I marked the date on my calendar. The BD Superstars tour all over the world and are featured on TV shows and in Vegas. So they are la crème de la crème of belly dancers. Some of the original Superstars have branched off and started their own schools and dance groups (like Kaeshi, whom I wrote about in a recent blog), but the current batch is still top-notch. And in their sweep through Texas, they are actually making a stop here in San Antonio!
This is unprecedented. San Antonio is not high on the list of cities with a big audience for cultural events. Sure, it’s a big city, but what it has in size it makes up for in lack of sophistication. The average education and income level is way below that of Austin, our smaller neighbor up the highway. San Antonio is sometimes referred to the biggest small town in Texas.
Even more exciting, our studio has been asked to open for the Superstars in San Antonio. The dance chosen for our opening is “Amani Rap,” a saucy number in which the dancers wear jeans with a coin belt and regular costume top.
Miss K has put out the call for anyone who wants to participate to sign up for a 6-week crash course in "Amani Rap." They can then perform it at the Superstars show.
At first, I didn’t even consider it. "Amani Rap" is way above my skill level. Plus it's about 5 minutes long with no repetition, so there's a lot of memorization on top of technical expertise. It would be impossible for me to learn in six weeks.
However, Miss K kept encouraging everyone (well, almost everyone) to sign up. It's a big stage at the Josephine Street Theater, she said. Plus she wants everyone to have this once-in-a-lifetime chance to perform on the same stage as the Superstars. So I reconsidered. But I had lingering doubts. So last night before class I tried to pin her down on specifics.
“So, what if somebody signed up for this crash course, like me, f'rinstance, and on the eve of performance, I still looked really bad. Of course, I know when I look bad; everybody knows that--"
“Not necessarily!” Miss K interjected.
“OK, let’s say someone looks really bad and doesn’t realize it, would you tell them? Would you still let that person be in the performance?”
Karen stared at me for a long moment, no doubt searching for tactful words. I realized she would never be that blunt to anyone. She’s far too kind, and, besides, she's running a business, not a professional dance company.
‘I’m sorry,” I said. “I’ve put you on the spot.”
She answered with a question. “Bad in whose opinion? The public’s? Mine?”
She waved that away. “The public doesn't know the difference.”
“But," I persisted, "I thought you wanted this performance to be really sharp.”
She laughed. “If you want sharp and precise, you go to New York City. This is San Antonio.” She went on to explain that it's part of the choreographer’s job to camouflage and blend in the weaker dancers. She's going to restage the dance for that, as well as to highlight individual dancers’ strengths.
In the end I signed up, of course. For the next six weeks I'm going to be working my buns off.