This week my sweet friend from high school, Lesley has been in town visiting. Saturday morning we went for a walk on the three mile loop in the mountain-hood. We've had a goal to do it every morning during her visit. We've had beautiful cool mornings but we still worked up a pretty good sweat and...musk. So before rehearsal I was sure to shower. Even though I knew I'd just get sweaty again from dancing, I felt this was a courtesy I must offer my dance partner as the tango is a close quarters kind of dance. My hair looked so pretty though so I tucked it into a shower cap.
After my shower I wondered if preserving my hair was the best idea.
"Les, does my hair stink? Does it feel sweaty?"
"No," she said after taking a sniff and scrunching my hair in her hands. "Smells good really. It looks great!"
Awesome. Les was going to come to rehearsal with me. I was so glad to have that bit of support there. On the way I started to get nervous. I popped a piece of spearmint gum in my mouth, again thinking of my partner and the hopes of not offending the poor guy who got stuck with me.
"I'm getting nervous."
"You are going to be great! Just have fun."
"Yeah. Yeah. It'll be fun. I'm excited."
I was wearing leggings and a button-up oxford that that would cover my toosh. I had another thought...
"Les, here's what I need from you: tell me if during rehearsal my crotch is sweaty..."
"OK, how 'bout we develop a signal for that. Like maybe three fingers together like this..." Lesley made a closed "W" with her fingers and then gave them a little wave almost like saying hi to a baby. This we decided should not be maneuvered in the area of the crotch, nor near the nose. Too obvious. Instead she would just casually make the symbol in a general way.
"Yeah...that's good," I agree. "Also, give me a signal if the back of my shirt goes up too high and my ass is hanging out. Oh man...I hope that won't be sweaty too..."
"K. How's this?" and she mad a smoothing gesture across the top of her legs.
"Perfect. Let me know if I'm making any weird or unsightly faces and please, please honestly tell me how I did when it's over. Let me know if I need to get some out side help. Oh and tell me if you notice my partner or anyone else making faces at me like because I smell or dance bad or gestures that suggest I need to get my eyebrows waxed."
Once there I met my fellow dancers. I recognized some of them from the audition and we reminded each other of our names. The choreographer warmed us up and we got started! The first little bit I had missed while on vacation in Texas. The gal who got the role of Eva has made a website with videos of the choreography so that should be a huge help in catching me up. I tried not to dwell on that first part too much and instead took on tackling the new parts that we were all learning.
Several times I nearly cried. The choreographer would show us what the next part of the dance was and there's some little hop with a flip kick back, then spin, squat and pose. Just seeing her demonstrate it with such grace and ease made me want to run and hide. There was no way I could get this and often I didn't. At one point instead of a flip kick back, I did more of a high kick forward only I don't kick very high. So everyone else is kicking back and I was kicking forward. Awkward.
I am not a dancer. How did I end up here?! What were they thinking?
I was very frustrated with myself. My partner was always encouraging him, bless his heart. I tried to walk a line between getting as much extra help and info as possible and not holding up the rest of the group. I felt like such a problem child.
"Do you guys want to do that part again," the choreographer would ask, "or should we go on?"
"Let's go on!" Every one would agree and inside I was shouting No, wait! Again! Again!
I was very thankful for Lesley. Every time I looked out at her she was giving me thumbs up. Gone were the baseball coaching signals we had developed in the car. Just thumbs up and smiles the whole way.
I felt like a total fish out of water. Always behind. Not going the right direction. I fought tears and laughed in nervous hysterics the whole way home. The Dancing With Stars mirror ball once again came crashing down to the hard wood floor. This was not going to be the glamorous moment that I thought it would. I considered quitting. I mean, we are short one male dancer. If I left that would even it all out.
"Would you really do that?" Les asked.
"No. No way. I really want to do this show and learn to dance. I'm just so bad!!!"
"You really weren't Michal. If you would just watch the videos..."
Lesley had recorded every take. I wouldn't watch them at first but when I did I saw that no one else was any more ahead of the game then I was. In fact I was not so obviously off as I had felt. They all seemed to be having fun though and I looked very frustrated. I was making a strange face....("Why didn't you tell me?") lips mashed together, nostrils flared, eyes slightly bulging in disbelief, fear and frustration. Nice. Also my eyebrows were furrowed...I've really got to get those things waxed.