Dork-o-Rama: The Random Thoughts of a Total Goofball

Embracing the Dork Side....Because Life is Too Short to Take Yourself Too Seriously

Sunday, October 18, 2009

One of these things is not like the other...

So, as I stand in my line-up for the hula performance, I look to my right. There I see a lovely, slender young woman of some mixed Asian heritage who's a lovely dancer. To my left, a lovely slender woman of Japanese/Hawaiian descent who is exactly what you picture when you say "hula dancer" - long, dark hair, brown skin...she's just gorgeous.

And I can't help but laugh. What's the so-pale-she's-translucent*, chubby Irish-Italian girl DOING in between them?? I so do not look the part. And I'm by far the chubbiest girl in that front row, and in the smaller special performance I'm doing. I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb.

This is another reason I appreciate my Kumu: he doesn't hide the chubby girls. There are a couple of rounder women in the performing group, and they get as much exposure as the thinner dancers.

When my dear friend Rebecca first tried to sell me on hula several years ago, I remember her saying it was very forgiving of different body types. But when we first started this journey, I was stunned by how hard hula is. I was soaked with sweat at the end of that first class, and I think we only worked on one step that night, maybe two! There are things we do now that I never thought I'd be able to do. I remember how rubbery my thighs felt for months as we were learning the basics.

And lately, because I've been sick, I've really been struggling - it's hard to catch your breath when you're coughing...while dancing, chanting, and oh, yeah, having some sort of expression on your face that says something other than, "I'm dying." I've been making lots of stupid mistakes in dances we've been doing for ages, often right in front of Kumu - GAAH. But nothing's been more challenging than getting up off of the floor.

I know. What?? I'm doing two hula nohos, or seated hulas, which aren't really seated. Let me explain: get on your knees, with your feet straight out behind them. Now sit on your feet. Now lean back a little. That's the starting position. Now spend three to four minutes dancing in that position, hips moving, going up and down on your knees a few times, while chanting. Do a lot of leaning back to get that full thigh stretch. Now get up quickly AND gracefully.

Shut up. I can't do it. That's a lot of weight resting on top of my feet - that's where all the pressure hits on me - and if I dance properly, with a lot of movement, then that really puts pressure on them. And it's a weird position for my ankles, as they get stretched in a strange way. It takes a lot of life out of my ankles and feet, so they're well on the way to being numb by the time we're done.

When it's time to get up, all the younger, thinner folks seem to have no trouble, while I've spent the last few weeks focusing almost exclusively on that. In one dance, I'm front and center when I have to get up gracefully (with stones in my hands!) and in the other, I'm in that small group and very visible. I don't think I can overstate how stressed I've been over this one detail. I was convinced I'd get moved to another row, or out of the small group because I just can't pull myself up with any sort of grace.

The "hallelujiah" moment came a few days ago, when I was on my living room floor, trying to train my feet to get more accustomed to the stretch they experience in noho, not to mention the weight. The more you do it, the easier it gets, so I've been spending more and more time every day in this position. I finally found a little trick to provide myself more support as I rise. And I've been able to do it consistently since then. And in class Thursday night, I finally felt strong, made no mistakes, and actually felt like I danced well. For the first time in weeks.

Got my mojo back, just in time. It feels good. Still, this morning, during our first rehearsal on the stage on which we're performing next weekend, my mouth went dry when I danced up front because, um, WOW, that's really front and center. Holy COW. But I finally feel ready. I'll let you know how it goes.

*Getting a spray tan on Friday. Gotta do something...!

At 19 October, 2009 04:13, Blogger The Savage said...

I wish I had something like that 'round Missouri. But then traveling on the road makes it hard to get to classes anyways....


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