The Show Must Always Go On
Tapping for Romance
There's No Business Like Brave Business
Do you know when I first realized I was as brave as Lizbeth Salander in Steig Larson's Millenium series and Katniss Everdeen in Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games triology? On February 10 at the Cancer Support Community's last Open Mic, All You Need Is Love. In a scenario that could've easily been disastrous the results demonstrated how much cancer's prepared me for life's little surprises.
My New Tap Piece Romance Schmomance:
Reminiscing about it now I realized that the changes I've undergone, because of the disease, have given me the courage to pursue other interests. But first my ability to perform my new piece, Romance Schmomance without my tap shoes or Fasfoot board as if the audience were catching a glimpse of my rehearsal, confirmed my current status as a tough cookie or as I prefer to call myself, Tough Cookie Woman.
My Inspiration for My Tap Piece:
Influenced by the movie The Artist, the Art Deco movement, tapper Melinda Sullivan, and the song I chose to dance to Jump for Joy sung by Joe Williams on the "Ultimate Lounge Shaken, Not Stirred" Cd it felt as improvised and free as leaping into the air spontaneously. When one of the event's coordinators, Nancy, asked me, "Do you mind doing your tap piece at the beginning instead of the end of the program?" I smiled and said, "No I don't mind," with as much courage as I could muster.
Getting Down To It and Dancing:
To say the performance took an astronomical amount of bravery is an understatement since the only thing that went as planned was that I'd changed into my costume, a pair of black shorts, a white/blue vintage sailor top under an off-white crocheted jacket, black crocheted beret decorated with a black flower pin, and a pair of black knee highs. I had practiced in the room the Open Mic was to be held in for about a half hour earlier that day so I was prepared physically to execute my routine after I read the essay I'd written, "The Birthday Dance". Since I didn't have any way to transport my equipment I had to carry on in my street shoes, a pair of black men's oxfords, that make noise and look cool, but can be hard for the audience to hear when you're tap dancing. Instead of stomping down hard, however, I made up for the lack of sound with exuberance and pretended I was Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly breaking into dance, all of a sudden, in one of their movies.
Dealing With My New Life:
My transition from merely tapping to full out performance mirrors the changes I'm currently going through in my life now. This attitude has helped me in my next step toward living my new reality. During the middle of February I did a Job Assessment for the Department of Rehabilitation at the Jewish Vocational Services and now I'm taking Computer 1 at Venice Skills Center to improve my job skills. Along with widening my employment options these new experiences have allowed me to focus on evolving my wardrobe to reflect my personal style right now.
Thus far my selections have consisted of a formula: a blazer over a button-down shirt and jeans or casual pants, then pulled together with colorful scarves, jewelry, hats, funky bags and flat shoes. My blazers are usually really colorful and sculpted styles that I accessorize with slogan, decorative or flower pins and my pants are either vintage jeans, baggy men's styles or skinny jeans. I love the hand knit caps the volunteers make from The Giving Caps Group so I wear those when it's cold or I have a bad hair day or vintage hats and my bags can be anything from my brown leopard Hello Kitty bag to my pink plaid backpack.
When I want to buy something to add some pow to my wardrobe I usually go to the thrift store Fallas , Hot Topics, Claire's or Ross for scarves, hats, slogan pins, bracelets, door knocker rings, or hair accessories.
As I slowly combine both aspects of my life, cancer and work, I know the skills I've developed throughout the past two years will help me make it through the next chapter of my life.
Places to Shop for Tap Costumes:
Goodwill Industries Thrift Store
Local Thrift Stores
Vintage Clothing Expos
Dance Clothing Stores
Where to Look for Inspiration for Costumes and Tap Numbers:
Old Musicals (i.e., Singin' in the Rain, etc.,)
Japanese Fashion Magazines
You Tube (tap clips)