Well, needless to say, I was thrilled when my friend, Christine, told me she was going to join a Yosakoi team this year and asked me if I wanted to join, too. I quickly said "yes," even though I have absolutely no dance experience (middle school dance line doesn't count) and no rhythm. I just thought it would be something fun to do before I left and I knew Chris would be gone, so it would give me something to do. The Yosakoi team that we are on has about 10 Americans on it, so they refer to our group as "Team America."
I quickly found out after the first practice that this was a big deal and this team is in it to win it! They are not messing around! We started practicing at the end of June. At first we just practiced every Tuesday and Friday night... now we practice three times a week and sometimes on the weekend. I told you they are serious! Even though it is extremely stressful, it is still super fun and quite a great experience. Try not being a dancer, and learning to do the routine while the instructor and everyone around you is speaking Japanese. Sometimes I just stand there and laugh because I have no idea what is going on!
We are responsible for learning three dances and for our costume. Even though the majority of the costume was sewn for us, we have to add the snaps, velcro, hems and attach the props. We have literally spent hours on this costume. I had to laugh at my first costume fitting when one of the ladies who was measuring me said, "Ohhh, you are long (referring to my height)." Recently, I found out that I joined the team that loves to have costume changes... the more the better, apparently!
|Saturday afternoon costume fitting and sewing|
|Late night sewing... its about midnight in this picture so we were a little delirious.|
Let me explain the costume to you... we wear all of it the entire time, and at certain points in the dance we rip a layer off or pull out one of our many props that are either in pockets or attached to us. This is how we start the dance... This is a three layered cape that looks like it is attached by a pulley system underneath us and the layers have velcro in the front.
The layers open to reveal a face. When we took this picture, the face wasn't added yet, but since then has two big eyes and a red mouth added to the peach fabric. (Our team is also known as being pretty silly). The black part is supposed to be the hair.
After the tomato dance, we loosen the top part of the neck and pull the red part down to reveal our next costume...
We aren't done yet... remember the pockets and props I told you about? Well, towards the end of this dance (which is the last dance), our wings make the big reveal! They are attached to us on a belt and they stay in the pockets of the red thing the entire time.
And that's it! Exciting, huh?!?! Our competition is October 19, 20 and 21st. It will be a crazy weekend, but fun, too, I'm sure! I'll be sure to do a blog about it... my Japanese student, Yasuko, told me it is her "duty" to come a take pictures for me since Chris isn't here. She's so sweet! I really am looking forward to it, but I'm hoping that I don't mess up too much and cause our team not to place. That wouldn't be good at all!