One week ago, at about this exact time, I would have been standing on stage, clad in stockings, sequins and not much else, performing in the latest Reenie’s Rockettes Burlesque Extravaganza.
I really can’t believe that a week has passed already. I’d had great plans to write a “Get Ready With Me – The Burlesque Edition”, to take you through the preparation process. Believe me, it takes a lot of time, effort and eyelash glue to transform me from frumpy mum of two into a Burlesque goddess! (Not to mention a professional hairdresser and team of dressers!)
As it was the evening was so hectic that I didn’t even get time to take one photo of the pre-show process. Not one! Not even a selfie!! Believe me, I’m beating myself up about it now! There was just so much to do and so little time. It was a little touch and go whether I would even make it on stage for the first dance number! And then, blink and you missed it, it was time for the finale.
So, the Get Ready With Me post bit the dust. Still, there’s always next time. And instead of showing you how I become a Burlesque performer, I’m going to tell you WHY…
I once wrote a post called “Burlesque saved me life”. It was written just after my first big dance show and I was buzzing from the adrenaline of being on that stage. I wrote about how my self-esteem had been lifted and how performing made me feel sexy and special again.
All of that is still true. But just recently, I’ve started to realise it’s so much more than just the thrill of hearing applause. It’s not really anything to do with me. It’s all about the Rockettes.
Being in a group of 60-80 women, in varying states of undress, may seem a little intimidating. I mean, women are notorious for being bitchy and competitive.
But mostly, the Rockettes are fantastic. We’re one giant support network They are my best friends, sisters, therapists, cheerleaders, agony aunts, lifestyle coaches, personal trainers, stylists and so much more. Each of us has our own demons, our own battles but we know that we never have to face anything alone. And with that many women you’re almost bound to find someone who has similar experiences to your own.
I very deliberately haven’t mentioned our leader – the effervescent Reenie la Roque. She is wonderful and probably deserves a post all of her own. She is our teacher, our director and every single one of the girls has a story about how Reenie has saved them. But ulitimately, when all is said and done, she’s just one of us. She has problems and worries just like the rest of us and she needs support as much as we do. And as we know we can turn to her when we need help, she knows she can always come to us. We have each other’s backs.
We’re like a glittery army, all working together to become stronger and more fabulous than ever before. We’re a family.
Are we bitchy? Sometimes. And of course, you can’t have that many women – complete with hormones – and not have the occasional moment of tension. But it’s usually forgotten by the next rehearsal once people have had time to chill.
Are we competitive? I certainly am. But that’s a good thing. These women are amazing and they are constantly raising the bar, forcing me to push harder and harder to be better and better. A bit of friendly competition never hurt anyone.
I’ve been in this situation before. I was once in a choir with 60 other amazing women, and again we all bonded together over our joint experiences and challenges. Once I left the group, I lost touch with all but a few of them, which sometimes makes me quite sad. It’s hard to think that people who can mean so much to you, can just drift away over time.
That just makes me more determined than ever to appreciate the fact that I have once again found myself surrounded by supportive, beautiful women who are determined to build each other up instead of tearing each other down. I know how fragile these relationships can be and how easily they can fall apart if they’re not constantly nurtured.
I’m going to be grateful for every minute I get to spend in their company, enjoy every second we dance together, soak up their wisdom and experience and generally embrace the feeling of being a part of something special. I’m going to thank my lucky stars that, for now at least, I am a Rockette.