tiring. This particular performance is taxing because it's not just one, but three shows within a 5 hour span. That means you have to get psyched up, walk on "stage" (stage being the conventional term, but not really applicable to this particular performance...I'll get to that), psych yourself out, and stop shaking so that your pas de bureaux isn't sloppy, and get on with it--then you're done for an hour, only to repeat the process again, and in our case, a third time. Its an adrenalin roller coaster, and certainly takes its toll by the end of the day. We went out for beers afterward, but were so tired none of us had more than two.

My parents came, which meant a lot to me. I don't think my mother has been able to come to one of my performances since my undergraduate thesis in May 2001. She made fun of my costume (a very cutesy sundress, one that I've "ugh"ed over several times) and my dad leaned in to give me a kiss--again, with the exhausting smiles).

We did REALLY well, which is a relief. Six weeks is not a long time to rehearse, and I don't think we had all of us together at the same time until dress , which then went badly for technical reasons (btw, if someone knows of any dress rehearsal on earth that's ever gone well, please let me know!). It pulled together beautifully today. We dance on a stone sculpture, and then walk into a reflecting pond. Incidentally, said pond has multiple signs surrounding it "NO swimming NO wading" But it doesn't say NO dancing!(we also have an insurance policy specific to this event...silly bureaucracy) So, it's not a stage. As my dad says, "It's 3D" because our atmostphere, the sculpture and the pool, are as much a part of the dance as the choreography and the music.

I have been thinking so much about my Curriculum Vitae lately, and personal statements--in fact, that is what occupied my mind on my quiet ride home tonight. Here's something that I just spent 6 weeks to create. Its done in an instant, everyone's back home and there's a wee little line on the CV under the fucking "extracurricular" section, or something else just as lame. But this is something that hundreds of people came to today! I hate to think of the truly awesome and enriching experiences of my life as notches on a belt (mind you, that belt is purple velvet...) or lines on a CV. And yet, my graduate experience has taught me to do just that. I'm a paper doll--quite literally, because whoever sees my application sees just that, paper. These applications raise a unique and hair-raising challenge that I'm not sure quite how to meet yet.

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