Wednesday, October 27

These Hips Don't Lie

I love dance, possibly even more than singing. Since I can't dance (never been clubbing, innit?) this usually means watching others do it, but it's always something I wished I had the ability to do myself (and I bet I would have if I was a girl). I'd also love to have a dance floor at any wedding I might eventually have, but that of course depends on other factors. But like with most extra-curricular things like these it's a bit too much for a guy like me to learn just for the sake of it - I would need a legitimate excuse at least. You know, like a reality show Bollywood Star (don't worry, I crashed and burned).

So when a friend asked me around two weeks ago to join him in performing something for his sister's mehndi, I pretty much jumped at the chance. I wouldn't know anyone there so if it all went badly wrong it wouldn't harm my street cred that much.

Of course me being me, what should have been a bit of fun became a bit of a project, involving research, planning and even a spreadsheet. The general formula went something like this:

  1. Pick some music, hopefully tracks with some obvious choreography.
  2. Arrange the music by cutting, shifting and joining all the tracks into one.
  3. Analyse the final track by marking each section into packets.
  4. Go through each packet and choose what move to fill it with.
This all took a couple of days, after which it was just a matter of practising what we had decided on. Since we now had it all written down, we didn't even need to be in the same place at the same time.

With regard to practising, 90% of it was just going over it again and again. We must have done the routine at least 30 times. In terms of other tips, as usual it's the obvious ones which hold true - recording ourselves and playing back to see how we looked (a mirror would have been even better for immediate feedback), while we were amazed at how pumping up the volume pumped us up too.

Audacity on the PC was used to cut and edit the tracks, but it was also handy to A-B (or loops sections of) the music. We also had fun practising at slower (to give us time to recall what we were doing) and faster speeds (to test that we knew what we were doing), but that was really just to mix it up a bit.

As expected I became a bit obsessed with it all. The cut track was all I was listening to over the past couple of weeks (my playcount indicates I played it back around 80 times). I also found that it was difficult to just listen to the music, and so fellow commuters must have thought I was pretty crazy bopping my head and smiling to myself as I went through the moves in my mind.

With respect to the final performance, rehearsals were by far technically better. We each made so many mistakes, but I'm guessing (hoping) only we really noticed the major ones. Aside from that, the whole experience was very different to that we had when we practised; the energy was different as was how much we enjoyed the whole thing. To be honest I kinda blacked out for most of it; the music did actually take over.

The guests seemed to have enjoyed it too (although I'm still not sure if they were laughing with us or at us), and we seemed to have increased our popularity slightly with the chicks. Although when I say chicks, I mean the auntie jees. Whatever the case, in terms of entertainment it seemed to have been a success, especially seeing as a planned response from the girls was pulled after they saw ours. Whether this was due to them realising the potential embarrassment for themselves or that they were scared of being outdone by a couple of boys I don't know (I suspect the former).

The only thing left to do now is for me to pass on my gratitude to those concerned, since we did get quite a bit of help. First up comes Ish for actually asking me in the first place. Then there's Asma for the initial tips and pointers (basically who on YouTube to rip off), Ash Kabir (for allowing us to actually rip him off - click here to see how it should be done). Oh and a big thanks to my parents for putting up with the noise and boy smell during practice, and for the support on the day (I like to think they were proud as they recorded us doing our thing); I guess I really am the daughter they didn't have.

Of course there is a YouTube video, but it's unlisted at the moment as we gather the courage to, well, pretty much socially destroy ourselves on the Internet (I'm not quite sure how this affects my value on the marriage market). It will probably become public at some point as we get over ourselves (at which point I'll also update this post), but I'm sure those interested in viewing it would have by then. Perhaps I'll stage some kind of PR leak.

Overall though I had lots of fun both during practise and on the night itself. I still wish I could dance properly... but in the meantime at least I know I'm willing to give it a good shot. If only there was somewhere I could go, maybe with friends, I dunno, where they play loud music just so we can dance?

EDIT: I've disabled comments for now - please direct any feedback to the YouTube page itself.

1 comment:

  1. so that's what it was. I could never do it. would be too nervous