I think it was written in the stars that we were meant to do what we did last night. It was a little unreal, you may even think it desperate, how it all came to be. After our first and last show last June, me and my dancer friends ( I call them-my dancer friends-for want of a better term but they have become some of my closest girlfriends) had bonded so well that we decided to continue dancing together once a week. A few months later, we started joking about how we really should look for another gig so that we could show what we had been practising. No luck, nothing, na-da. Until our 1st practice right after India when we were all joking, again, about our next show. Strangely when someone lamented when, oh, when, I told everyone, it will be in June.
2 weeks later, a friend of a friend wrote to Yuch asking if she would like to participate in a dance competition organised by some obscure group called Dream Catchers Vision. As you can see from the brochure on top, the competition day was scheduled yesterday ie 11th June 2011. They needed a minimum number of 5 dancers per group.
There were many factors against us joining.
None of us like competitions, (not at our age, no, thank you), our choreographer was away in New York and would only be back on 30th April and up till sometime in May, we did not even have 5 dancers. The 2 most active dancers which included me were left to make the decisions on yay or nay and I voted yay. Largely for a self fulfilled prophecy. Everyone else except the choreographer was reluctant. I was left to communicate with Shalimah from the Dream Catchers to confirm. Then the 5th member called me and told me the date clashed with her planned trip home to Malaysia.When I told Shalimah, she said she would put us on the list still and was confident that we could get another 5th member in the end. Somehow I knew in my heart that we would do it and sure enough in the nick of time, the 5th member who backed out earlier confirmed yay too and postpone her trip home to Malaysia by one day. It was a little strange how the day she reconfirmed her yay was the day after Shalimah had asked me for her number hoping to persuade her herself to leave home one day later. I didn't give her the number, of course, not that there was any need to in the end.
Now that it was a definite go ahead, there came the grill of dancing at least twice a week up till three times just before the competition. Our wonderful choreographer, YucH not only created the dance, she did the costumes and the props as well. YucH is the kind of person who could make someone like me feel completely uncraftworthy. Would you believe that she made this Indian headgear with a sun visor? She tilted the shade of the sun visor upward so that you would wear it like a huge bunny ear on your head and then adorned the visor with cloth . We were assigned to add feathers. I had a mask so I used it for mine.
These are the hand masks which we wore on our wrists. They are one half of a half mask with the eye portions covered with felt cloth and sequins.
The Pièce de résistance was in my opinion, this dream catcher. This was entirely made by YucH and we only helped with the little things like sticking, cutting , stringing. My greatest contributions to this major prop for our dance were my nieces' hula hoop and 2 of the peacock fans which I had bought from Jaipur. YucH made the center portion of the hoop with a belt organiser from Ikea she had( I don't know where she hangs her belt now). The feather portion was mixed with cloth rugs of the right colour cut into small strips.
This is us in the costumes completely sewn by YucH. Some of us sewed the sequins. I have to confess Fafa had to help me with mine as I was very ill and have yet to completely recover.
Truth is it was not our best performance. I forgot my steps 3 times and the effort was a strain for me. My sister who was in the audience said I danced like I was trying to remember my steps. One of my closest girlfriends was shattered saying she ruined the dance by turning too early, another said she could not keep her balance and even YucH said she turned the wrong way. But we came in 2nd runner up and as my dad told me, that's pretty darn good, considering. Considering what, you asked. Considering our age, of course!
So why is this post here? Well, unbeknownst to us when we signed on for the competition, the organisers were actually from India working largely with the Indian community in Singapore. All but 2 of the dance groups had Indian element in their performance (mostly Bhangra) and the only media covering this event is the Vasantham Channel, a local tv channel catered to the Indian community. In some ways then, this dance is connected with India, that's why it is here.