What Can I Say? If It Could Happen, It Did Happen To Me”
Bloopers can happen for many reasons; like you forgot to check your costume and make sure your snaps and hooks are sewn on tightly. I mean, when you dance every weekend and perform 2 to 4 shows in a night your costumes will start to suffer.
I had ten costumes that I checked and made sure they were ready to dance in. Then, I just started to let the “costume check” slide a little. By appearance my costumes looked good but hidden from the general public were a few pins here and there. And that, my friends, is where the bloopers come to life.
I remember I was dancing for a recreational camp for kids and there had to be at least 200 kids ranging in ages from kindergarten up to teenagers all watching me perform. Before I knew it as I was doing my favorite turn, my back straps broke and there for a few seconds were my breasts bared for everyone to see. The younger kids didn’t quite get what had happened but the older ones did. Fortunately I had my niece with me who pinned my back straps together and I went back out to continue my performance. To my dismay the group leaders were already leading the kids out of the room and only a few stayed to see me finish. I don’t think I helped our community out much at that performance. To my knowledge they haven’t invited any belly dancers back. Moral of the story: Check your snaps and hooks!
Weight fluctuation is another blooper waiting to happen. I learned the hard way that my daughter’s socks are not a good substitution for bra pads. I had lost weight and fixed one costume but not the other. I figured that socks would give me the boost I needed while being hidden from view. So I decided to wear the costume that I didn’t fix first because what did I have to fear, I had my daughters socks. But socks, as I found out, have a mind of their own.
I was dancing for a huge group of diplomats from Iran and our FBI at a local restaurant that I perform at. Everybody was yelling my name and clapping as I came out ready to dance the night away. And that was exactly what I was doing until I noticed a few grins and giggles from the audience. One man pointed to my bra and from my vantage point, my breasts and bra looked fine. But when I did a chest circle there to my horror was my daughter’s sock hanging down my right side. So I did what any professional would do, I pulled it out and threw it. Everybody laughed and applauded and I continued to dance with one big breast and one small breast. After the evening was over and everybody had left I went looking for my daughter’s sock. I couldn’t find it anywhere and even had the wait staff (who were still in hysterics) help me look for it. But it was nowhere to be found. Weeks past and I forgot about the missing sock until the owner of the restaurant told me that my sock was given to the head diplomat as a gift and reminder of his stay here. So whoever took it had it framed and presented it to him. Also to go along with the sock were 5 video cameras that captured the infamous sock rolling down my right side. So moral of this story: bra pads!
Long skirts can be a bloopers’ best friend. I like my skirts long because I am short and if my skirts are just a little above my ankles they make me look even shorter. So the bottoms of my skirts get dirty and I have to wash them a lot. I had one particularly long skirt that I just loved. It was separate from my belt and I loved this because than I could mix and match to my hearts content. Well, one evening I wore my favorite skirt for a big dinner party at a nightclub I use to dance at. The family who had the dinner party filled most of the club. They had especially asked for me and I was very honored to dance for them. So the night began very innocently with me dancing around tables and on chairs. They even put me up on the tables a few times. It’s amazing what your skirt can get caught on. There I was dancing and just finishing up my drum solo when I decided I wanted to end on stage. So I jumped down off the table and began to stroll over to the stage only to realize that my skirt didn’t want to come with me. As my audience tried to get me unstuck my skirt somehow got pulled down and was close to my knees. (Thank God I had on matching underwear). Finally my skirt was pulled free and I gracefully pulled my skirt up and was able to finish the last minute of my show. The family loved the little drama and said that they would remember that night for a long time. The moral of this story: Stay on the stage and don’t dance on tables!
Props can either be friend or foe. Sometimes I really believe my veil, cane or sword is on the side of the bloopers. You know how it is, you practice in the studio or home and everything goes great but as soon as you get out and perform something bizarre happens to your prop. I have often wondered if my props were possessed. It’s amazing how your veil will get caught on your costume or how your cane flies out of your hand. My sword was better behaved but would occasionally act up
One evening in Fort Worth I was dancing in a very crowded restaurant and I was dancing with my cane. Everybody was enjoying themselves and the owner of the restaurant was sitting at a table not far from our little stage. I was twirling the heck out of my cane when to my surprise the cane flew out of my hand and landed on the restaurant owners lap. The whole restaurant applauded and yelled for more. So I slowly went up to the restaurant owner and asked for my cane and he gave it back to me with an amused look on his face. Fortunately for me my cane music was almost over and I didn’t have to try for another amazing encore with my cane. So the moral of this story: If you mess up with your prop, make it look good!
The last of the bloopers are the hidden kind. You know, the kind that don’t show themselves until you are on stage dancing and then you realize that the stage is uneven or worse you just stepped on something that feels very slimy. And let’s not forget the shrinking stage.
Let’s face it, when we get hired to dance at a party or event, we can’t always check the stage out beforehand. I remember when I was hired for a party and I asked how big was the space where I was dancing and they replied that it was a good-sized space, at least half of a room. So I choreographed a dance accordingly to what I was told. Well, my stage was 4ft by 3ft. and by a raging fire in a fireplace with little kids sitting all around me. My choreography changed immediately and I was amazed that I didn’t pass out from the heat.
The uneven stage is the one blooper that hides itself very well. I have been on stages that looked even but when I danced on them turned me into a lopsided sideshow. I remember at this one restaurant that whenever I would spin that I would slowly but surely spin into a table on the right side of the stage each time. I would stop at that table just before I’d loose it. I finally asked the other dancers if they did the same thing and they all replied yes. Thank God! Who wants to be lopsided alone? The slimy story gives me shivers up my spine so I think I’ll pass on it. Besides I think you can visualize the scenario without me giving you the details.
So these are just a few of my blooper stories. The one thing I realized throughout my 22 years in dance is that even though we all strive for perfection in our dance, the bloopers keep us grounded. Sometimes I think back and have to laugh at the dumb and embarrassing things that have happened to me. If you can laugh at yourself then you have just given yourself a wonderful gift. Laughter keeps us humble and it keeps us healthy. So keep on laughing and keep on dancing!