There are some things you do in life that, when you tell other people about it, they’re all, “Awesome. I’d like to do that, too.”
“I’d like to take a class on cake decorating.”
Other activities require a bit more explanation.
Like when you say, “I joined a Chorus Girl project.”
“A group of girls who sing and dance to a routine from the 1920s.”
Even by New Orleans standards, people found my new extracurricular activity odd.
(I had to go into a longer explanation.)
“See, every week for a month, 15 of us have been learning this song and dance from the movie “Singing in the Rain” and we’re going to perform it.”
Which is EXACTLY what happened on Aug. 4, 2012: my debut as a Chorus Girl:
The best part was looking adorable.
Yes, adorable. It was the number one motivating factor throughout the whole experience.
During the weekly 2-hour practices, every time we’d feel awkward or frustrated by a particular move, (or, as I like to say, “LOOKING LIKE A MOOSE”), the instructor would say, “Don’t worry about it. Ya’ll are going to look so adorable that people aren’t going to know what to do with themselves.”
I believed her. And it made me feel better.
Because who doesn’t want to WOW people with their adorable-ness??
(This is why men aren’t allowed to be part of the Chorus Girl project. Red lipstick on them wouldn’t have the same effect.)
The promise of looking super cute was what got me through practices where it seemed impossible to get all the steps right. (The attitude rubbed off on my attire, too. I started my first practice in Puma sneakers; the last practice I wore purple velvet pumps.)
On the eve of our performance, white fringe dresses were purchased. Glittery headpieces were assembled. Makeup sessions were arranged.
It really was the most adorable I’ve ever felt in my adult life.
But then something terrible happened.
At the height of my Chorus Girl career, right before our peak performance, I got dumped.
It wasn’t anyone serious, but it was a massive blow to my self-confidence. And confidence, I have learned, is what you need in order to perform in front of a crowd.
I miserably put on my nude fishnets.
“WAAAAAAAAAAAH!” I wailed dramatically to my twin sister, Joy, on the phone, 800 miles away. “The LAST thing I want to do right now is go out in front of everyone and be… adorable!”
I would have cried actual tears, but I didn’t want to ruin my heavy eye makeup.
I had a grey cloud over my head all the way to the venue.
But then I saw them: My fellow adorabelles in their outfits and hair and makeup all gathered outside the bar. I was instantly cheered up, because, as I kept reminding myself: This is how I look, too. ADORABLE.
And we all had put 8 hours of our time into this routine. We cancelled plans and re-arranged things to all be at The Maison every Wednesday night, committed to this. I was about to have it rained on.
But once I slipped into the mix, the grey cloud dissipated.
We were a glittery gaggle and every single person that saw us smiled big. Bartenders served us first. Perfect strangers told us how great we looked.
And then, a photographer in the group announced that we were doing a photo shoot outside against the brick building and I can’t even count how many people gawked at our awesomeness while we posed.
“Adorabelles gone bad.”
When it was our turn to perform, I was pumped with adrenaline and built-up aggression from my shitty day.
I was jittery. The bar was packed.
Once the music came on, and we all ran out to the stage, something came over me. I danced more confidently than I’ve ever danced before. I sang louder than I ever have in public. The crowd absolutely loved us.
We weren't like anything anyone had seen before. No one dances like they did in the 1920s. There was no booty shaking, there were no moves from Wii Dance. Nobody dropped it like it (was) hot.
We plowed through that bar like a streak of sunshine, white flapper dresses and red lips, GENE KELLY-ing everyone’s faces off.
I couldn’t even see the crowd with all the camera flashes pointed at us.
And, in what I had previously thought impossible just an hour before, I. Couldn’t. Stop. Smiling.
Having people clap and cheer for you after a performance is a high you can’t top. And nothing else mattered at that moment except for how proud I was of myself.
And proud of my fellow dancers, and the choreographers who made it happen.
I will forever remember the Chorus Girl Project for lighting that fire of confidence within me, and in a pinch. It saved my day.
And now I have a new outlook: Gray cloud?
SING IN THE RAIN about it.
But really though.
I had an adora-ball.