It was a dark and rainy night for the Nikkei Centre rehearsal Friday March 1st. It was the second day of a torrential rainstorm and huge amounts of rain was falling on the city. Buses were late, cyclists were soaked, but fifteen of us made it to rehearsal.
When I arrived to the class, I had only learned the routine up to Part One of the video “Shabop” by Shiamak, so I was curious to see if I’d be able to learn the whole routine in under 1 hour. And yes, I did.
I actually found the routine for “Shabop” easier to learn than last year’s “Zoobie Doobie” (Shabop is still challenging, don’t get me wrong, but a bit easier). My favorite moves are: “the wave”, pulsating the umbrella (opening and closing quickly) and the big finale as we all bring our umbrellas back to the centre and “pose”. A few more hours of practice with the video and I’ll be ready for the big performance of the World Umbrella Dance on April 13 at the Vancouver Art Gallery!
Last week, I rented a movie called “3 idiots”. The title seemed really familiar, but it’s only in the middle of the movie (at 1 hour 14 minutes to be precise), when the characters started to sing and dance to the “Zoobie Doobie” song that I realized it was the famous movie soundtrack that we had danced to during the Cherry Blossom Umbrella Dance in April 2012 .
The “Zoobie Doobie” sequence in the movie is really fun. The characters even use umbrellas at some point! This brought back good memories of my experience at the umbrella dance last year.
So, if you miss last year’s umbrella dance, you can do two things:
watch the movie and reminisce to the song of Zoobie Doobie (we had so much fun last year!)
I’ve always wanted to be in a flash mob, and last year, my dream came true thanks to the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival: I joined the 500 dancers who celebrated spring with the Umbrella Dance at the Vancouver Art Gallery on April 14, 2012. (Okay, perhaps it wasn’t a real flash mob because the date and time were set in advance, but nevertheless, it felt very much like a flash mob)
At first, I was really scared to register. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to learn the choreography and dance in public. I hesitated for days. Then finally, I decided to just register. A huge weight was lifted off my shoulder. Now, there was no turning back. I had no choice but to learn the dance routine and go through with this.
First, I started by listening to the music “Zoobie Doobie” over and over again to familiarize myself with the rythm and the change of tempo.
Then, one month before the rehearsal date, I started learning the dance routine with the Youtube videos. I was simply adding “learning the umbrella dance” to my regular exercise routine. After two sessions of 15 minutes every week, I was now familiar with the dance routine.
The day of the rehearsal, I discovered I had learn the dance “backwards”. I realized I wasn’t supposed to mirror the instructor’s moves on the Youtube videso (if he moved to the left of the screen, I moved to the left as well), but I was supposed to “pretend” I was the dancer (if he went to the left of the screen, meaning he would move to his right, I had to move to my right). But since I knew all the moves already, it was easy to adapt. Basically, in a dance choreography, you always start on the right side (then left).
Note: It’s possible to learn the dance routine in only 1 hour during rehearsal but if you have no dance experience (which was my case), learning the routine prior to rehearsal is a good idea.
The Big Day!
I went to the Vancouver Art Gallery early to pick up my umbrella (there was no early pick-up location that year). A crowd of excited dancers had already assembled, dressed in black pants and white shirt. There were three dance scheduled. I was assigned to dance with at the second group (perhaps I was offered the first block, I can’t remember, but I probably turned it down, because I wanted to see how the first dance would turn out.)
Prior to the Umbrella dance, Shiamak Davar dance group members were warming up the participants with great bollywood music and routine. It was so much fun. All my nervousness went away. Then, it was time for the Umbrella Dance. The familiar music started, with participants saying hello to each other (as per the dance routine), then we “striked a pose” and danced our heart out to the sound of Zoobie Doobie.
I wanna do it again!
What a great experience. It was so exhilarating! I can’t wait to do it again this year, so I signed up early and I carry my umbrella with me on every rainy day and tell all my friends and colleagues to join. Don’t miss this great event, buy your umbrella now and sign up for rehearsal. You won’t regret it.
It’s really great that we can pick up our umbrella early this year! You can bring your paypal receipt at any of these three locations to receive your umbrella: Urban Tea Merchant, VanDusen Garden shop or at rehearsal.
Urban Tea Merchant offers luxury teas and tea gifts from the finest harvests around the world. And if, like me, you like cherry blossoms so much that you are ready to eat and drink them, then you can buy Sakura! Sakura! tea, a fragrant tea made with cherry blossoms. If you like sweet tea, this will quickly become one of your favorites. Another great way to enjoy cherry blossom season!
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is delighted to tell you first that we’re bringing back the Umbrella Dance 2013 with the awesome Shiamak Vancouver Dance Team. The new limited edition PoP Art umbrellas, designed by notable local artist, Anthony Redpath are already here and ready to bring some cherry cheer to this weather.
Visit www.vcbf.ca/events/world-umbrella-dance to pre-order your umbrellas and sign up for the World Umbrella Dance rehearsals. This is a special offer only for this month to pick up the 2013 umbrella for Christmas.
Share this beautiful public dance performance experience and the World Umbrella Dance program rehearsal series with some of the fun loving people on your Christmas Shopping List – or buy the umbrella separately and pick them up at the easily accessible VanDusen Garden Shop weekdays only 10am to 3pm – free 15 minute parking at the roundabout entrance off Oak street.
The 2013 Umbrella Dance will take place Saturday April 13, 2013 on the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza to Shiamak’s new release, “Shabop” with live taiko drumming! Sign up for rehearsals starting February 26 and meet a world of new friends while getting your workout !
Wishing you a Very Merry Cherry Christmas and thanks for your support!