Posts Tagged ‘dance’

Dancing Badly at Weddings is OK.

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

I spent the weekend in sunny Devon where the sun really did shine and there really were Devonshire teas. Slight warmth and scones make Jess a very happy girl. The purpose of my trip was to provide emotional support and additional hands to my friends, Pooja and Jonathan, who were having Round 2 of their three part wedding. Already hitched in Harrogate a few months ago, they were now bringing together their friends and family from all over the world to eat cornish pasties and samosas in a Westward Ho! golf club.

As most wedding receptions seem to go, there were drinks followed by food followed by the establishment of a fairly ordinary dance floor. We are talking portable disco lights and a music playlist Pooja and I had thrown together that morning being controlled from an iPad. It was quality stuff, and so was the dancing.

On the dance floors of weddings anything goes. Arms flail, feet step and bodies bounce somewhat in time to all your favourite dance hits from the 80s, 90s and today. You are free to express yourself and let yourself go without being judged because everyone else looks just as ridiculous as you. You can’t get away with this sort of shoddy dancing at a night club or concert because there people really are watching. At a wedding, the positive vibes of love and marriage bring an over riding power that allows you to do no wrong. If you feel a sudden urge to body pump, go right ahead and do it. Half of the dance floor will mostly likely join in and body pump with you.

As you would most likely expect, the dance floor on the weekend was 90 per cent female. The occasional male was dragged out to dance, kicking and screaming, giving in for one song before running back to the other blokes who stood around smirking. There were, however, token men who took hold of the opportunity to be surrounded by twelve dancing ladies and who ruled the dance floor with charm and smooth moves. A tip for all of the men of the world – if you want to have well dressed females throwing themselves at you, learn to dance.

After two hours of toe-tapping, spirit-fingering and hip-shaking, my fellow dancers and I were now all the best of friends and have added each other on Facebook in the hope we will meet on a dance floor in the near future. There is an unexplainable bond that forms on a dance floor that cannot be achieved anywhere else. When you have communally sung loudly and tunelessly and made up ridiculous dance steps to classic 80s tunes, nothing can break that.

So to my new friends that I met on Saturday night in Westward Ho!, thank you for the good times. May one of our mutual friends get married soon so that we can meet and get our groove on once again.

Burlesque à Paris

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

I have been wanting to go to a Burlesque show for sometime, not really knowing what I was getting myself in for. So when my friend Jen said she wanted to go to the Paris Burlesque Festival I said, “Mais oui!!”

Located at the Bellevilloise, a multi-level club in the 12th arrondissement, there were various activities, shows and areas to explore the wonders of the Burlesque world. The festival also had a Halloween theme so there was impressive facepaint and fake blood everywhere. Upstairs there was a bar area with stalls selling feathers and themed t-shirts, a particularly buxom lady with an impressive feathered headdress casting tantric spells over any man who dared volunteer, and a tiny boxing-ring stage featuring various acts including a mexican-hat-wearing Mariachi band and a WWW-style competition between two scantily clad ladies.

Paris Burlesque festival

Great hats.

Jen and I had bought tickets to see the main show for the evening – a selection of burlesque performers from all over the world dancing, teasing and entertaining us with feathers, leather, and not a lot else. It was fantastic! The power and confidence these women oozed on stage was sensational. They flaunted their bodies, teased the audience with flashed of skin and did it all in a way that was entertaining and sexy and in no way seedy. It was very inspirational and made me realise my ridiculous misconceptions of what constitutes a sexy female body – curves can be good!

Each of the acts had different themes and techniques – some told a story while others focused more on movement and dance. One of the stand out moments was a performer who made her own costumes and came on stage wearing a corseted dress that by pulling on certain strings and ties turned into a snake, then revealed detachable tentacles and eventually completely disassembled to leave her in some lacy underwear. Very impressive.

Paris Burlesque festival

Amazing costume

It was a great night and it has made me want to go and see more burlesque performances in the future. A friend of mine is a burlesque dancer in Perth – seeing this festival gave me a whole new appreciation for what she is doing. Go Ruby DeLure!

Men in Tights

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

On Tuesday night, Becky and I went to watch particularly fit men dance around on stage in tutus and tights. It was Les Ballets  Trockedero de Monte Carlo – a US based ballet company made up entirely of male dancers. These fit and particularly talented guys dress up as female ballerinas and perform a parodic yet skilled version of well known ballets.

Ballet Trockadero

Dancers from Les Ballets Trockadero

It was an impressive performance – the dancers were ridiculously muscular yet at the same time, showed the grace and beauty of female ballerinas. I spent a lot of time squinting at certain dancers trying to work out whether they were male or female. The scary thing was that ALL of them were more elegant and feminine than me. Throughout the show, the dancers they would then switch into more masculine poses, showing off their muscles, or would perform funny dance moves adding plenty of laughs to the performance.

Folies Bergere

Impressive building of Folies Bergère

The show was held at the Folies Bergère – an amazing performance hall constructed in the late 1860s that would have seen plenty of action in its lifetime. It was here that Joséphine Baker performed wearing almost only a skirt made of bananas in the 1920s. The male ballerinas that we watched perform, while somewhat ‘different’ and going against the norms, were really nothing compared to what would have been seen on stage in the early 1900s.

Horse at Folies Bergère

A sparkle horse inside the foyer

The overall performance was very entertaining, although it had a lot of scene changes that ended with the curtain going down, making it disjointed and somewhat confusing. No one really knew if it was the end of the show or merely an interval. There were also some technical difficulties – they had to deal with French electricity that has a habit of turning off at inappropriate moments. The last third of the show was performed under a large spot light as the stage light fuse blew (twice) and it appeared no one could work out how to fix it. The dancers just kept on doing their thing which was credit to them, however it would have been nice to see the show with the appropriate lighting.

Les Ballets Trockedero is in Paris until 7 October and then they go to Australia. They will be in Perth at the Regal Theatre from 15-18 November. Check them out.

Au Revoir, Sarkozy

Monday, May 7th, 2012

I love those moments when planets align, miracles happen and water gets turn into wine, and you manage to find yourself in the right place at the right time. Yesterday was Round Two of the French election and I was eager to find out the results.

French election sign

Votez!

Unfortunately, I currently have no television, my internet is too slow to stream the results and I was out at dinner with some visiting friends when the results were announced. While in the restaurant, I could hear sounds the suggested the results had been announced – mostly horn tooting and “OOoouuaaaiiii!!!”s. Thankfully, the lovely waitress who was serving us asked if we knew the election results and happily announced that Hollande had won. Ouaiiii, indeed!

This was fantastic news – no more sleazeball as President. After we discussed politics with the waitress for awhile and she gave us free L’Eau de Vie to celebrate Hollande’s win, we headed outside and home. In order for me to walk home, I was heading towards the Bastille and mentioned to my friends that there may be something happening there as when there is something to celebrate or protest about, Parisians tend to head there. It appears I was correct.

Bastille election

That's a lot of people.

The Bastille was a swarm of people and the monument in the middle of the giant roundabout had been taken over by young celebrating Parisians. I have never seen so many happy French people – everyone was smiling! Seriously. I’m not joking. People were happy, dancing, drinking, and generally congratulating each other on having ousted the bad guy.

Apparently on the other side of Paris the rich folk were crying, but here in the Eastern half of Paris where people barely earn enough to pay their monthly rent, the people were ecstatic.

My friends headed away from the crowd and back to their hotel – I, however, had to somehow cross the Bastille to get home. Sure, I could, and maybe should, have gone around, but where’s the fun in that? And so I headed in, joining the throng of happy Frenchies.

Bastille election

Vivre la France.

It was fine until I reached the other side and tried to get out and joined a flow of people trying to exit next to a flow of people trying to get in. It wasn’t fun. I can understand why people would panic in situations like that as humans start pushing each other, trying to get through and yet can’t get anywhere. I took many deep breaths when I finally got out of it.

The walk home was entertaining – so many people out celebrating the political victory. It was like post AFL Grand Final celebrations except with less punch ups. I can’t imagine Australians ever getting that excited (or on the other side of Paris, that upset) by the results of an election. Young and old were out, shouting, cheering and tooting their car horns. It appears Parisians can get noisy.

It was wonderful to witness the celebrations, although I couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like if Sarkozy had won. Best not to imagine, I think.

Bastille Celebrations

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Thursday was 14 July or Bastille Day to all English speakers. The previous evening (the 13th) I organised for a group of interested people from Les Récollets to head down to one of the local fire stations. At fire stations throughout Paris (and France, I believe) on the evenings of the 13th and 14th of July they hold balls that are open to the public. Being Australian and not fashionably late like the French, I organised for our group to get there right on the starting time – 9pm. It was practically empty when we arrived. But things soon heated up and by midnight the place was packed and there was a huge queue of people outside wanting to come in.

Fireman ball

There were half-naked firemen for a ladies and scantily clad ladies dancing on the stage for the men! Everyone was a winner.

The firestation had been turned into a dance hall with bars selling drinks and food and a stage set up for the AWESOME COVER BAND!!! to play on. I don’t know why the French have such terrible taste in music, but they do. Most of the songs were 70s/80s American pop tunes, there was a whole three-song segment of Michael Jackson impersonations, and then they started singing English songs in French. It was so bad it was great; the only option we had was to laugh and dance. The ball was run by the firemen and every now and then one of them would stand up on the bar and do the obligatory strip tease. I’m not really sure why firemen have to be strippers as well, but the girls in the room enjoyed it. But with only five toilets for a ball of 300-odd people, it was easier and faster for us to walk home and use our own facilities rather than wait in line. So that was the end of the night.

The following morning Tom and I attempted to get to the Champs Elysee to see the military parade but the metro wasn’t stopping on the Champs Elysee that day and they had then blocked off a lot of streets so it took forever for us to get anywhere close to the parade. This was a bit disappointing as I had hoped to be in the midst of the action but we managed to see a bit of it. I was amazed at the lack of French-flag paraphernalia. Australians can’t get enough of sticking plastic flags to their cars and fake tattoos on their bodies. There was none of that junk in Paris. I even went down to the Bastille in the afternoon and there were no flags flying! Where was the patriotism? Terrible.

Place de la Bastille

Place de la Bastille

To end the Bastille festivities, I also organised a party at Les Récollets for the evening of the 14th. There was a good turn out of about 20 people and at 10.30pm when the fireworks were due to start at the Eiffel Tower we headed to the highest point in the building (the roof) and discovered an amazing view over Paris. It was potentially dangerous (wine + ladders + standing on the roof = probably stupid) but WOW! I spent the evening of Bastille Day standing on the roof of a 13th century convent looking over Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower and the golden arches of McDonalds. Once in a life time, folks.

Roof top

This was one of the best moments of my life. Absolutely amazing.

Over the past few weeks I have really gotten to know people at Les Récollets and it is becoming increasingly more obvious about how extremely sad I am going to be to leave. I have been having discussions about Christmas with my family and today I realised that I just don’t want to think about it at the moment because once Christmas is over then I will be close to having to leave. I don’t want this AT ALL. I need to find a way to stay.