Sitting on a rainbow...
Meet my alter ego, Pat McGroin. (I have to give credit where it's due - a hula brother gave me my drag name, and it still makes me laugh.)
I did not have a heart attack on stage, which is an accomplishment in my book. There were moments during the tech rehearsal the night before the show, the first time I danced this for anyone else, that I thought I might die.. No, really. Two minutes and 12 seconds of sheer terror. I could see my hands shaking on certain moves, which nearly made me laugh.I haven't danced a solo anything since high school, and that was just in front of a class, not an audience! But the feedback (and cheers!) I got from my hula siblings was very positive, so I felt much better after the big unveiling. MUCH.
The group number, which was a comedy bit involving Lucy and Ethel trying to hula and sabotaging the actual hula dancers, did not go as well during the tech rehearsal, so we spent the rest of the evening reassessing our number and making necessary changes. I didn't expect that to be so challenging, and it turned out to be my part that needed the most revision, so I went to bed that night more stressed out about that than the solo! Luckily, I awoke the next day with the idea we needed to make it work, but it also meant I had a lot of new work to do in the hours before the performance.... yikes.
During the show, I'm happy to say the solo went just fine, and again, my hula siblings gave a huge cheer when the curtain opened on me (and when I finished), which felt good. I needed their support, especially since non of my non-hula friends were able to come, and I really felt that support from the hula family. And while I did a good job of not really focusing on anyone in the audience - a technique that helps with the nerves - I couldn't help but spot where my Kumu was sitting... and then did my best not to look his way for the rest of the number!
And no, I didn't win anything, but I didn't expect to*. Well, okay, part of me had a little fantasy about placing in the competition, but once I saw what my more senior (in experience, not age!) siblings were doing, I knew there wasn't a chance. The guys really had the advantage, as their costumes were far more elaborate, but I was so impressed by what some of the other women came up with. I'm so impressed by the talent and creativity in our halau.
It was a huge relief when people started laughing during the group comedy bit - I was in a position on stage where I could really watch the audience reaction, and they seemed to enjoy what we were up to and laughed when they were supposed to. And we tied for third place, though the judges conferred and gave the prize to the other group (and I think they deserved it).
It was yet another tremendous experience in bonding, creative expression, and fun... despite the pre-show meltdowns over my solo (and there were several!). I'm proud that I managed to stretch way outside my comfort zone again, and especially pleased with the way the group worked together in the comedy bit - all eight of us had input, everyone was generous, no one tried to outshine anyone. It was an ideal situation for a group project.
Once again, I'm feeling incredibly fortunate to be having these experiences.
*Well, my class won the class competition, which was based on the scores of the soloists. One of my hula brothers from my class, who is a drag performer, won the solo competition, so that was the biggest factor in our win, but I guess the other soloist from my class and I must have done alright!