2011 St. Patrick’s Day Season, Day 7

Originally written March 15, 2011.

Why is my cat so in love with my dress bag? Whenever I’m careless enough to put it somewhere she can reach it, she rubs herself all over it and then crawls under or behind it, purring like a diesel engine the whole time.

I know that part of the attraction is the fabric of the bag. She’s all white, and the bag is black, and (while I know that cats are supposed to be colorblind) she really seems to prefer shedding on dark fabrics. Also, the bag is made of heavy cotton, and cat hairs stick to it very well. Again, she tends to like lying on fabrics that her fur sticks to. Some of our chairs look like they’re made of white angora.

What I can’t figure out is how she always knows when I’ve put the bag where she can get to it. This morning, for instance, I was getting ready for our first show, and the cat was nowhere to be seen. Normally, she gets up with my husband and follows him around while he gets ready, and then she waits for me to get up and do my morning routine. My morning routine includes changing her water and feeding her, and once I’ve done that, she usually wants me to pet her.

This morning, however, I hadn’t seen the cat at all. I’d gotten up, watered the plants, changed the cat’s water, fed the cat, cleaned out her litter box, had breakfast, and stretched, and not a sign of her. Lulled into a false sense of security, I took the dress bag out of the closet and hung it on the closet door so I wouldn’t forget it when I left. I brushed my teeth, which takes about two minutes, and when I put down the tooth brush, there she was, INSIDE the dress bag, since I’d naively left it unzipped. I hadn’t even seen her get in.

And of course she was purring.

We had two shows today. The first was at an Alzheimer’s care facility in Highlands Ranch. We’ve danced there annually for almost ten years now, and it’s a show I enjoy. The facility is bright, welcoming, and interesting; the whole front area inside the building is designed to look like a main street, with a lamp post in the middle of the big foyer and a little “shops” lining the hallways, like a hair stylist and a candy shop. Alzheimer’s care centers are some of the most heartbreaking places we visit, but at this facility I can tell that the residents are well-cared for and as content as they can be.

The second show was at a senior center we hadn’t danced at before. It seemed like a nice enough place, and the organizers and residents both appeared to enjoy the performance. We had to be careful while we were dancing, though: in the dining room where we were performing, each individual table had its own light, which was dropped down from the ceiling. The tables had been pushed out of the way for our show, but the lights remained, and the decorative knob on the bottom of each light was less than six feet off the ground. Since Phil is 6’ or a little taller, we were worried that he was going to run into one of the lights and knock himself silly. It probably wouldn’t be good for the light bulb, either.

So we laid our show boards on the floor between a couple sets of lights and told Phil he couldn’t dance off the boards. That gave him about 10’ side to side to dance in, which is tight, but he managed it, and both Phil and the lights survived the show unscathed.

After the second show, we headed back to the studio to do a dress rehearsal for our annual stage show. A dress rehearsal is always kind of an exercise in organized chaos, where almost forty people are getting dressed at the same time and finding out that their tights have runs, their tights are too small, they don’t have any tights; that their bra doesn’t work under their leotard; that their jacket clashes with their pants. You assign people to help with these problems while you, dressed in your outrageous goth fairy/Lady Gaga outfit, run back and forth fetching wigs, veils, headbands, safety pins, and scripts. There are customers in the store who aren’t from your school, and you hope that they have no idea who you are.

Once everyone is dressed, you run through the whole show, where you find out that there isn’t enough time for one of your main characters to change her shoes and her costume between numbers. Since you haven’t ever run some of the numbers back-to-back before, no one has realized that they need to be sidestage at a particular time, and as their music is playing, they are all sitting next to you, looking at the empty stage. The set takes up too much of the stage for your big finale. The beautiful fairy wings won’t work for the audience participation number, because they tend to poke people’s partners in the face.

By the end of the evening, you have a tic in the side of your face and you wonder if it isn’t too late to become a hermit.

Seriously, though—while dress rehearsals do tend to be chaotic, this one was also really good! I was exhausted by the end of it, but also very happy. It’s going to be a good show. I love all my dancers.

Tomorrow, I have four shows, and somewhere in there I’ve got to find some time to make the show layouts for the twenty shows we have on Thursday. Cue hysterical laughter. This was the year I promised myself I wasn’t going to get behind like this. Yeah, right. : )