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‘The Aftermath’: Twerk ’til you drop!

The Twerk ‘N Burn trio with our Instructor and Choreographer, Lily!

Last night, Dance Austin Studio put on its annual “spooky” showcase, The Aftermath!

Per usual, spending an entire day with my dance family and getting the opportunity to put it all on The North Door stage brought up all sorts of feelings about my life, and memories of the past.

After a super tough year and choosing more difficult pieces to perform in for showcases in the past, I decided to choose one that would be more FUN to perform, and possibly easier to learn.

So, I signed up for Twerk ‘N Burn – and our large group quickly dwindled to just three of us, but I think it ended up being the cream of the twerking crop. It was really neat to get to know the other two ladies – Kim and Michaela – and finally dance on stage with them after many years.

Our performance combined many popular twerking songs and costumes to fit the bill: short, red yoga shorts and cropped white hoodies. It wasn’t quite the smallest costume I’ve worn on stage, but it comes in at a close second.

During our final practice, Kim said it looked like we were trying out to be NBA cheerleaders – and she was right.

It made me recall a dream I’ve had for many years and since buried – to dance for a professional sports team.

In high school, I wanted to grow up and be a famous choreographer. So, when we had to do senior projects, I choreographed a piece for a local dance team, which they performed on stage and I recorded it for my senior presentation.

A panel of teachers “judged” all of our senior presentations and followed it up with questions. I will never forget that one of the questions they asked me was if I really was going to study dance/choreography in school.

I told them no, because in my research, I discovered it was very rare to be able to make a decent living off of it, and it took such a difficult toll on the body. The panel was disappointed in my answer, but I graduated!

I went on to Louisiana State University – a college I chose based on their basketball dance squad, the Tiger Girls – but I never even auditioned. Despite having years of dance experience, I wasn’t as technically trained as those dancers.

But I have always admired them, and many other dance teams from afar. Sure, I love the moves, but ultimately, I love the performance: the outfits, the hair and makeup, the attitude, the swagger.

That is what I hoped to capture from my Twerk ‘N Burn performance.

A few of my coworkers came to watch me perform, and they were shocked – “Oh you CAN dance! You’re finally coming out of your shell!”

But… I’m still the same person I’ve always been. I’m introverted, and although it takes a lot for me to get on stage and dance in front of hundreds of people, there’s an art to putting it all together and that’s what I’ve been working on the hardest over the years – the facial expressions, adding style to the moves, connecting with the audience.

Many of my extroverted friends and coworkers dance in their everyday lives – in the office, at the bar on the weekends, or even when a song comes on the radio, no matter where they are. I dance at home sometimes – you know, with Blanche, ha! – but that’s just not me to want to be the center of attention.

I dance for different reasons.

Last night, I danced to prove something to myself. I proved that at 33 years old, I can still, most-definitely, get on stage in a crop top and not feel judged. I got to show an audience that twerking isn’t about Miley Cyrus or skin color or even sex – it’s about having fun and embracing your body as is.

I also got to put my nasty side-eye to great use – finally!

It was the perfect way to end a really rough month at the office. It reminded me that my energy can be put in much more productive things – and I don’t mean making spreadsheets or replying to emails – I mean LIVING.

I am still very much on my journey to actively live – to having a schedule full of adventures and things i love doing. I refuse to let the days, months, and years pass me by without having handfuls of experiences to remember.

Last night was another one I won’t forget.

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Never too old…for fairy wings.

Think these would look good on me?

Think these would look good on me?

It has been famously said that “Youth is wasted on the young” (it is still argued who said it and exactly how, between Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw). While I’ve heard this quote for years, I’ve never quite understood what it meant until now.

As I write this, I’m sitting at my desk with a cup of coffee, it’s 6:30 am – I have to be at work in two hours, and I just returned from a weekend on Orange Beach (I got in around 9 last night) for Hangout Fest. I’m sticky with aloe from a legit sunburn, and of course, I’m exhausted.

But something has been on my mind since before I even left for the weekend. When I was prepping for the trip, I was at the Dollar Tree to get essential festival items: glow bracelets, glitter, travel packs of Kleenex, etc. I came across a clear “4th of July” aisle that had light up red and blue star necklaces, American flag sunglasses, and a pair of white fairy wings with little red and blue glitter stars on them.

I snapped a picture and sent them to a fellow festival goer, asking her if she wanted a pair for the festival – they were only a dollar, and I thought they were so cute.

She wrote back about an hour later, saying “Pretty sure I’m too old to be wearing fairy wings.”

My shoulders sank. Is that where we’re at now?

In years past, the festival has brought more than just fairy wings to the public – there have been full on bear suits, body glitter from head-to-toe, traditional Indian head-dresses, and many-a-mermaid garb in trade for standard swimsuit cover-ups.

Fairy wings wouldn’t flutter an eyelash on the block for Hangout Fest.

But it wasn’t really about the gauzy wings, it was about the spirit of the whole thing. That’s why I love Hangout Fest above choosing other festivals near its kind.

I enjoy many of the same things at Hangout that I enjoyed as a kid: the beach, cheers from carnival games, indulging in guiltless corn dogs, glow bracelets, body glitter, and meshing colors that wouldn’t be accepted at my day job. Add adult bank accounts and an I.D. to drink, and you’ve pretty much created paradise.

Age, in a place like Hangout, is not issue. Perhaps you have your “Hangout” – whether it’s Disney World or a year ’round Christmas shop, or maybe just a great park on a sunny day.

But if we’re not willing to wear “fairy wings” – whatever those are for you – then what’s really the point of all this? Are we ever too old to just have fun?

On my long drive home yesterday, I thought about things that I’m legitimately too old for – like Children’s Tylenol (and thank God, because that shit is so gross), and living with my parents (although debatable, because there are circumstances where I’d consider this okay)… so, what are we really too old for?

Sure, there are things that change as we age; I can’t skirt a hangover, I usually don’t get to sleep in, and my back pain rivals that of a senior citizen’s.

But will I ever be too old for a trip to the county fair? Will I ever not find joy in eating fresh watermelon on a summer day? Will I ever not feel a little rebellious seeing a midnight movie on a weeknight?

I sure hope not. Not to dwell on fairy wings, but if we can’t stop and have a little fun, have a light-hearted spirit, then why on earth would we work so hard?

I left the Dollar Tree that night without the fairy wings, because I thought that single person would make fun of me. But today? Today I can’t stop thinking about them; and about how important it is to take ourselves a little less serious, and stop judging those around us. It makes us too hard around the edges.

So, I’m going to stop by the store this week and get myself a pair. Maybe I’ll wear them to a parade, some other festival, or maybe I’ll just wear them to the grocery store – because I’m not too old for fun.

I hope I never am.

Wiggin’ out — NOLA style.

A few weekends ago, I joined my friend Liz in New Orleans for a good ‘ole girls’ weekend — cocktails, fine food, street car trips, dancing… and shopping for wigs. One thing I’ll say about Liz is that she’s always fabulous, so any time with her is always a fun one.

Because Liz has lived in New Orleans for a few years now, she decided it was time to get in with the crowd and purchase a wig to wear when she was just, “Feelin’ good.”

Really, looking for wigs, I felt like Kim Zolciak-Biermann, and then I just wished for a guy like Kroy.

Anyway, let’s focus on the issue at hand: how does one find the perfect wig? Here are some tips I found from The Wig Experts:

  1. Cut: Consider the length (short, mid-length, long), the texture (straight, curly & wavy), and the hairstyle (bob, pixies & boy cut, layered, bangs, without bangs).
  2. Capsize: The average wig size fits most people and measures 22-inches around, but measure your head from the front hairline, behind the ear, to the nape of your neck, and back around. This will ensure the best fit.
  3. Composition: Do you want human hair or synthetic hair? There’s pros and cons to either choice, and The Wig Experts have a nice little chart that weighs the options.
  4. Color: This is the fun part, right? Now The Wig Experts are pretty serious about wigs, and they suggest choosing a color that’s close to your natural tone for the easiest transition. But, coming from someone who colors her hair, I say, pick something new, something you love, something fresh! Go for it!

Facial shape is also something you should consider when buying a wig, as it will help you pick a cut and possibly even the right length.

  • Diamond = Bobs, styles that can be tucked behind the ears, shoulder-length
  • Heart = Bangs, fringe, long, multiple layers
  • Oval = Any style!
  • Round = Long-layered styles, off-center part, short hair with high volume
  • Pear = Angled fringe, bangs, short, cropped styles
  • Square = Feathers, wispy bangs
  • Oblong = Shoulder-length, waves, curls, lots of layers

Alright, now onto the wigs! When I searched online for some wigs I loved, I found a TON that I really liked — so my apologies for all the choices. I’m open to different colors, since I really don’t know when or where I’d sport a wig, but all of the ones I found were very inexpensive. I have always dreamed of having super long hair, so I was automatically drawn to the lengthier ones.

Let me know which ones you love!

Pictured wigs: Melody Susie, Crazy City, Lolita, Wine Red, Angel, Royal