Photo: Tania performing The White Swan Suite, from The Swan Lake, in Campinas, SP, Brazil, for Viva Vida Academy of Dance, under the Tutelage of Marina Simões in 1994
Dancing bugs are not exclusive of Latin dancing. Even when dancing by yourself all these things can happen.
What things? Bugs.
I’ve been a ballet, jazz, contemporary, modern dancer for 20 years before starting on the Latin styles here in Australia.
I remember some nice stories, especially from performances; they are where the funniest situations are born. Once we had this group of beginners little girls on their first performance ever dressed as ladybugs (talking about bugs) they were the cutest things, not one over six years old, in red carcasses and funny little antlers fixed by a tiara on their heads. At the beginning of the choreo they had this thing of holding hands two by two and moving their heads.
The bug happened when the antlers of two of the lady bugs got stuck. They did what they were trained to do: dance no matter what, and they did the rest of the choreo stuck to one another, trying to keep the formations: tendu, tendu, passé, pas de bourree.
The public loved it! And they got the chance to do it again.
The teacher unstuck them and they could repeat the presentation without being dragged around one by the other.
Another time it was the shoes, I had this turn ending with a jette, that traditional ballet jump with a split on the air.
I spun with all my might and when the leg came up for the jette, the shoe didn’t like the centrifugal and centripetal forces and went flying all the way to the curtains. I did what I had to do: prayed “I hope I don’t slip when my shoe-less and stocking-more foot hits the floor and I don’t end up in a real undesired split!”
I can’t forget about my magic transformation from yellow to beige too.
We had these several choreos one after the other, the public can’t imagine how much you get changed behind the scenery at the backstage.
I always say that if I was a man I would certainly love to dance, you get away with seeing so many interesting things behind the curtains!
We had to get changed in less than 40 seconds. I was already on stage, on my third movement when I had to look down and saw the collant was inside out! Lucky my costume was yellow and the inside was beige, so the contrast wasn’t too bad. But bad enough!
The champion of the bugs I can remember was about this choreo, it was an intense atmospheric one.
It had a heavy theme that comprised a Jesus on a cross that was to be rescued by two of my friends. This Jesus was wearing the traditional sheet wrapped up on top of the boxers. All was well, we were there dressed as Jesuit monks, with torches under our chins giving that macabre look, the music involving us all with its doomed notes… and the sheet decides for a rebellion and simply falls transforming Jesus in a skinny guy wearing boxers and what looked like pampers halfway to his knees.
All the mood was ruined in one instant and the public started laughing so hard that it got really difficult to continue crawling on the floor! You can’t have a good dense mood of a choreo without some people’s parts crawling from under the smoke that the smoke machine is producing – not when you can hear them laughing maniacaly and from under the smoke and no parts coming up.
But as the people say: the show must go on!
Around dancers that had stopped dancing because they had fallen to the floor laughing got under control and continued the dancing, eventually. Around the sounds of HA HA HA from the public, the Jesus sneaked out of stage, around the painful face of the choreographer watching from inside the curtains and the sound of the assistant choreographer banging their head on the wall.
Those can be said to be the longest minutes of your dancing life. You get to the end of the choreo and the applause is the biggest one you ever got. You keep thinking “oh! I’m good!” and you only know the truth when everyone is talking about it later.
The Lesson, from each and all these stories is the same: keep dancing, the show must go on.
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