Sunday, 3 March 2013

Fan dancing

So, I just wanted to tell you quickly about my recent fan dancing experience. First a quick segue (I've just learned how to spell that word): I don't know if other people feel like this, and I imagine they do, but some things I do I feel I just shouldn't really be doing them because I'm not good enough. For example, today I did a really interesting drama workshop and, you know, I got through to the end having participated properly and not cried or anything, but half of me was waiting for there to be an official announcement over the tannoy at lunchtime: 'cough cough cough ahem. We do now have to ask Susie to leave, for the following reason: who does she think she is kidding'.
These are the heels I wore at my burlesque class. What's particularly alluring is when you leave the TK Maxx Clearance sticker inside
I also felt a bit like this initially with my fan dancing: I felt someone would come in after ten minutes with a piece of paper and give it to me apologetically, and on the piece of paper it would say, 'Susie, we all saw what kind of a dancer you were when you tried and failed to interpret a trombone when you were thirteen and danced off in a different direction to everybody else to Eye Of The Tiger. Also, we are not going to forget when you tried to join the wrong Zumba class at the local community college, and ended up in a room full of the over seventies, and yet were still unable to samba sufficiently quickly; even when the teacher told you to imagine you were "wiggling your pelvis at a man naked except for Speedos". In fact, Susie, you were temporarily thrown off your samba stride by this image and the words "beyond parody" formed in your mind, proving you have no Rhythm, or Soul. Please leave now. A partial refund will be offered, and, frankly, this is more than you should expect'.

I have got a friend who is engaging with me on my self-esteem issues, even though this is like attempting to fill in a black hole with asphalt. However, I am sure the above is fairly common and if, conversely, you put me in a room with, say, a really complicated set of management accounts, I would have them analysed and gutted and a fresh pot of coffee on within 20 minutes. So, some things I am confident at, other things I am not. Despite this, I hauled myself the other weekend off to Shoreditch, to do a fan dancing workshop run by these people, and, do you know, it was really excellent, despite me getting slightly lost and confused at one point which was unavoidable given that our A-Z is older than me.
This is where I nearly ended up. Note to self, remember to write down number as well as street name
The teacher was a burlesque performer, and she was great - elegant and controlled and fascinating to watch. I had already done a taster burlesque workshop with her and had been impressed. This is her website, and, because I am marvellous at stalking people on YouTube, this is pretty much the routine we did, and, I am glad to report that by the end I was doing a perfectly credible job of it, so that tells you right there she was a good teacher, although I did lose control of my fans a bit when I was wiggling them behind my bottom. We used fans from Frou Frou Feathers, and they were marvellous: if I could think of a way I could just have such fans at home in case I wanted to do a quick routine before News At Ten, I would do. I have already had a quick go with some spare mop heads we had ordered at work. The fans are a lot of money - I think the ones we used were £300 for a pair, and the ones Gwendoline had were £700, but they really were marvellously, marvellously fluffy. (I note for you here that fans are not vegetarian: the ostriches die. They die for other reasons and the fans are a byproduct but I note this for you in case it is a deal breaker, what a morally complicated world this is).
Edgy Shoreditch graffiti possibly involving a ferret, I know not
I understand that fan dancing was popularised by Sally Rand in the thirties and forties, and that she essentially went about performing her dance and being arrested, this is because we did not have comments on Guardian articles in those days and so transgressive women had to be made to suffer in a more straightforward way. I found fan dancing really beautiful and elegant (I mean, I did have leggings on, so the nudity bits were not being emphasised. My leggings are not attractive) - I think if you have a background in ballet that would help enormously. I do have a background in shouting 'wait, I might be able to do it this time' and throwing myself at a pole with huge bruises consequent, but, I would also say yoga helped, because you need a great deal of flexibility, and interestingly, the moves which looked the most elegant and alluring were also the moves which were the most awkward to hold (I'm going to leave you to find your own metaphor there). It was unusual for me, too, because I spend quite a lot of time in life trying quite hard not to look alluring or be in any way playful, or flirtatious (don't psychoanalyse me, if you had my work background I can promise you you'd be the same), and it is interesting to see how much more elegant some things look just with an arch of the back or a jut-out of the d├ęcolletage. It is thought-provoking. I go off and think.

Anyway, so, fan dancing was great and I really enjoyed it. I am dragging myself off to Shoreditch again next weekend to have a crack at 'floor work for pole', so we will see how that goes. Dance is odd, in a way - it's like finding a whole new physical vocabulary. I ponder on it. It's a shame they put me off young with Eye Of The Tiger as I'm sure I'd be better at all of this if I'd been doing dance since I was 18. Still, baby steps, people. Baby steps.


The Gingerbread Lady said...
Pole dancing AND fan dancing! I'm just not cruel enough to do that to the world - there's enough suffering without people having to watch me butchering elegant routines.

I watched the video and thought she was fab ... BUT ... this might just be me ... I think she ought to combine this with pole dancing. Fanpoledancing - how amazing would that be! David Mitchell would just lose his reason!

Vivianne said...

Drink enough gin before any of these classes, and wear something bright red, and you will feel no fear. Or pain :-D
PS I think it's a weasel ...