Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Turn Down for GUFS!

I'm on YouTube!! :)

*Scroll all the way to the end of the post if you just want the YouTube link* 

Those who know me best know that I am a very shy person... It takes me a while to open up and I only do so if/when I feel comfortable with them. I was never a performer of any kind~ I never took a dance class (even thought I really wish I had bc I love to dance) and I never liked to act. I have major stage fright, yet now I'm on YouTube. Insert super-surprised face! Here's why!

My school doesn't have talent shows often. In my 10 years working there, we've maybe had 3 that I can remember. They happen every few years or so, and only when there is some amazing volunteer willing to help coordinate the entire thing. I love going to talent shows and even though I don't have any talents to write home about, I always admire those who get up to share their talent and perform. My favorites are always dance routines. I love to dance. That doesn't mean I'm good at it, I just said I love to dance. I have ZERO rhythm. Again, never took a dance class as a kid (prob should have. Sports really were never my thing. I think I would have loved hip-hop and all those other kid dance classes). When Zumba came into my life 4 years ago, I fell in love immediately. I have no rhythm, but I CAN pick up moves and follow others. Coordinated dances were always my fav (Macarena, Cupid Shuffle, Cotton-Eyed Joe, Cha Cha Slide) because I didn't have to make up my own moves. The more I took Zumba, the more I loved it. I love music and I love dancing, and this was the best of both worlds. I dabbled in becoming a Zumba instructor, but the shy factor really didn't work for me. I would rather blend in with the crowd and have fun than be in the spotlight teaching solo. Nope.


Anyway, back to the talent show (now that you know my feelings on music/dance). In the last few years, I thought it would be cool if a group of teachers did a coordinated dance to a popular, upbeat song at the next talent show. Teachers at the neighboring school have done it quite a bit and I envied them for it. "How fun!! I want to do it!", I thought. Well, as soon as I heard we were having a talent show this year (back in July, because I happened to be coordinating our school calendar this year), I emailed all my coworkers and told them to save the date of 10/24 because I wanted to organize some sort of teacher dance. I didn't know what, but knew it had to be upbeat and popular. Go big or go home, this had to be something worth talking about. I wanted to earn some cool points with the kids and have a little fun. I was thrilled to get willing volunteers at school (Our staff seriously rocks, I love those people!! Thank goodness for fun coworkers!!) who were willing to have fun and make fools out of ourselves if necessary, AND give up a Friday night. In the end, we ended up with 9 of us total. More were interested but couldn't for all kinds of totally valid reasons (next time, for sure... Yes, there WILL be a next time!).

Then came the act... what in the world would we do? We threw around a few song ideas but nothing really seemed to feel just right, until one night I was surfing YouTube and looking at teacher talent show acts for ideas. I realized quite a few groups had done one version or another of the Evolution of Dance. If you don't know what this is, Google it, but basically a guy named Judson Laipply first created this back in 2001, where he mixed together parts of 12 popular dance songs in chronological order and danced to each one. It was both genius and hysterical, and obviously has evolved in the past 13 years. There are a zillion different versions out there and after seeing positive crowd reactions to them all on the internet, it was like a lightbulb went off... this was our answer! I absolutely wanted this to be our act, one way or another.

I started sharing the idea with the interested group and got some mixed reactions at first. It was overwhelming and scary to some but also was exciting and fun to others. Knowing it was really just for fun and totally on a volunteer basis was my basis for defending myself.  I wasn't forcing anyone to do it, but this was my idea and this is what I wanted to do in the end. I was all in and there was no changing my mind once I knew this was the answer. Thankfully, the group stuck with me!! It was certainly hard convincing them it would be worth it, it would be FUN, and that the kids would love it, but I'm glad I somehow convinced 8 people to get on board. (THANK YOU!!!) :)

Now here comes a big shout out to my coworker, Kim. Even if she never reads this, I owe a big part of the success of the act to her. I had the initial idea, but I had no idea where to go with it and don't have dance experience or expertise. Kim does. She comes with years of dance and cheer experience, and was just as enthusiastic about the idea as I was... Thank Goodness!! :) :) There were moments I wanted to back out and was like "Why did I bother?" when little things were stressing me out, but Kim's equal enthusiasm and positive energy kept me going. We met for hours before introducing it to the group. We watched different versions of the dance, listened to different songs, came up with our own list and the order they would go in, and choreographed what we would do for each song.

And now a big shout out to SCOTT, too!! He put ALL of the music together for us. He collected all of the songs, put them in order, and cut them into short segments to the exact parts I wanted. We only used about 10-15 seconds of each song and I wanted it to be specific parts. It was nothing short of a tedious job. Thank you, hun!!! *He also recorded the live show AND uploaded to YouTube for us. :)

The final product:
27 songs... 5 minutes and 55 seconds. Our own version in the end.

Yes I said 27 songs. 27 songs with specific dances for each song. Some were no-brainers (The Macarena... The Chicken Dance... etc). Others we had to rack our brains for, search dance videos for, and come up with something that worked. Then came lots of practice, practice and more practice, then we had to convince the group that it would be fine (when they stared wide-eyed or laughed at us!). "It'll be fine! Just do whatever! The kids will love it!" Ha! :) We set aside about 4-5 practices after school to whoever could make it. We tried the best we could and promised that however it turned out, it would be great. Each practice, everyone got it more and more, and in all honesty, it came together really quickly and easily. I was so proud of everyone involved for jumping right in and catching on!

Did I mention this was also a SURPRISE act in the show??!! We were in the program simply as a Surprise act by the Teachers... oh boy!!! Suspense building...

Finally, the night of the show arrived. Butterflies were fluttering in my stomach and nerves were setting in big time... What was I thinking?! What if there was a glitch in the music? What if the songs were out of order? They were downloaded onto an iPod for the performance and there was no way of checking since the songs were numbered but not labeled. Our only backup was my $20 CD player that skipped every time we practiced. PLEASSSSE let this work, I thought!

Needless to say, if you watch the video... it was a HUGE hit!! The only glitch was that the music started before the curtain opened (TWICE!!!.... But, hey, I'll take it!). Once we got going, adrenaline kicked in and we fed off the energy from the crowd. It was the best run we had done, the crowd LOVED it, and it was so much fun. The lights were incredibly blinding, my mouth was desert-dry, and I couldn't stop laughing!! ALL I could see was a few kids in the front row laughing hysterically that their teachers were on stage dancing. As the routine went on and songs started to become more and more popular, the crowd got more energetic and responsive. By the end, the kids were singing along to the newer songs we threw in, and we were all having a blast.

The crowd reaction at the end was priceless. My goal was that we would hit the entire crowd somewhere along the line, whether it be older songs or newer songs. We did just that, and more. Kids were screaming with glee. Parents were cheering. We got SO many compliments afterwards that it was incredible. A mom told me that she loved every second and wanted so badly to jump up on stage with us. We heard that the entire crowd of middle school kids jumped off the bleachers to get a better view. We even had a standing ovation from the entire crowd! It was an incredibly fun experience and we really impressed and shocked a lot of people. It was all in the name of fun and it exceeded all of my intentions. It put us out there as a fun group of teachers, which we are. I've always known this, and  now others do too.

Our last song was Turn Down for What, and we ended by shouting "Turn down for GUFS!!" (GUFS is the acronym for my school's name.)

Without further adieu, because that's my style to go on and on and on... Here it is. Our own version of the Evolution of Dance~ 2014.

Garrison Teachers Rock!! :)
*P.S... There's a video on YouTube called "Garrison Teachers Rock". It's the same routine, but videoed from the pov of one of the 2nd grade boys. You can hear the kids giggling and screaming the whole time and at one point saying "I can't stop laughing... I can't stop laughing!". This is one reason I love my job. Our one short act, all 6 mins worth, was so appreciated by so many. Mission accomplished!!

Click the link below! 

Garrison Teachers Evolution of Dance~ 2014

I initially embedded the video... But for fun, I want to see how many views we can get. Embedding takes away all the fun in that, so just click on the link or search it! :)





1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness!!!! This was amazing!!!! Great job!

    ReplyDelete