Susan's Blog

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Raqs Layali Al Lincoln

I’m going to try to sum up the Recital, but I am exhausted, so bear with me.

I got to the school 40 minutes early so that I could decorate the stage. I had my Halloween lights and many, many (freshly washed at a hot temp and dried on medium) veils. I was wearing my black dance pants (low rise yoga-style stretchy with wide flared bottoms)a black tank top and a black lace shawl + my emerald green Nourhan Sharif triangular hip scarf around my hips. I wanted to be in the spirit of bellydance performance, but I did not want to take attention away from the troupe, so this was my compromise costume. Favorite deep pink silk veil.

I stood on the risers that were left over from the Kindergarten concert this morning (I pushed them against the walls out of the way of my girls) to hang the lights and to swag the hot pink, shiny blue, and emerald green veils. Played with the curtains, figuring out which way to pull the ropes. I tested the boom box. I borrowed a bit of scenery I found backstage (a fireplace and some pewter ewers) and arranged them in the center back. It looked like the Casbah meets Barbie’s castle: perfect.

The girls poured in like a burst dam. There were twelve total. I tried to corral them onto the stage, but they kept running off, greeting friends and relatives who had come early. We went through the number once and then the younger ones got all loony again. One little one needed my help putting on her special costume without messing up her updo. Another one was telling me her knee hurt. Another kept running off stage looking for her dad, who was supposed to show up for the performance. I noticed that the oldest girls were getting annoyed, which had never happened this semester (last year there was one older girl that wanted more out of the class, as well). Several of the younger ones kept yelling, “Can we have snack?” at me but apparently they had not gotten the memo. “There is no snack,” I told them. “I thought others would bring it.” Wailing.

One of the youngests’s mom brought cookies and juice but it was too late to hand it out. The three older girls kept pleading with me to control the others. I tried and tried, but I could not do what they wanted. One of them started to cry — moments before the curtain was to open. I got her mother to come up on stage and be with her, but then, another one was crying. I got her mother up on stage as well.

Meanwhile the younger ones were running wild. We only managed to practice one more time before the showtime was upon us. The dad was not there. The girls had kind of calmed down. “Daddy!” I heard. “Daddy!” went a loving tender voice from my toughest kid. Daddy had arrived.

I yelled them into a semi-circle and went out in front of the closed curtains to announce the show to the parents. Opened the curtain and put on the music.

The girls were splendid. I had to say, “That’s it,” to let the parents know it was done, because if you blinked, you would miss it (it’s a very short song). We were asked for an encore and we did it again. Each time I was off to the side, only venturing on stage when it looked like one would fall off or another was looking for me to see what to do next. “Now can we have snack?” several screamed.

“Yes–” I started to say, but then the PTO president reminded us of our gig for the faculty, in the cafeteria. The PTO president has four kids under 9, so she was able to hustle us over to the cafeteria in minutes. She was like a Major General. I said to her, “It must be the fourth kid.”

The cafeteria was packed with all the teachers, staff, every person who works for that school. Then all the parents tumbled in as well. There was an L-shaped space in which to perform, and I wasn’t sure how we’d do in that strange configuration. I motioned to them how to stand, introduced them, and began.

This one was the best yet. Still, I had to say, “That’s it,” so that everyone knew to applaud. Even though the finish was so dramatic (head rolls and then, throw your head back and look way up and freeze). But maybe I was the only one who did it that way? I will never know because, well, my head was rolling at the time.

They finally got to eat their snack. One of them came up to me and hugged me. Another gave me fudge and her dad took a picture of us. Another couple hugged me and asked about next semester. I don’t know, I don’t know! So so so tired.

And what have you learned, Dorothy?

Well, first of all, if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again…

No, no, not that! I learned 1) perhaps I need to do two separate numbers, one for the youngest girls (something in a circle, with veils and running); and one for the oldest girls to showcase their skills. And 2) have snack at the very beginning.


Beautiful! Kind of goes under the category “No good deed goes unpunished”.

I would add “several parent helpers” to your list for next time.

— added by Anonymous on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 8:31 am

Glad it went well. Never underestimate the importance of snack!

— added by Someone Said on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 10:03 am