Thursday, February 02, 2006

Getting my kicks at Makor

Last night turned out to be one of the most surprising nights of my life, in a fantastic way.

When first we encountered our dancer/choreographer, she was suffering from a serious case of discouragement. She had sent an e-mail to a dozen of her female friends, inviting them to join her at Makor's "Girls' Night On" on her 57th birthday to watch her present her very first choreographic work. Only one friend had responded, informing her of previous plans. (That reminded her of an old joke: "What if you had a party and nobody came?") So there she sat, all by her lonesome, watching the room fill to the rafters with women easily half her age and contemplating the distinct possibility that she might be the oldest woman present. To make matters even worse, the room emptied radically after the intermission, as the half of the Touro College and Stern College student bodies that was in attendance left to prep for the next day's classes. Our dancer/choreographer was particularly saddened when one of the studious students told her that she was headed home to do homework, since the young lady in question was the only person in the entire room whom she knew. (On the plus side, this will, no doubt, be welcome evidence to the good folks paying her tuition that their sky-high expenditures are going for the purpose intended.)

Finally, our dancer/choreographer found herself standing next to the stage, awaiting her cue, staring left at a formerly standing-room-only and now half-empty room and straight ahead at a stage full of microphones. With only roughly three minutes available to do her dance and "permission denied" to move the mics, she panicked, telling the event's organizer to give her a later slot while she tried to figure out which of the three dances she'd choreographed would fit best in a space that small. A few minutes downstairs, and back she came. "Never mind, I'll go on as scheduled—none of my dances takes any less room than the other, so I'll just have to chance breaking my neck."

So there she stood. First, she stumbled her way through an explanation of how she'd come to choreograph this dance. "There I was, doing data entry at home and listening to this website on the Internet, when I heard this song, and the minute I heard it, I just got right up and danced my feet off. Well, after a few rounds of this over the course of the next few days, I thought maybe I should try my hand, or rather, my feet, at choreography. And here's the result." She read a translation of the lyrics to "Ki V'Simcha" (Yishaya/Isaiah 55:12—scroll your way around the "radio blog" 'til you find it, click and enjoy!), then called to the sound technician in the back of the room. "Hit it."

And that's when the most incredible thing happened: The minute the women in the room heard Mendel's opening guitar sequence, they all started to SCREAM!!!

Holy Moses!!!!!!!!!!

This was nothing like the performance the Punster and I had given at the synagogue Chanukah party. There, the people clapped partly because they enjoyed the dance, and partly because I’m a 20-something-year shul member, the editor of the shul's quarterly bulletin, and a hard-core “regular” in the davvening department. Here, not only did they not know me from Adam, but, more important, they appreciated the reason why I'd choreographed the dance in the first place: They, too, loved the music!!!!!!!!!

Much to my complete astonishment, they clapped and screamed through my entire performance. When I got to the section in which Mark and Mendel sing with only the drummer playing and I put my finger over my mouth in a "shah, shtil/shush, quiet" motion, they actually laughed. :) They just "got it" totally. They "got" the entire dance totally. I was absolutely bowled over. Never in my life has anything I've done elicited such a wildly enthusiastic reaction. So I announced the name of the website, "," thanked the audience for helping me celebrate my 57th birthday, and walked off the stage to thunderous applause.

As I was saying, Holy Moses!!!!!!!!

One woman actually told me that my performance was the highlight of the evening. I spent the rest of the evening listening to the other performers, collecting compliments, and handing out lyrics translation sheets with Mark's URL printed on the bottom.

The organizer, Leslie Ginsparg, asked me to promise to perform at a future "Girls' Night On." Believe me, I don't have to be persuaded: I'll be back for more. I've just made an amazing discovery: Applause is addictive, appreciation a major ego trip. What a rush! Now, I have a reason to keep choreographing other than just that I think that music is for dancing.

To those guys from Milwaukee: You rock, and thanks to your music, now I rock, too!!!!!!!!!! :)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Shira!

You were terrific! I was in the audience with a friend, and we loved you. I truly hope you do perform at a future GNO, because I had a great time watching you and sharing your joy in the music.

Rock on!

Fri Feb 03, 12:17:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Judith said...

I too get discouraged easily when I think my friends have deserted me and things don't go as planned. It's great to get a reminder that there can be surprising happy endings and not to unduly panic or get depressed.

(I know that Makor 20-something vibe. It's not that inviting for us over-50s.)

Fri Feb 03, 12:19:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Wow! Way cool - I'll never see it, but it sounds like it was awesome.

And Happy Birthday!!

Fri Feb 03, 12:19:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Tzipora, thanks for the birthday wishes.

I'm so tickled that you enjoyed my performance. I hope I'll get a chance to dance at future GNOs.

Judith, it's true that sometimes, even when the buddy system seems to be malfunctioning temporarily, things turn out a lot better than expected. Thank goodness for that.

As for the youth vibe, I'll probably be among the oldsters *next* time, too. Oh, well.

What can I say, Ezzie. As one of the other performers said, it's *your* turn to sit behind the mechitzah. :)

Thanks, Irina. :)

Fri Feb 03, 01:40:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

Happy Birthday!!

Fri Feb 03, 01:56:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Thanks, Jack. :)

This will probably be my last opportunity to post before Shabbat, since I don't dare post from the office, so Shabbat Shalom, everyone.

Fri Feb 03, 08:45:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Sheyna said...

Happy Birthday Shira! :-)

What a wonderful story, and I'm so glad the experience turned out positively! (I've given book readings/signings and had only a handful of people come; one time only one person came!) Now there will be even more people who want to come see you next time. Wish I was closer than the Midwest! I love dance. :-)

Thanks for the invitation to your party post!

Yom huledet sameach v'shabbat shalom!

Fri Feb 03, 12:12:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes, Sheyna, and for reminding me that stadium-filling crowds are never guaranteed. I hope to snag a spot late in the "first act" (before the intermission) next time, but since the line-up is first-come, first-served, there's no guarantee of that, either.

As for you being in the midwest, well, on the plus side, Minnesota is a lot closer than New York to Wisconsin. I've heard the Moshe Skier Band on CDs and I've seen them on Mark's website, but you might be lucky enough to see a Moshe Skier Band performance live.

Sun Feb 05, 03:27:00 AM 2006  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Happy Birthday, Shira! Sounds like you had a blast. Too bad Fudge didn't get to see it. From your description, you got a much more enthusiastic response to the song than I usually get!

Sun Feb 05, 07:53:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Mark/PT, Thanks for the birthday wishes.

What can I say? I had a particularly appreciative audience.

Sun Feb 05, 09:06:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You were absolutely amazing. So many people have told me how much they loved your performance. You have a fan club at Girls' Night On! Don't forget that you promised to be at the next show (in June!).

Sun Feb 12, 02:03:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Leslie, thanks so much! All that applause really made my day. What a birthday present! I'm looking forward to seeing you in June.

Mon Feb 13, 12:33:00 AM 2006  
Anonymous Small Bowel Obstruction said...

Thanks for sharing that. It was fun reading it. :-)

Thu May 03, 07:50:00 AM 2018  

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