rainbows on the ground, anxious look on my face

We have a performance coming up. With fire fans. Which I’ve practiced with on fire a total of three times. Yeah, I’m more than a little anxious about this. The tough thing is that it is difficult to practice privately with them on fire. Despite my performance history and the fact that I’m in a dance troupe that, well, performs, I’m actually incredibly shy. And hate Hate HATE being watched while I do something I’m anxious about. Add to the fact that when I hold the fans my mind totally goes blank and all my dance auto-pilot moves seem to escape me… very tough to practice.

I was planning on heading to NJ last weekend to celebrate Tom’s birthday and see Jen & Andrew’s new place. The snow & ice put that plan on hold, but thankfully so. When I got the news early this week that we’d be performing, I knew I had to practice, on fire, in as much solitary as one can practice fire. What better place to wave fans of flame in the air than the sticks of Jersey? I got some fuel (lamp oil), and asked my Mom if she’d help. All we needed was some duvetyne and we’d be set. After some back-and-forthing of schedules, I finally managed to get some from Chip- awesome. He gave me some great pieces that are perfect. Too small to really use on set, just right for putting out flames. (Chip, once again, you’re my hero!) Meanwhile, Mom borrowed a bag of it from the prop-shop. I really consider myself lucky to have so many friends and family members who are resourceful!

fire fingers

Mom and I ventured outside, with a fair amount of trepidation. I think she was really worried that she’d have to put out big flames, and concerned about doing her job as safety well. After lighting up in the backyard, we both took a look at all the leaves by my feet and decided moving to the driveway would be a much smarter idea. So move we did, and I waved the fans around, not quite sure what to do, and still absolutely terrified of spinning them. A few burns later, once we were both much calmer, Mom started helping me with dance form, and soon I was spinning… not quite like a pro, but not nearly as scared as before. Arms out in dance posture, elbows bent. Shoulders back. Don’t lean forward into the flames, stand up straight. Don’t look at the fans. Shoulders back. Arms out.  I dropped them many times, but Mom never had to rush forward with her duvetyne. Tom got anxious about the trees, but the whole practice proceeded without incident. I even lit up the fire fingers… amazing how they are so tame in comparison! Smaller wicks, sure…. but the whole idea of not having to spin them and not worrying about dropping makes them easy-peasy next to the fans!

Oh, and the birthday dinner that was re-scheduled? Not too shabby! We went to Riley and Jake’s, a recently re-opened spot near their house. Much better than the decor would lead you to believe!

Mom's seared tuna salad