Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Take a Bow.... and maybe a glowstick!

It's hard to describe the feelings standing backstage while the amazing woman making the announcements in front of the curtain is talking about YOU.
ok fine.
I'm brave, blushing, cocky, shy, and nervous!... B was standing nearby and asked if I was nervous (because she was)...... I whispered:
"Yes! Absolutely I am!"
I was a new kind of nervous...
It's not your run-of-the-mill "I hope I dance well and remember things" kind of nervous...
This was a "Hello folks! Yessiree! I was allowed to teach your children for 8 weeks... lookie what we did!" kind of nerves...
The kind where you realize the audience, the very full audience, made up primarily of teenagers and parents, has every right to judge you completely and totally.


But for all those little nerves and questions....there was so much joy! Around me, next to me... running down the hallway at me...
I loved it.
Caroline had told the students to not go looking for me because I was getting ready to when I saw them in the hallway:
N burst out "I didn't find her! It was an accident!!"
K said "Ms. Riker we wouldn't come find you, but you found us!"
all these moments of excitement, pictures taken and dances performed in their one chance in front of family and peers.... (no pressure! wow.)
I fell in love all over again.
With the immediate emotion these dancers bring to their dances, the questions on their faces and the crazy beautiful exuberance that happens in a moment's notice...(directly after a major bout of pouting in some cases.) I was thrilled.
J and J performed a wonderful duet I was honored to have been part of coaching, A, C and M rocked with their trio, M and L had finished their duet (they were worried - when I left SYR they had taken two rehearsals to create 8 counts... sometimes that's the way it goes)

25 pieces... well.. 26 if you include mine.

Many of them solos and duets that the students had choreographed.
Interspersed were the class dances that we had created together - Caroline had been rehearsal director for these dances that were completely unfamiliar to her, with movement made by someone slightly more monkey than lovely...and she did a terrific job.
She gave them counts (I didn't) and the classes found their dances during their 5 or 6 weeks of rehearsal after I was gone.

....and then something happened that FLOORED me. I've heard people say that (OK, mostly my Mom says "It floored me"...and I think it means "felt like it knocked you down it was so surprising".)
And this did -  .....A speech was given by M, H and A (possibly the most beautiful speech I have EVER been the focus of btw) explaining that Period 6/7 had created a second class dance - they had taken the floor phrase I had taught as a fun warm up with some nice balance and floor challenges   - they said they had combined the things I had taught them (martial arts, circus and dance) and made this dance as a dedication - to me! (What?!?...oh my goodness!)
... it was to Jack Johnson's warm and folksy song that we'd listen to for extra smiles when we needed them:  "Better Together"
Fabulous warm fuzzies for all!

The dance that I had worked with 6/7 on  incorporated glowsticks -
And wow! did it work! the entire stage vibrated with colors and small points of light -  they were beautiful. (this is the best picture I have of it -doesn't do it justice at all - no fault of the photographer...glowsticks are hard to capture.) Their ending was supposed to be a dramatic exit through the audience with glowsticks - they created their ending, swirling as they should but then in the dark lined up in front of the stage, their backs to us...when they turned around we saw they had shaped the glowsticks into "THANK YOU MS RIKER"
I almost passed out..I didn't - but I did clap and yell my cheers and hope they could hear me.

In the end all of these dancers: Ensemble, Per 1, 2, 4, 6/7 ...soloists, trios, duets and groups - worked hard and reaped what they sowed -  it was successful.   I am proud that The West Genesee Dance Department's presentation of "Arrival" was the culmination of a residency by Kinesis Project dance theatre.

And if I had glow sticks to return the amazing favor of my name in colored shapes.....I would say "THANK YOU WEST GENESEE"
for 8 weeks that kept me laughing, patient, open, breathing, doing yoga after lunch, partnering after school, crunches on Tues and Thurs, capoeira in a parking lot, a dance on an outside wall, 11th Period breaks = run-ins with boys and fun conversation, and finally, paying attention to even the smaller moments of Arrival.

Have a wonderful summer, dancers. (but that would take a lot of glowsticks.....)

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