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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Word of the Day, vol. XIII

Word of the Day: DANCING

So, you know how having a “most embarrassing moment” somehow makes you a better conversationalist? I distinctly remember taking some time to figure out mine, so that this story would be at the ready if anyone ever happened to ask me what it was.

When I was 13, I had been dancing at the local Dance Studio on and off for maybe six years. At this point, I took my schoolwork and my dancing pretty seriously. I was in advanced ballet and beginning tap the last year I lived in New York and was dancing about three times a week.

Of course, at 13, our bodies start to change and suddenly, I found myself squeezing into leotards and tights and feeling…lumpy. Obviously, I was never going to be a ballerina, but it gave me something besides school and home to concentrate on and I truly loved it.

Every year, in the dead of June, there was a recital at BAM. I was performing in two classes’ final pieces, so I had two costumes. My costume for ballet was just a bright purple leotard with a small ruffled skirt, my white tights, and pointe shoes. My costume for tap, though, was a black one piece with culottes(!) and a gold shrug, a small gold cap and black gloves.

No, I am not kidding. There is a picture on my wall to prove it.

Needless to say, the tap costume was much more complicated to put on, and so, I figured, the tap dance was first, so that my quick change would be an easy one.

I showed up to the hall and discovered ballet was first and that I’d have approximately 35 seconds to change into my four-piece costume.

The ballet dance was a huge hit—I still remember some of the steps and also how we totally freestyled at one point in the dance. Thanks, Jennifer D.! (That was my teacher. She was so awesome.)

I scooted into the wings after the dance and quickly changed my clothes, with the help of a classmate. The black one-piece was held up by just a single string and of course, in the mix, it busted, so we had to pin it to keep it up.

The music began and I entered.

Flap, step, flap, step, flap, step, flap, ball, change. Annnnd….snap.

Mid-way through the dance, I realized the string had busted again. Which meant that suddenly I was doing the time-step in front of a huge crowd and my whole family with my 13 year old boobs in a sad black bra showing.

I kept dancing though, grinning sheepishly the whole time!

And then, I got offstage and cried. Nobody in my class had seemed to notice that I was giving the audience a wee peep show. (Or not so wee—have you SEEN my boobs?)

(To be fair, this embarrassing story falls into the “topless in front of a crowd” category. I have a really great “sticking my foot in my mouth” story as well, that I will save for another time. This is enough mortification for one Sunday morning.)