I woke up with the thought, “only two days left in India”. I couldn’t help but be excited to leave because of how sick I was feeling. I needed to be able to recover and rest. Instead, I woke up feeling like someone had taken a razor blade to my throat. A three week performing and teaching tour will do some awful things to your body.
We were given a delicious crêpe breakfast by our host mom, and then were taken by their driver to the American Embassy School to meet others from our tour group. Each dancer had been assigned one or two creative dance classes to teach that day. So, as we waited for out turn, hung out and slept in the teachers lounge.
I was lucky enough to have a class of 3rd graders that were energetic and ready to explore movement. I loved seeing their understanding of dance concepts like shape, sharp, and smooth. I also loved their performance of these concepts at the end of class. One boy, who had been vocal all class, kept saying during the performances, “this would be so much better with popcorn.” I couldn’t help but laugh inside. I agree, little boy. I agree.
We returned to the cafeteria for lunch, though most of us were sick, with very small appetites. It was also at this point that we noticed some of us were missing. Come to find out, one dancer had been so sick that morning that she had passed out on her bathroom floor, chipped her tooth and cut a deep gash in her chin from the fall. She was taken to the hospital for stitches. Another two dancers had had a horrible night’s sleep at their host family’s home and were elsewhere recovering. Finally, the tour member who had passed out on the plane a few days previous was in the school’s medical room. Not to mention, at least half of us were sick with the nasty cold. We were quite the group of invalids.
But, the show must go on! We proceeded to set up for performance and to prepare our concert without our injured dancer. This meant re-choreographing some of the pieces, adding to the stress of the day. After eating a light dinner, our missing dancer reappeared with a bandage over her chin, feeling much better. Our worries were settled as she took her place for the performance as usual. Despite her injury, she was still was able to perform beautifully.
Though Kyle had come on the tour to be a backstage worker, he traded off his post to a tour leader so that he could watch our last performance. It was his first time watching the performance from the front, and not backstage. It was also my last performance with BYU. I couldn’t help but get tears during the finale. My years of performing on companies at school had gone by quickly. Who knows when I will be able to perform again.
The performance was a success. We had minimal mishaps, the audience laughed at the right moments, and clapped vigorously. Their energy fueled out desire to push ourselves and forget about our tired, sore, and sick bodies. We overcame them, becoming the dance. Not merely doing the dance.
We each received roses from audience and plenty of hugs and praise. Our host family loved the show and told us each piece that they liked and why. Maya, the daughter, couldn’t stop talking enthusiastically about the performance. Omar, the son, thought it was “pretty cool”, which coming from a teenage boy, was quite the compliment.
After packing up all of our costumes, props, lights, and set, we loaded into our family’s car, and their driver took us home. Roxanna had ordered us pizza and made a salad for us to snack on when we got there. Though we were exhausted, we talked till the wee hours of the morning. We were so grateful to have been given an amazing host family. It made overcoming the fatigue of tour, that much easier through their smiling faces.
*Photos by Mark Philbrick, our tour photographer