HAPPY

I hadn’t really looked at my phone last Monday. I was content to be with the people I was with. When I finally did look at it, I had several missed calls and texts from my student, Lana. She texted, “I am trying to get in touch with you. As soon as you get this message, contact me. It’s very important!”   …okay.

She said they were making a dance video the next morning and wanted me to be in it. I am NOT one to turn down an invitation to be in a dance video. I told her I was visiting a friend in the village, but I would do my best.

Next day, I arrive back in Ozurgeti and Lana tells me to come to the park in front of the theatre. When I arrive to the spot, I notice a computer next to a huge speaker with an extension cord sprawling away into a shop across the street. I don’t see any kids (or anyone, for that matter) around. When I get to the speaker, I notice a gang of people walking towards me from all directions. Boys and girls all dressed ‘hipster Georgian’. I immediately feel out of place as I was wearing a thrift shop mix of Adidas shorts and a batman t-shirt. Whatever.

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We mill around for a while. I am confused as to what I should be doing. I think they were collectively getting artistic inspiration. I was told that I would be dancing alone, but could do whatever I wanted. But first they were going to do their part.

They had the cutest choreographed dance!!! We danced to the song, Happy, by Pharrell Williams.

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They videotaped it three more times for editing purposes. Then everyone (most people) left and the videographer took down the speaker. I was again confused. I simply followed the choreographer, Marika, back to the theater. She apparently just needed a cigarette break. She had gathered with her crew of young ,seemingly single, females. They hid behind one of the giant pillars in front of the theatre. This was a cultural thing. Women who smoke are frowned upon in Georgia, so the ones that do smoke tend to hide their activities from the watchful eye of the public. Girls who smoke are seen as ‘loose’. I guess she didn’t mind if I knew, figuring that I was not Georgian or American and knew those social mores didn’t apply with me.

Once they were finished, we walked to another area of the park where the videographer was setting up again. This area was to be my stage.

The music started. Action!

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I love dancing, but dancing to a fast paced song without stopping is a daunting, exhausting task. Surely I used to, I think. They wanted to do it all in one take. I couldn’t think of enough dance moves to fill the space without repeating or think of dances that fit the tempo. By the end I was spent. I’m getting too old for this.

Then they wanted me to do it again in another place! Thankfully they let me rest. In the mean time, they taped a little girl doing a solo dance, too. She was soooo cute!!! And mort importantly, she had the right idea; short, concise, manageable movements. I was going all out, whereas she was in her lane. Kept it simple. Noted.

So it was my turn again, I threw in some ‘robot’, ‘grocery store’, ‘sprinkler’, etc. I still was winded by the time the song was over. but they were happy. Mission Accomplished.

Note to self for future. No more dancing to entire songs for me. I am resorting to music video dancing, which is to get down for short bursts of a dance, then stop for others to be seen or have a turn. It’s all about conserving the energy.

***

One more thing…

This year there were a LOT of programs at the school. I don’t know why I didn’t put one and one together that they were all choreographed by our dance teacher, Marika. She is so talented!

Marika, the Choreographer

Marika, the Choreographer

She came up with all the single class dances for their programs and all the dances for the senior banquet and programs. I appreciate that she CAN dance, and we dance well together. I think she has been used to ‘leading’ for so long now, that its awkward for her to be led in a particular dance.

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Anyway, cheers to her and her bringing the art of dance to the kids! This is a picture of me with Marika and her crew (and her daughter, in green).

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***

“Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do”

Pharrell Williams, Happy

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