Monday, August 22, 2005

Boogie Wonderland (Part 4)

The day stared fairly early for a Saturday; we were supposed to be at the Orange Dance Club by 11am. Bernard, Sin Yee and I took the LRT train together to Suria KLCC. We could have only hoped that Sharol would be making it too.

Emerging from the tunnels


Cab driver offering us a 'good price'


Touchdown


We arrived and sure enough, Sharol was there... utterly unprepared but looking as cool as a cucumber. We had no choice but to save the throttling til after the show.

The three group finalists were already sitting by the drink stall next to the club: Funky Sox, Interlocking Force and Dance Maniac. I met a friend there, Tony, who was part of Dance Maniac. He and I travelled together to Bangkok earlier this year to catch the MTV Asia Aid. We both were winners at a preview event at Zouk, after taking part in - Now how about that! - a freestyle dancing contest.

Tony (far left in pink) and his group members. Sharol looks disturbingly unperturbed.


We entered the club, where sponsor reps ran through the itinerary with us. We were listed as 'Dance Wannabes'.

Dance WannaWHAT?

Not like it was logically that much of a big deal, but I was downright offended. My group mates and I did not go through 2 months of gruelling practice only to earn the title of being just a bunch of try-hards. Apparently, Bernard also said that our attendance form back at The Dance Space was labelled 'Dance Dummies'. If we were wannabes, dummies, what-EVER, then how the hell did we end up being chosen in the first place to open a show as hyped as this? I assertively requested that the name be changed... heck, even 'Rexonians' sounded cooler. The rep said she would see if it could be done.

The stage is yours.


We dragged Sharol straight to the waiting room and started discussing details of our dance with him. Thankfully, he got the gist of it fairly well.

The three groups came up and chilled. They had gotten familiarized with the routine of staying cooped up here whilst competing groups performed their challenges during the months of competition. They gossiped, joked around, roughly ran through their final performances, and they were set. They didn't really mingle with us newbies. We plonked our mini compo on the floor, spun our song mix, and practiced for the first time EVER as a complete group.

Noon marked the first stage rehearsal. The sound was fine, our moves were smooth, but we were out of sync and our positioning sucked. We needed a lot of refining.

We conjured an introduction which was cool to watch and a hilariously fun to perform.


To everyone to whom I have vehemently denied that I look anorexic, I'm sorry... I take it back. ALL back.


I'm so excited. And I just can't hide it.


Bernard's wicked hat trick


Slipping on a banana in the most cringe-worthy way... haha, retard.


*Make you do a double take*


For some strange reason, our ending poses looked a little... off.


Once our turn was done, we were ushered straight back into the waiting room, and we ran through the moves again. And again. And again. We were worn from the past few days of marathon rehearsals, but we could not afford to rest just yet.

As the day ticked by, the term 'Wannabe' was still being used. I was getting pretty agitated at this point, and I started whining to the organizers about it. One of them just shrugged and said it was too late to change anything; it was written in the script. "The show hasn't even started yet, of *course* it can still be changed..." I growled. I was given an indifferent shrug, and I resumed my angry pout. It didn't take long for the weariness to settle into all of us.

Tired & tried


Dance Maniac was sponsored by Adidas. I was THAT close to nicking a pair.


The full dress rehearsal was due to start at 2pm. But with technical complications that come with shows that are shot in a "live" environment, the rehearsal was pushed way later than expected. After a few more hours of waiting, we got into our Rexona gear to prepare for the final rehearsal which eventually started at 3.30pm; the doors were supposed to open at 4pm.

Our dance looked heaps better by this time, however, I noticed that my body was not so responsive to the music... My moves were not as sharp, my caterpillar kicks felt like kickboard paddles. I realized that I had been using up more energy than expected for the first show reheasal and the waiting room practicing. My head buzzed with dread. I was starting to question my ability to give it my all for the real thing.

Off to a good start


Initiate Operation Booya


Stepping up


Slicing & dicing


Giving the brush-off


Putting my @ss into it


Ending is slightly better. Just slightly.


The full dress rehearsal was barely halfway when guests were already queueing outside. They were told to come back in an hour, including my friends who had to leave to be somewhere else in the next hour. The dress rehearsal got abruptly cancelled after my group's dance; it hit the organizers that they were running way past schedule. By this time, I was reaching the end of my tether. I was exhausted, distressed and irritable. All I was thinking about was my bed, some asprin and a good foot massage. "Don't worry, we're almost done. Just think about the money. let's just get it over and done with," my other members assured me.

The subsequent sudden announcement of the show about to begin barely gave Sin Yee and I any time to make-up, so we clumsily smeared on everything we brought and hoped we looked presentable. We were hurried back down to the backstage room, and the guests poured in.

I heard the hosts hyping the crowd up and my heart shrunk. The moves were left on repeat mode in my head... Rewind. Play. Rewind. Play. Rew-

The door swung open. "LET'S GO!" the organizer hollered.

Following instructions from the briefing session, we sat ourselves down on stage in order of our groups. It was a full house. My friends and family were found in various extreme corners of the club; they waved vivaciously and flashed good-luck thumbs.

L-R, top to bottom: Funky Sox, Dance Maniac, Interlocking Force, *insert cool name here*


Bird's eye view of the set. Hosts Kish & Hani are on the blocks.


The cameras rolled, the hosts did their thing, the judges were introduced, and the Dance Wannabes were called up to get the party started. We took our places and the first beats of 1,2 Step resonated throughout the club. I was on fire.

We grooved to Ciara amidst the ardent cheering. The moves materialized effortlessly and I focused on the style. I saw my mom and little sister roaring for me. I was loving every second, for the first two minutes.

And then, halfway through Lose Control... I really did.

The moves in my head just dissipated. *Poof!* No trace of it left.I don't think Houdini would have done a better job.

The next seven seconds - which equates to an eternity for a song with a gazillion beats a minute - was spent with me standing there like the dipstick that I naturally am, staring back at my fellow dance mates who were executing the moves flawlessly, step by step, and-five-and-six-and-seven-and-eight...

My life flashed before me. So did the glare from the video camera.

I wanted to die.

I missed two entire sets of eight beats, and only got back to it at the last few seconds of the song. The song finished, we struck our poses, the audience did their hurrahs, and we were ushered back straight upstairs into the waiting room as the show continued.

We had to stay there until the show had completely finished. We were not allowed to go down and watch and hang out with our friends and family. Bernard was fuming and was picking fights with whomever he thought had some form of power to change the rules. I didn't have the energy to raise my voice. I didn't understand, I had the moves ingrained in my head. It could not have, SHOULD not have happened. The past two months culminated in one fantastic phuck-up. Out of everybody, I had no idea I'd be the let-down. I staggered over to the nearest couch, collapsed over and burst into tears. Out of frustration. Out of disappointment. Out of complete and utter burnout.

"It's over, dear. No point in thinking about it anymore. We're free..." Bernard and Sin Yee tell me frankly. I did know that the crying was pointless and foolish, but I couldn't do anything else. The zip on my emotional baggage gave way big time. I snivelled tragically.

While his group was preparing for their last performance, Tony came over and pressed a reassuring hand on my shoulder. I gave him a meek smile and wished him the best of luck. My spirits rose high enough for me to walk over to the tinted glass walls to catch a small glimpse of his group making the crowd go nuts with their charisma, professionalism and gravity-defying flips. My group was called down for the results broadcast, and I was over the moon when Dance Maniac was announced the champions.

After balloons dropped from the ceiling and hugs were shared, I whimpered to my friends and family about my onstage floundering.

"You forgot? Really? I didn't notice... You guys looked good all the way," they all said.

That concerted response, together with outsanding video editing skills, will be my only saving grace when the Grand Finals airs on the box.

The experience of working with other novice dancers was mindblowing; the friction, the harmony, the mental and physical drain, the anticipation of showing to the world what you've got... even if it does end with a phuck-up, I wouldn't mind doing it all over again.

Cheers to the Rexonians! You guys rock.



You can catch The Rexona No Sweat Dance Challenge on TV3, Tuesdays at 7pm.

Visit Sin Yee's blog for her (less angsty) account of the show.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Az Samad said...

i hope i get to see an episode or two! am going back to Boston september 3rd, so i better get to catch up with you again k!

Take care!

12:34 PM  
Blogger disco-very said...

Az,
Apparently I appeared in one of the first episodes, when I was auditioning at 1 Utama. I won't be featured much at all apart from the interview and final performance. Thanks for your support dear! Hope to see you again before you go :)

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Yvonne said...

Hello there. Thanks for visiting my blog and cheers to dancing! Wish I could still do that.

3:53 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

:) The pics looked funny - don't give up just bcoz of some ad hoc mistakes!

4:22 PM  
Anonymous ah pink said...

Agree with Yvonne. You look great...as always! =)

11:41 AM  
Anonymous ah pink said...

Oops...I mean I agree with mj.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Ifran said...

Haha i opened this blog, read this entry and realized i was just in time to watch the show. I saw you in the background for a few seconds when they were interviewing Sharol? hehe

2:42 AM  
Blogger Albert said...

Rexonites!

Did you guys get consolation prizes?

P.S. Remember the time you won the MTV trip in Zouk? I walked from KLCC to Orange by accident...

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i read ur blog and seriously we can't change the word wannabe. because we already used wanabe since 24th june recording. so we can't change to something else for the final recording, and you can't expect us to reshoot the whole thinng. sorry again!

6:07 AM  
Blogger disco-very said...

Yvonne,
Thanks for visiting my blog. I wish I could write as well as you do! All the best, I'll be rooting for you. :)

MJ,
Don't worry I'm not giving up, I'm just making sure I don't over-practice the next time. Thanks.

Ah Pink,
I was extermely tired that day and I think it shows through the pictures, but thank you for seeing something nice in the most unlikliest places.

Ifran,
I haven't watched any of the shows yet, just haven't had the time... But yeah we had to go through the dance moves over and over again in the background because the interviews took a while to film. :P

Albert,
We didn't compete in the Finals, we only performed the opening dance and we were rewarded RM1000 each. I still remember you getting to Zouk a little late and my mom holding the camera wrongly. :)

anonymous,
I'm assuming you're from the sponsors... thanks for visiting and for helping to clear the air. We definitely understand that re-recording wastes time and money. The whole group, even our friends and family, were however disappointed that we were given a relatively derogatory name simply because we did not see it coming. Whomever decided upon 'wannabes', in my opinion, does not understand the concept and appropriate usage of the term. Nevertheless, the experience was riveting, and we thank you loads for offering the opportunity.

9:37 AM  
Blogger oh-jon said...

Awesome story, your emotions really came through.

You'll have to show me some moves if we ever meet. My drunken dance antics are one of the principal reasons I never drink anymore. :)

10:00 AM  
Blogger disco-very said...

Jon,
Thanks for the feedback. I can show you a mean charleston if you're up for that. I didn't know you don't drink... let's hit the clubs, buy some overpriced soda and get pseudo-drunk together sometime.

1:45 PM  
Blogger HeR$hèYs said...

hehe...less angsty yeah...definitely :) it was an unforgettable experience for me...n i really miss practising wif u n bern now :(

7:28 PM  
Blogger disco-very said...

HeR$hèYs,
yeah i miss the wicked times i had with you and bernard. we were such a tight team. hope penang is treating you well!

2:19 PM  

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