For our Weekend Charter this week, we've chose the theme 'Dance'. When I agreed to it, I thought at first I was humouring my sister - I don't do much dancing this days outside my kitchen, not just because I don't go out so much but also because Turkish pop and I don't get on that well. I'm picky.
But then I remembered what we did last autumn. And there, I felt, is a story worth telling.
Look, Maman, there's this really fat zombie in the Michael Jackson video. If he can do the dance routine, so can you!
With this encouragement under my belt, I decide that Yes, my daughter and I are going to take part in the 2009 Thrill the World dance event. Our friend Jo is organising the Ankara event right here, on campus. She's sent out ads on facebook and pasted them all over the place. There's to be rehearsals, for four weeks beforehand, weekday evenings and a couple of hours on Saturday mornings. 'Im indoors is onboard with this. He'll take Max shopping Saturdays while we rehearse.
We've downloaded the teaching videos to practice at home too. We rehearse any moment we can. And there's a script we're supposed to repeat as we dance.
Shoulder step, nothing step,
shoulder step, shoulder step...
Swim together, swim jump
Booty bounce, booty bounce...
Shuffle back, hop hop forward...
Walk, walk, roar turn, roar turn...
Air guitar to the left...
Then we need to think about the costumes. I have to dress myself and my ten year old daughter up as zombies. With make up and all. In the end I decide to go as a zombie cook- after all, these days, I rarely dance outside my kitchen, and an apron is quite comfy to dance around in. I dress Charlotte up in a white polo shirt and black pleated skirt. Messed up pig tails and one of her daddy's ties. She's a school girl zombie.
I'm not doing this because I'm a huge Michael Jackson fan. Cause I'm not. It's not even that I never got to learn the routine when it came out and all my friends did. I'm over that. It just seems like a massively cool thing to be doing with my daughter. She's not got the dance lessons, with end of year show that I had as a child. Thank god for that, I suppose. It took up a lot of my time which I'd rather had spent reading, and I never did feel I was particularly good at it. The one thing I had going for me was impeccable timing. The dance teacher always put me at the front because I never missed a beat.
But because it's a one off, it's not formal, and we're doing it together, this is seriously enjoyable. Add to the mix that the actual show is in the middle of the night- what 10 year old would want to miss that? It's a charity event, and the idea is that people do it at the same time all over the world. So we're on at 3am...
We miss some rehearsals, of course: we can only make the Saturday ones. But we're learning. There's new people every week and Charlotte takes pride in dancing at the front to show them the steps.
On the night, one week after Halloween, Charlotte goes to sleep in her clothes. We've messed up the shirt with red paint. We tie her hair in pigtails, none too carefully. I prepare a bag of flour, some red and black face paint. Get my stuff together: an apron and a wooden spoon. I don't reckon I can dance with an actual kitchen knife.
At 2.30, we get out very quietly indeed. If Max wakes up, I'll have to stay. We call a cab outside and he drives us to the venue. The driver doesn't seem in the least bothered that I'm taking a school girl dressed in bloody clothes out in the middle of the night. Nor that I'm wearing a bloody apron and jungle hair.
When we get there, just outside the door, in the dark, I get the flour out, and put some on our faces. Then apply make up randomly. Good. We're ugly now.
There's a last minute rehearsal, then we wait on the phone for the organiser to tell Jo we should start. There's a count down, and the music starts.
At this point I'd put a link to the Youtube video of our show. Unfortunately, because of censorship, I can't access it! Oh, shame. You can't see me making a fool of myself. But Charlotte, right at the front, looks very cute indeed (cute zombie?). So maybe you can google it. Ooh, and check out what they did in Istanbul. That was impressive. In the meantime, here's a picture of the cutest school girl zombie:
© Steven Bartus