(*as in thoughts from my diary, not WOW’s final final thoughts. You didn’t think I would go that easily, did you?)
So Mark and I are in the Final.
To think I wasn’t even in the ‘contest’ initially. And then to be paired with Mark, who, from what I can gather, received some scathingly Judgemental comments about his performances in Strictly. And I am 20 years older than any of the other contestants. Well, on those facts alone we were the rank outsiders at the beginning.
But I remember the turning point so clearly that hot day, just weeks ago, in the hottest dance studio when Brian and I were dancing so fluidly and then Mark and I did and Brian whispers to both of us, "You know guys, this was possibly only a one or two horse race, I think all that’s changed now."
And then he shouts (Bronx style): "I am pumped!"
It wasn’t only Mark and I connecting on a friendship level immediately, that helped. I think it was the laughs we had on that day that, to me, turned the whole difficult process around.I had underestimated the brain strain of taking so much instruction in, using a ‘different’ language – the language of dance, plus getting my body to move in new ways. (Although this latter part does come more easily to me – nothing could be as difficult as learning to walk again on prosthetics. It took me 6 months – and walking up and down in parallel bars with my walkman on, pacing up and down up and down like a caged lioness, until I had got it right. )
There are also the added pressures of having the cameras around, and being almost permanently miked up for sound – although it is true, you do forget about them (the equipment, not the people behind them), but the unreal world is very real when it comes to pressure. The stress upon Brian, (choreographing 6 dances for 6 different, very different couples, the demands of the production etc) is extreme.
Brian’s stress was palpable on that day vibrating in every one of his movements, and frequently in his voice.
We were working hard and I could feel the stress in Brian’s body but it was Mark, as I recollect, who cracked a few of his subtle jokes, then I did, then Mark (it was stifling in the room) suddenly took his top off and attempted our opening tango move. I laughed so much could hardly get my words out. ‘I …am ..not.. I cannot.. dance with you like that. It's like dancing with a freaking ..a ..an upmarket Chippendale..’
And does, and so does the humour. Most of which is unprintable. (And certainly not viewable. One infamous moment came last week when Brian yelled something at me and even Neil ‘Rubi’ Rubes put the camera down, his mouth hanging open in shock. Even I was speechless.)
I do have fears (about this final week). And there’s bound to be tears. As long as there’s smiles and laughter as well.
Bring It On.