Day 11: Always on Stage

What a day this was! There is so much to write. After breakfast, with the Woods and the Easltey’s, we took off on our first rickshaw ride to a nearby market. Rickshaws are a three wheeled cart that is open to the air. It is small so it is able to zoom in between cars and motorcycles and tends to get to the destination quickly. Though many people have said it was scary, I actually enjoyed it, except those moments I thought I would get smashed by two cars moving towards you on opposite sides. Scary!

The shopping was successful! When Kyle and I were first dropped off, nothing was open. However, some shop owners must have seen us standing on the street and decide to open early. We started with a clothing shop. I learned how to tie my saree, found some beautiful shawls for our moms and a scarf for me. Later we found an adorable elephant figurine that was carved out in wood and painted like it was holding a piece of intricate fabric on its back.

A block down the road we walked into a shop of trinkets and were introduced to Indian knives. Though many were intriguing, Kyle was mesmerized by one knife. It had a curved, hand painted blade with a sheath engraved with designs of animals and inlaid with silver. Of course the price was outrageous so left the shop. Within a few minutes we were back in the shop bartering down the price. When Kyle had worked his magic and got the price he wanted, he ended up purchasing the knife.

We were driven to the performance venue which turned out to be a beautiful hall that was shaped like a violin. It was a lovely theater. Our hosts were gracious enough to serve us an American inspired lunch with a burger and chips. It was delicious. Then we set to work setting up the performance as usual. Though that part was usual, the performance was anything but.

First off, at each location we have performed, we have had benches made for our “Life’s a Bench” piece. At this particular location we commented before the show about how beautiful the benches looked. We thought they looked the nicest from what we had seen. We still thought that even after the bench broke during the last moment of the dance but that didn’t help us from laughing and laughing over what had happened. If you look closely at the photo below, you can see the main part of the bench that has broken off and the back two dancers that have fallen off the bench because of the snap.

Then, during the mattress dance we devised a scheme. The two backstage workers, Kyle and Skylar, had been joking about sneaking out onstage. We had them take off their shoes and socks and roll up their pants and sneakily slide across the back of the stage behind one of the foam mattresses. I must say that Kyle did quite well with his stage debut. In the photo above, their feet are peeking out behind the mattresses.

To continue the list of performance happenings, Michelle, the assistant director of CDT, was in her last day of the tour as she had to get home for a wedding. Seven years before, when she was going to BYU, Michelle had been in CDT and had performed the Steppin’ piece. We had been joking for a while about her taking Annie’s place in the dance, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity. In the end, Michelle did a fabulous job with her performance!

At the end of the performance we were presented with beautiful jasmine flower leis and elephant figurines. The leis smelled so good that I couldn’t stop admiring them for the next couple days. We also spent time out in the audience thanking the people who had so generously come to see us. They were so complimentary to our performance which we appreciated after a tiring show.

With the performance over, we packed up our gear and prepared to head back to the hotel. At this point we had to say our goodbyes to Michelle as she left in a taxi to head to the airport and then back to the states. And then we got on the bus to leave. As we drove, we laughed about our eventful performance. During that time a few stories were relayed that made us realize that even though we were here to perform, it wasn’t just our dancing that was making an impact.

After the bench broke early in the performance, there were splinters scattered all over the stage. Kyle and Skylar, being our tech crew, grabbed brooms and swept off the shattered wood so our bare feet wouldn’t be in danger of injury. One of the tour leadership who was out in the audience watching said that she overheard a man whisper behind her that he had never seen a man sweep before. What an interesting statement we had made without even knowing it.

Then another story came up. Benjamin, the technical director of our tour, was up in the light box of the theater. During that time he only had one other man helping him. Halfway through the performance, another man showed up. The newly arrived man said that his friend had called him during the performance and said he had to get there to see the show. Benjamin said that the man was smiling through the rest of the show.

Last of all, we found out that a large performing arts school wanted us to perform again and were trying to make accommodations for us to stay. Unfortunately, the show was on August 18th, a couple weeks after we would already be home. We were flattered all the same.

Upon arrival at our hotel, Kyle and I skipped dinner as we were so tired already. However, we were stopped when we flipped on the television to check on USA’s standing in the Olympics. We got sucked in as we saw the USA take gold after gold. As we listened to the national anthem, we both had to smile as we thought about our country. We were so far away from home but we felt proud to be Americans.

Though this day was a wonderful success in many ways, I couldn’t help but be sad that I was missing a special event back home. My long time and dear friend Kelli was getting married that day and I was sad to have missed her wedding. All the same, I missed being there. I love you Kelli dear! And I wish you and Kendall all the best!

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