Expect the unexpected. This was a term I often used for my cheerleading squad that I coached. In cheerleading the unexpected happened often. There were times when one or more girls were injured, absent or had simply just quit the team. What did this mean? It meant we had to adapt to our surroundings. That means a girl who was a spotter suddenly had to become a flyer or a stunt pyramid completely needed to be changed and it needed to be done quickly for a performance or competition. However, one thing was for certain, the girls never missed an event. They expected the unexpected. The same philosophy is true for belly dancers.
Rule Number One: Always have a well-fitted costume on hand for performing.
This past spring I had drove out of town to Monticello, NM. I had signed up for a few different workshops. Monticello is a nearly deserted place along a twenty-five-mile drive of valley. While I drove alone to the dance workshop I imagined a whole slue of things that could happen along the way. What would happen if I suddenly became stranded? Would a man with a chainsaw come after me? Would I run out of water and die in the sun? Would a rattlesnake bite me? Luckily, I still had two bars left on my phone. I stopped along the way to take pictures of where I was to send to a couple of friends – just incase.
When I arrived at the workshop I felt relieved that I had made it. I took a candle workshop and then drove back along the valley to my hotel in Truth or Consequences. Awe. There was an air-conditioned room with a bed and restaurants nearby. I was content. I bought take-out food, ate and then fell asleep while watching Signs on television. I woke up a few hours later, showered and traveled all the way back to Monticello. I was looking forward to some middle eastern cuisine and entertainment from the musicians and belly dancers.
It was a lovely place. The hostess had created a wonderful event. It was welcoming and the catered food was nice. I sat, ate, drank and was happy. Then something occurred. Apparently, one of the performers had to leave back home due to an emergency. The hostess asked if I would be willing to take her place in the show.
“Oh, I don’t know. I don’t have a costume with me.” I said, “I’m sure we can find you something.” she said, “You can borrow one of my costumes.” she continued, “Ok.” I said hesitantly. I really don’t like to turn down any opportunity to dance, especially to live music.
She asked me to follow her. We walked into a trailer where the dressing room was located. “Here this should fit you.” She said. I looked at the costume. It was about 4 inches too long for my five foot two frame. Also, as boobalicious as I am, the cups were one size too big for my frame. However, I tried it on. It was a full-skirted costume with a belt attached to the skirt. I thought, “Maybe if I tuck the top part of the skirt into the belt it will work.” The bra was the tricky part. Let’s just say there were a lot of safety pins involved. I looked in the mirror. The room was very dim but I thought this was definitely a costume I could pull off.
After all the pinning and tucking I needed to go to the little girls room. The little girls room was a public port-a-potty. Now, I do not think I am too good to use an outside toilet but the seven hundred-dollar costume I was borrowing for the show was definitely too good to be in there with me. However, I did not have a choice. I grabbed a flashlight and made the short journey to the toilet, high heels and all. Halfway down the hill I stumbled. “I’m ok!” I said to no one but myself as I pulled myself together to walk again. I did my business and walked to the performance area.
I gazed as the professional hired belly dancers did their thing on stage. I hoped by some sheer luck that the song I would be dancing to would be Classical Egyptian or folkloric since I am decent with a cane. I walked to the side of the building down a dirt path covered in rocks. There was an entrance to the side of the stage I wanted to start my performance at. I watched as the girl before me performed with the band. And then suddenly “Ouch” I yelped. Something had crawled up my leg and bit me on the upper thigh. I turned red. I was embarrassed that the audience heard me and that I had interrupted the performance. But as usual, my powers of invisibility were in gear and not a single person noticed. Then as the tingling continued my imagination continued as well. Did a scorpion bite me? Was it an ant? There was no time to panick. My name was being called.
“From Albuquerque New Mexico, Ranee!” The music started, I waiting for about thirty seconds and entered on cue. The pain in my leg suddenly disappeared and I danced – badly and mostly in placed. You see the costume did not work out after all and was coming apart from where I had tucked in the skirt. I could barely travel, bend or spin but I smiled! This seemed like the longest set of my life when the drummer finally started his solo. Now, I can fake a pretty good drum solo even as nervous as I was. For me drums mean this is nearly the end of the performance. I motioned to the drummer to finish. I spun around and ended in a dramatic Turkish Drop.
My bra popped. The halter had snapped and I was on the floor, my head toward the audience. I grabbed the halter with one hand and tried to get up as gracefully as I could and exited the stage.
Now, I have seen this happen before. I never expected it to happen to me. After a few moments of sheer shock I composed myself. I walked up the hill back to the trailer and changed as quickly as possible. Hey maybe they won’t even realize it was me that was dancing? I returned to watch the rest of the show and enjoyed it. This was a lesson learned. Now, I always have a costume on hand. And in the event I don’t? Well, I won’t be borrowing one either.
Oh, and I did mention this earlier but just incase you forgot, I did this all in heels.