So very long backstory time. Back in November, a couple of guys started up circus arts club, which they called the Central Canadian Circus Arts Club (or CCCAC) and which I always refer to by its acronym. Yes, even in speaking. It's pronounced kuh-KAAK, at least when I say it, because it's fun to say and the full title is a mouthful. The basic idea is that all the local folks who do things like poi spinning and juggling and hula hooping and unicycle tricks and whatever else would have a place to practice, because when you live in a place where there's snow on the ground nine months of the year and your artist's income doesn't allow for a spacious house, practice space can be hard to come by. So they meet in a community centre gym every other week, and aside from giving people practice space, there are quite a few other benefits to the CCCAC. There's the obvious networking, and as I know at least a few people have gotten extra work since the thing started, that's not a benefit to sneeze at. But they do plan to provide performance opportunities for members when they can, and there are local businesses that give discounts to members, and something that's just gotten started is bringing people in to do workshops.
The husband is a clown (yes, with the juggling and the magic tricks and balloon animals and all) and was very excited about having a circus arts club. He spent several weeks trying to convince me to come out to one of the meetings, which I found silly, since I don't do any circus arts. He said "But... you know people there!" That's lovely, honey, but being friends with the lead singer doesn't make me a member of the band. And don't try to convince me I'll learn something new there, because if I haven't learned to juggle after ten years of being married to a clown, odds are good that it's just not gonna happen. (Mostly because I'm not interested enough in juggling to put the effort in.)
He did eventually get me in the door. I don't remember how. I think, actually, he just really wanted to support the club enough that he convinced me we could just purchase me a membership and I could be a member in name only. So I got the membership, and said hi to the nice circus people. And he was right, I knew a good number of them already, which I guess isn't much of a surprise given how long the two of us have been involved in the local performing arts scene, even if having kids has made it a bit off and on the past few years. But then about halfway through that meeting, a drummer showed up and asked if anyone would mind if he sat himself up in the corner. And, uh, there was no way the live drummer opportunity was going to be wasted, so basically I spent most of that meeting tooling around with shimmies in the drummer corner. And then came back to the next meet. And the one after that. And I'm still the odd one out, the dancer in the middle of all the circus arts, but nobody seems to mind.
A couple of months ago, the people running the club decided to hold a Fundraising Showcase. The idea was to have as much variety onstage in both ability level and type of act, and they really really wanted to add the dancer in there for extra more variety. I hemmed and hawed for a really long time, and even discussed the idea with my teacher. The thing is, while I have a very long history with dance, performing, and the stage, I wasn't entirely comfortable being the sole representation of a dance form I've only been studying for about a year, especially if the audience was coming to see a general show in which I was the only dancer of any style. As it turned out, though, they did get one of the local pro dancers to join the show, at which point I said "ok, then sign me up."
Final tally for the show was 22 performers in 19 acts. It ended up being a really good show, one I was proud to be part of (which I'm especially pleased to be able to say after the insane disaster that was dress rehearsal). I was about halfway through the first act, and the audience had no idea how to react to me, which was kind of hilarious. See, there was a clown sketch, and an eight-year-old contortionist, then a zombie juggler, the world's tallest leprechaun doing some prop manipulation, a fan spinner (he usually lights his fans on fire, but it's rather frowned on inside a theatre, so it was just the fans), and then... random bellydancer!
I did a very oriental number, complete with veil entrance, and I could hear the hesitation clapping. You could just about hear the audience thinking "...do we clap now? Is that a thing?" And then I dropped the veil and you could hear one or two audience members going "clap... clap? Should we be clapping now? I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE." Meanwhile, in the wings behind me, I could hear Lynette (the other dancer) and Carey (who primarily does poi and hoop, but has done some bellydance too) applauding and zhagareeting like it was the end of the world. Which, uh, might explain why all my photos look like I'm laughing.
So I still have no idea how it went really. People keep asking and I... don't know! I think I'm going to have to wait until I can see the video. I had half a dozen people come up to me afterwards and every single one of them said "You were so beautiful!" and I have no idea what to make of that. That can mean anything from "I honestly adored your costume" to "I didn't know you could move like that" to "I feel the need to find something positive to say about your unfortunate performance." I guess we'll find out when the video comes back!
Some of the acts were really incredible, just mind-boggling. And we were refreshingly free of any divas. So, y'know, from a performer perspective, I give it an A+, would do again.