Now before several of you come rushing to little Jose's defense and call me out for calling him out, let me say he deserves it! Allow me to explain. Jose is a big jokester. Believe it! At one of the very first performances I danced at, he noticed that I was following him. I was watching him from the corner of my eye and relying on him to make sure I was doing the right steps. Of course after he realized this he had to mess with me. So, he started doing body language that implied he was going to do one step and then he quickly changed it to do the right step. What a punk! Of course I did the wrong step and looked like the idiot wedo on stage. I was so irritated at the time but after lots therapy I can laugh about it now. Thanks Jose!
As you can imagine, folklorico dancing can consume much of your time. Especially for those who perform on a regular basis. Not only is there all the time spent on practices and rehearsals, there is the additional time spent in travel and the preparation on the day of the show. It certainly is a lifestyle. The more organized and prepared you are, the better. Having a plan and routine can help save time and keep the flow.
Now all the costumes are ready for the show. One thing I learned the hard way was not to pack the car up with my costumes too early. The California heat sure makes the interior hot, like an iron. Early on, I loaded up the car a day before a show and my cowboy hat lost its shape. It went flat around the rim. The heat killed it. So I had to take it in and have it reshaped. I bought myself a nice expensive Stone hat from Mexico. I was so disappointed when it lost its curves. So now I take extra care of it.
After a brief initial episode of being star struck, I suddenly realized they had a severe case of nose hair, seriously. (Cue screeching music from Psycho). You could see it even with all the stage makeup. In fact the powder make up made it worse. It was like they were wearing nose hair enhancing mascara. OMG, what a bush! I'm not even exaggerating here. It was an overdose of nose hair reality. I was face to face with their bush and all I could think was, "Wow, they should really do something about that!" Someone hand me a weed wackier please! I'm going in! Now anytime I think of this celebrity or hear someone mention their name, all I can think about is, "Oh yeah, they're the one with the big bush!"
Then I dash into the bedroom to complete my transformation. After a quick application of deodorant and cologne, it's time for the under garments! White briefs and a white T-shirt and white socks. I also pack a pair of black socks because when I wear black boots, if there is time, I change sock color. I saw someone dance once and their pant leg rose and you could see their white socks, which bothered me. So I keep a black pair handy so I can avoid that costume tragedy as well. It's all in these little details that make the polished difference.
Depending on traffic, Herencia typically performs at events that are a within a two hour driving radius from my apartment. With the help of Siri navigation and Pandora Radio, the trips are a breeze.
Everyone dancing in the show is expected to arrive at least an hour before the start of the show. Sometimes earlier. Upon arrival, typically you are directed where the dancers will be changing. However, not all places have changing rooms or areas. More on that in a moment. First thing I do is build the garment rack and unpack the car of all the costumes. Then I wheel the rack over to where ever they have us set up. Sometimes we have a nice private area, sometimes it's a public restrooms, sometimes it's right out in the open. Typically, when in the open we try to cover each other and block people's view as others change.
I recall one performance where they had us changing right out in the open in an area right by the place we danced. It was like we were giving them both a show and a side show. They really got their monies worth! One time we were asked not to change in the public restrooms but to go change in our cars. The whole performance was spent running back and forth to our vehicles to change on the sidewalk by our cars. Very inconvenient. Thank goodness no paparazzi were around.
At this point, I get all my costumes ready and do the show. I get them all laid out so that there will be a smooth flow. I try to avoid as much chaos backstage as possible and center myself. Sometimes things come up at a performance. You can't anticipate everything. You just adjust.
On several occasions we have gone out to the dance floor for the first dance, only to discover the dance floor is like a sheet of ice. So slick that the nails on the bottom of your boots act like skates. One trick I was shown to deal with this is spraying hairspray on the bottom of your boots before going on stage. This prevents any embarrassing mishaps on stage. No one wants to see you fall on your butt. Then again, in modern society they probably do and hopefully catch it on video so they can post it on YouTube. I've also seen dancers put electrical tape over the nails in extreme slippery cases.
After popping an Altoid mint in my mouth, it's show time. Got to make sure you have fresh breath otherwise your dance partners will give you grief for it. Perform the show.
After the show is over it is time to repack the costumes and repack the car. Commonly, the host of the event will offer us food and ask us to stick around and enjoy the party or event. Sometimes, not. It is nice when they do because usually you're pretty hungry by that time. Although I keep a little padding on my belly as reserves - just in case. At the end of the night, you drive home and unpack your car, only to get ready for the next time. That's the whole day for you. It's a cycle that repeats over and over, as shows are booked. A lot of work and activity that many never consider. I'm just a guy dancer, you can imagine all the work that is involved for the women. So much more. There you have it. Did I expose to much? I hope not!
Be sure to check back next week for another posting! Have a great week. This drama momma is out of here! Remember, deadline for your logo submission is August 31, 2013. Don't delay and submit today!
****ATTENTION ALL BIG WEDO FANS & FOLLOWERS: MARK YOUR CALENDARS - SEPTEMBER 29, 2013 - HERENCIA MEXICANA WILL BE PERFORMING AT THE LA COUNTY FAIR. THIS IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR THOSE OF YOU IN THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AREA TO COME OUT AND SHOW YOUR SUPPORT! MEET THE WEDO! LET'S PACK THE PLAZA AND SET RECORD ATTENDANCE FOR THE SHOW! HOPE TO SEE EVERYONE THERE. MORE DETAILS TO COME AS THE EVENT GETS CLOSER!****
Contact Information for "The Big Wedo":
Google E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: One Big Wedo (Guero)
Twitter: Michael Smith @onebigwedo
Contact Information for Ballet Folklorico de Herencia Mexicana:
Richard Solorzano, Director: (909) 201-1957
Facebook: Herencia Mexicana
Note: Looking for your own adventure or journey? Herencia is a great place to find one! Folklorico lessons and performances are both available. Herencia Mexicana performs for private & public events of all kinds. Book your event today! Herencia Mexicana welcomes new students. No previous folklorico or dance experience required. All are welcome.