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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bumblebee's Debut

On September 30 and October 1, Bumblebee and I performed in Montage Theatre of Dance's Fall Dance Concert, celebrating 10 years of dance at Hinds Community College. It was my first performance since giving birth to Bumblebee on June 16. It's been almost a year since I've danced, and I was excited and nervous about this performance. One thing I was grateful for was I only performed in four pieces. Bumblebee made her d├ębut at 3 1/2 months as Baby Simba in "The Circle of Life".



We had been rehearsing since mid-August for this performance. Which I know doesn't seem like a long time, but that's how we do things in Montage. Montage stages four performances every school year, as well as several performing opportunities in the local area. We are Mississippi's only multi-disciplinary dance company. Montage incorporates ballet, modern, jazz, tap, hip-hop, African, and many other genres of dance into our entertaining dance concerts. This particular Fall Dance Concert celebrated 10 years of dance at Hinds Community College. We restaged many of our classic Montage repertoire pieces, as well as several new pieces. I, myself, only danced in four pieces, of which I am thankful. Since being pregnant and giving birth, I have felt very out-of-shape and "raggedy". After giving birth in June, I was excited to get back into dance and performing, However, as the rehearsals went on, I realized I have a long way to go before I'm back in "fighting" form.

Bumblebee was cast as Baby Simba in "The Circle of Life". Back in February, Montage staged an entirely new show, The Dance of the Lion King. And, yes, I participated at six months pregnant. I portrayed Sirabi, Simba's mom. I was fun to take on a role that was more acting and character, especially since I was pregnant and couldn't dance a whole lot. Anyway, as part of celebrating 10 years of dance at Hinds, our director, Tiffany, decided to perform "The Circle of Life", the opening number of "The Dance of the Lion King", and use it to open the Fall Dance Concert. As part of the piece, Baby Simba is presented to the animals of the kingdom by Mufasa, Sirabi and Rafiki. Back in February, we used another dancers baby boy as Simba. However, since he is now over a year old, Tiffany made the decision to use Bumblebee as Baby Simba.

 


Bumblebee did beautifully in rehearsals. She never once cried when Rafiki, portrayed by Ms Chiquila, held her up and maneuvered her around. In fact, several times, she slept through the whole process! On the night of the first performance, I got myself ready, and then got Bumblebee ready. I had her dressed in a white onesie, and then wrapped her in some African print fabric, provided by Ms Chiquila (who is the BOMB when it comes to African). Now, Bumblebee likes to kick her legs. Keep this in mind... So, I had her all wrapped up, and we were awaiting our entrance at the end of the piece, when she started kicking her legs! Bumblebee loves music and "dances" every chance she gets. Therefore, she was kicking along to the music. I tried my hardest to keep her wrapped up in her costume. Time came for us to go on stage, and the fabric had come loose from its wrapping. When Ms Chiquila picked her up to present Simba to the congregation of animals, the fabric came loose, and there was Bumblebee in her white onesie and grey ballet shoe socks! I was mortified, but didn't show it on my face. I just kept smiling and acting as Sirabi. Ms Chiquila just rolled with the wardrobe malfunction. She was brilliant. Thankfully, Bumblebee was in a happy mood and just looked around. She did beautifully despite the wardrobe malfunction. Luckily no one in the audience noticed. They were too busy being amazed we were using a live baby! Haha!

On the second night of the concert, I once again got myself ready, and then got Bumblebee ready. This time as we were awaiting our entrance, I was rocking Bumblebee from side-to-side. As our entrance drew near, I looked down to check on her, and noticed she was asleep. I gently walked into the wing for our entrance. I walked out onto stage, sure she would wake up when the stage lights hit her face, but I was wrong, Bumblebee slept on. Although I continued to stay in character, I was nervous she would wake up during the performance as Ms Chiquila maneuvered her around. Again, I was wrong! Little Miss Bumblebee slept through the entire piece. She even stayed asleep as I removed her costume and handed her off to my parents to keep during the rest of the performance. My dad later told me she slept through the entire first act. Waking during intermission when the house lights came up. My mom, Memaw, was holding her after intermission, and told me Bumblebee enjoyed the tap pieces the most. Bumblebee sat on Memaw's lap and kicked her legs during the two tap numbers. I believe I have a little dancer in the making.