This weekend I (and my co-director) had the opportunity to take our company to Chicago, the city of wind and what-have-you, to perform at a festival. These weekends are always a breath of fresh air. They jolt me out of my rut, turn on new switches in my brain, bond me with my girls, and remind me that I am a capable and confident human. They challenge me. They bring some extra joy and a whole lot of happy. It was soooo needed. If you are in need of the same fresh air – I’ve got an amazing tip for you at the end of this post.
This past weekend – after months of anticipation, preparation, work, more work, other work, fun and work – we were off to go get ours. If you’ve ever wondered what a life is like for dancers/performers, allow me to give you a bit of insight. If you’ve never wondered – you are already here – so you might as well just hang-out. Let’s go to Chicago!
7:30 am: Leave house on the way to the Studio to get started on our 6 hr drive.
7:43 am: Realize I forgot something, turn back, go home, run up the stairs. Run back down. Run out the door.
7:52 am: Leave house on the way to the studio (again).
8:40 a.m. Here we go!
3:15 pm: Arrive in Chicago traffic (Dear Jesus) and circle the airport. Twice. It takes two simultaneous GPS inquiries to get us out of this circle of nonsense. Do better Chicago roads. Do better.
3:30 pm: Finally arrive at the hotel. Take approximately 34,949 items to the room in one trip. The life of a performer.
5:00 pm: Head down to tech rehearsal. Our salsa performance is first. All teams get to run their piece on stage one time. In front of errybody. #Pressure
We run to find who’s in charge in a mad clamour to get on the list for a spot in tech. We are 13th. Good stuff. We tech & head to our room to go into hair & make-up.
Call time for the first wave of performers is 7:30pm. We don’t know what performance order is yet (there are a little more than 30 teams/companies). We wait for the list so we know when to go.
6:00 pm: Wait.
7:00: No list posted yet. Wait.
7:12: Texting around – has anyone gotten the list yet? Wait.
7:39ish: Somewhere around here a kind soul texts us a hand-written, unofficial copy of the list. We are 11th in order. Show starts at 8:00. Go time.
8:00 pm: We head to the holding room with the rest of the performers. Get our minds right. Last run-through.
8:38 pm: We’re called! Let’s go!
8:45 pm: We’re done! We get off stage, pat ourselves on the back & watch the rest of performances. *Insert first full inhale & exhale since 5:00pm*
11:30 pm: Time for social dancing. Except we’re all tired. Sleep instead. Good call. G’night.
10:00 am: Workshops begin, but I decide to take a leisurely morning. Not tryna wear myself out.
1:00 – 4:00 pm: Amazing workshops with awesome instructors. Get a sweat in.
5:00 pm: Tech time once again. Urban Fusion piece tonight. This time the system has changed. Why? Great question! I have no answer.
New system: There is no sign-up list – you hand a piece of paper with your info on it to an organizer. You wait til your name gets called based on… the tide? When Mercury is in retrograde? Who knows – just gotta wait til your name is called. Call time is 7:30pm. Shows begin at 8.
5:30 pm: Wait.
6:22 pm: Wait – decide to at least get show hair done while we’re there.
7:13 pm: We are finally called. One of the last.
7: 16 pm: We’re done. We RUN back to the room to get in hair/makeup/costume mode. We await show order.
7:32 pm: Rushing. Wait.
7:47 pm: Rushingggg. Wait.
8:03 pm: We find out we are 11th. The 2nd show is already in progress.
8:10 pm: Arrive in holding room. Try to remember what breathing is like. Wait.
8:21 pm: We’re called. Showtime.
8:25 pm: On stage. Killt it.
8:29 pm: Done. #WeDidThat – Head back upstairs to order pizza. Get ready for social dancing. Shower. Breathe some.
11:30 pm: Social dancing begins. We in there.
12:01 am: Spot the original black power ranger (seriously. He’s a salsa dancer now.)
1:00 am: Cannot take the crowded floors anymore – or random people making out in the hallway (Get a room. Literally. We’re in a hotel, guys…..)
1:15 am: Upstairs getting ready for bed. We’ll try again tomorrow.
First time I haven’t been at church on a Sunday since my honeymoon (2 1/2 years ago). Feeling heathen vibes. Mostly just missing my peeps.
1:00 – 4:00pm: Amazing, fun, legendary workshops from world-class instructors. I am inspired. I remember what dancing for fun – not work – feels like.
8:00 pm: Dinner with the team. Plenty of carbs to congratulate ourselves on a job well done.
9:00 pm: Watch the shows. It’s nice to watch instead of stress. Good times.
11:00 pm: Get cute & accidentally coordinate.
12:00 am: Social dancing
1:30 am: Social Dancing
2:51 am: Social Dancing
What social dancing looks like when you have all the tired, but you just gotta keep going.
3:30 am: I finally bow out after having an amazingly delightful time social dancing. Thank you Chicago leads. You’re cool.
9:00 a.m. – In the car headed home. Full & still hungry.