I haven’t actually talked about this or mentioned it that I know of on my blogs, but I used to be a dancer. I recently started practicing again and made an appearance at the state fair for some dance performances! Unfortunately I didn’t make it through all three days that I was supposed to dance there because I couldn’t handle it all.
I overtrained before the fair, losing 7 pounds initially in less than a week. I ended up damaging some of my abdominal muscles in the process and having to take a break. After a few days I was able to start lifting weights and dancing again, but failed to realize that I was not compensating the energy deficit with food appropriately. I started having problems breathing and noticed my heartbeat felt off, but attributed it to allergies and asthma flare-ups.
Because I didn’t have any loss in my milk supply (currently working towards 17 months breastfeeding), I did not think it was due to a lack of food until my heartbeat became more alarmingly irregular. I had increased my food intake, but it was apparently not enough. I remembered the feeling from my worse days with anorexia and removed some of my self-inflicted carb restrictions (an attempt to clear up my acne) and am feeling better, but haven’t worked out in four days as I am still recovering from the fair.
The first day of the fair was busy. I had my hair done by one of my awesome friends/hairdresser that morning. She came to my apartment because she is awesome like that.
My son was very interested in the process of getting my hair done and insisted on nursing, sitting on my lap and bursting into tears intermittently. Typical toddler.
We left shortly after going over a huge list of things I knew we needed to bring and double checking that it all made it in the car. I had to prepare and cook 3-4 meals in advance due to our family’s allergies, schedule and my inability to maintain my blood sugar well. It was intense!
I had several costumes that I had to make sure made it with us, a diaper bag and all the cloth diapers my son would need for 8-12 hours, water, my notebook and my camera (I wanted to do a little bit of vlogging).
The first day of the fair my camera got lost/stolen somewhere between the parking lot and the stage. We are still super bummed about that because it had the SD card with all of our son’s baby pictures on it.
A couple of the dancers and a friend met me shortly after we made it to the gate for the dressing room/large metal pod. Backstage is kind of eclectic, and has been all of the years I’ve been there. There are native american dancers, trick riders and their horses, comedians, singers, musicians, a camp cook (I have never gotten to taste his food but it smells amazing!) and a few guys who trick rope and whip. In years past I’ve gotten roped, but Loop – who you can see playing with FIRE whips and gun slinging in this awesome music video because he’s now FAMOUS – is gone and he was the guy who was comfortable spinning a fast rope around a stranger.
Then there are the cloggers, which is where I fit in.
After we all got settled in, my baby flirting with my friend (showing her his tractor) and the dancers after a bathroom break, it was time to practice.
I’ve been dancing now for years, around 9 of them. I’ve only ever done clogging (similar to tap) unless you count my two-week trial run in ballet. The last couple I haven’t been as active due to marriage, moving, pregnancy and parenting. Though I did actually do one of the routines at my wedding with my teacher and partner in crime. I’ve gotten a little rusty, despite the month that I had time to brush up on the few old routines I knew and learn the new ones before the fair. I learned and relearned the routines from videos on my computer at home because the drive to the dance studio is pretty far, especially with a toddler.
We practiced this song a few times before the first set, which is part of a bigger show so it was the only song we were going to do. Next we had to get into costumes, which were elaborate this year since we have a costume designer now. The costumes for the first show looked like this!
The first three sets got canceled due to lightning in the area, which was repeatedly and obnoxiously announced over the loud speakers throughout the fair grounds. :p
In the meantime, my friend and I got to wander a bit between practicing. One of my other friends showed up with her baby and my son was grateful for the playmate!
We were rained out of nearly every show that day, though we finally did get to do the last show of the night! The night show is really fun, but the lights in the bleachers are blinding. The routine we did was one where we had partners and did some group circles, so that was challenging because we haven’t done many like that in the past. Plus I am notorious for going too fast. 😉
The stage was also a little slick, which made us all nervous. On top of the fact that it had been rained on, it was also brand new and slippery so we put duct tape on our shoes to keep from landing on our butts. During the show, one of the dancers managed to sweet talk the comedian into an impromptu act so he could squeegee the stage a bit to get the water off for us.
My son joined us for the final bow and I was able to bring him with me to talk to the crowd behind the rope that separates the audience from the performers. We left shortly after and had quite the adventure trying to find my car in the dark.
The next day we were able to do all of the sets, but I was really fatigued right off the bat. The night before my kidneys had started acting up (history of stones) and I could tell it was getting worse but I tried to push through it.
We had different outfits for the two sets in the afternoon. There were some pretty quick costume changes, and much squealing when the door was opened while someone was still changing. Haha 🙂 I had a few wardrobe malfunctions (I didn’t bring some of the costume gear I was supposed to, oops)! Here are some of the pictures of costumes and performances.
One of the songs I had never actually heard the music to (in the instructional video I learned it off of, the taps of the shoes were louder than the music), so I ended up on the first row of the stage dancing to it for the first time with the rest of the group. I didn’t mess up that I remember, but I was pretty nervous because that wasn’t intentional!
We ended up leaving before the last set of the day because I was in a lot of pain from my kidneys and my legs had started to feel like they were being sawed in half.
Because my kidney stones were initially thought to be from calcium supplementation, I was instructed to stop supplementing during my pregnancy and I tried to get calcium from coconut yogurt and alternative milks (dairy allergy). Recently though, I’ve had to cycle out most tree nuts due to developing intolerances, which I find generally happen a lot in the fall. As a result I was not getting enough calcium and didn’t know it. Yesterday I picked up a supplement and started taking it immediately once we realized. My legs are already feeling better, though it is probably just a placebo effect at this point.
While I really enjoyed performing again, this year has definitely been different from previous one as far as performing there. I didn’t realize how much physical and mental energy this would take, and definitely over exerted myself. My husband says I don’t rest enough, physically or mentally, so the next few days will be dedicated to resting and recovering (and taking the stupid vitamins).
Anyways, if you have a question for me about performing/dancing, leave me a comment and I’ll tell you everything I know!
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