Wednesday, 9 June 2010

stage debut in St Jean de Luz

I am still not sure how it actually happened but I allegedly danced Flamenco on stage in St Jean de Luz last Saturday. The ever-lovely Fabienne organised an end of dance season concert at the jai alai (normally the home of pelota). From 0900 on Saturday and for 18 hours thereafter I was at her beck and call.

The day began with a full rehearsal. Over 100 people were involved ranging in age from 4 to 84. I was one of 7 men and would mostly be the only chap on stage at any one time albeit surrounded by a bevvy of brightly attired alluring ladies. Rehearsal good, waiting bad.

The last time I had been on stage I was seven years old and had just won the Edinburgh Schools Robert Burns Poetry Recital Award; I forgot every word and vowed I would never again take to the boards. As the start time neared and the hall filled my nerves began to get the better of me. There would be nearly 500 people watching, including a large group of my friends who promised they would make large amounts of noise in support - how much I looked forward to that.

I had two Sevillanas and one Tangos allegedly committed to memory. The first routine was some twenty minutes into the programme. The longest twenty minutes I can remember. Thankfully my obvious nervousness was greeted by much reassuring hugging by the ladies present - there is always a silver lining.

I heard the first strains of our first song and stepped trepidously into the overpowering limelight. The moment we began to move all sense of trepidation dissipated (footage here). What followed was one of the most enjoyable evenings I have ever had.

Two hours flew past and I regained sense around midnight sitting at a table with forty other revellers and clasping a large pitcher of sangria. As I staggered home around 0300 I decided that it had indeed been a resounding success. Three years ago I was working in the City; now I sing Basque, drink sangria and spend weekends dancing Flamenco with hundreds of women. How times change.

Basque of the day:- change :: aldaketa