Shortly after signing up to be in the number, we had to be measured for our costumes. I made sure to tell the girl who was measuring me that I wasn’t usually that round in the belly, so guesses were made as to the size of costume I would need after giving birth. I also had to guess my shoe size since your feet stretch a little while pregnant, so that was an interesting experience. At least I was able to reserve a costume in the colour that I wanted.
Fast forward to September 2013 when practices began. The flamenco shoes for our costumes had arrived, so we were expected to practice in them from day one. This was so we could get use to dancing in them, as well as break them in since they stretch after a bit of use. Thankfully, the shoes I ordered came in the perfect size! So, there I was, 38-weeks pregnant, in high-heeled flamenco dance shoes, slowly waddling my way through the first 30 seconds of choreography. It was like any other dance class that I had taken at Ammena, except with the expectation to be able to perform the dance on stage without help from our instructor, Lise-Anne.
No pressure, of course.
I decided to sit out and watch our third practice because it fell on the same day as my due date, and I didn’t want to jinx anything and have my contractions start at the dance studio. Thankfully, we were allowed to record our instructor at the end of each class as she ran through the steps we had learned so far, and we could use the video to practice later at home. I recorded my video, said good night to the other girls, drove home, went to bed, then at midnight my contractions started, and I gave birth to my daughter early the next evening. Obviously I skipped class the following week, but I was back at it the week after, surprising my fellow dancers. Lise-Anne was even surprised to see me, but by that point I felt well enough to continue learning the choreography, so we carried on.
By early February, we were really getting it down, which was good since the show was less than a month away. We had a mock dress rehearsal one night, so we had a chance to see what everyone else was working on. I thought every number looked fantastic, even when the dancers remarked that someone forgot to do this or that. You can’t tell because, as an outsider, you don’t know what the choreography is suppose to look like, so you just assume everything was meant to happen. We could also see what the costumes looked like for each number, which was even more exciting. I was definitely more hyped up for the show than I was before when I was just going to practices.
A couple weeks later, we had our hair and make-up night. This was a great thing for me since I’m pretty inept at both. In order to be seen under the bright stage lights, your foundation has to be dark, while the rest of your make-up needs to be heavy (read: plastered on) and bright. Near the end of the make-up tutorial, you look like a drag queen up close, but if you step away, your make-up looks very well done. I walked away that night with a vague idea of how I should look, but I took a photo of myself with my phone just in case.