old dancers

Perfectly Scary

Every year I try to do something that scares me or challenges me.  One year it was the Avon Walk, two years ago I went back to school and became an EMT. I didn’t really do anything last year so with just days to spare I decided I would zip line through the Mayan Jungle while on vacation with my family.  Not sure which was scarier the zip line or spending the day with my family but either way it counts.  This year I am getting it out of the way immediately.  In just over a week I, DeAnne Spicer Todd, will heed the call of my many fans and return to the stage at the Los Angeles Opera.  I will be Marie Antoinette’s body to Patricia Racette’s Marie Antoinette head and voice in The Ghosts of Versailles. My friend Peggy is the choreographer and she presented the idea to me and two other old dancer best friends last year. She told us she had a gig to put together all the old gang for one last time at the opera and it was perfect for us because we had to wear bags over our heads.  I wasn’t even offended. Now before you say to yourself, “Well that makes sense now that you tell me you have a bag over your head but what about the fact that you haven’t danced in years and you no longer have a dancer’s body?”  The answer to that is I am wearing a big dress, it is more movement and “emoting” and I got the job because I was a perfect match for the singer.

Even when you are at the top of your game and in incredibly great shape, costume fittings are horrible – at least they were for me.  When I went in to the LA Opera costume shop for measurements last June I was fairly certain it would be the most humiliating moment of my life.  However,  I completely forgot at the opera you are treated like you matter, like you are an important artist.  To let the costume shop know I was there they announced over a loud speaker, “Miss Spicer is here for her fitting.”  I yelled, “Find the biggest measuring tape you have and meet me in Room One!”  During the fitting, I was told over and over I was perfect.  I was told so many times I was perfect I almost believed it.  It was kind of nice considering I never even feel close to perfect in my current job as wife and mother.  I was feeling so good about it didn’t even bother me when they were asking me questions to update my old information.

Opera- Is your bra size still 34B?

Me- No, it’s 36D.

Opera-Well, that is different.  Do you still weigh 115 pounds?

Me- I didn’t weigh 115 pound when I told you that 14 years ago

I have had two costume fittings since then and I have to say having the current Tony Award winning costume designer along with nine of her minions stare at you approvingly in a room with a spotlight on you is pretty damn cool.  Even with a bag over your head.

Now for the scary part.  Rehearsals start next week and I haven’t done this in a long time.  What if my hormonal memory problems make it so I can’t remember my choreography?  What if the other dancers make fun of me because I am so fat?  What if when I walk in the room the staff says, “Oh my God what happened to her? Quick put the bag over her head!”  What if the director fires me because he thinks I suck?  What if Patricia Racette hates me because she also thinks I suck and make her look bad? What if I am not perfect?

The saying is you can’t go back again or you can’t go back home again or something like that. Whatever the saying is I am facing my fears and doing it anyway.  How often are you offered a chance to step back into a world you loved not because of how you were then but because you are perfect right now?  I don’t really think I will suck and it will be fun to be with my friends creating art once more.  I will get to be  a dancer again for just a little while and then I will go back to my real life. Perfect.

DeAnne Todd
Read past posts at http://www.deannespicertodd.com