Brazilian Diary - Friday 4th June 2010

Friday morning broke warm & sunny and once again we gathered at our outdoor table for breakfast.

In addition to keeping ourselves properly fortified we needed to discuss the evening's set. The original plan for the festival had us not playing on Friday as it was reserved for a session of meditation dances but the organisers now seemed keen to have us provide some live music. We'd been asked to play for an hour (the same as for the previous two nights) so we went through our repertoire and came up with a selection of quieter and more introspective pieces that would, we thought, fit in nicely with the evening's vision.

There was going to be a seminar in the workshop space near to our 'breakfast corner' rehearsal spot so we'd been (politely) asked if we could find somewhere else to play - far enough away so the sound wouldn't carry and distract the participants. After a quick scout around we decided that the pool/fitness centre building would act as an effective sound barrier so we set up camp on the other side of it - by the outdoor pool. With our paraphernalia spread around on the loungers we went through the set while catching a few rays and entertaining the passers by.

Preparing for my second dance workshop was a strange experience. In my mind I'd already taught it but now I had to psych myself up to do it all again and to remember that these new participants hadn't heard what I'd said the day before. I'd decided to change the order around (after seeing how the previous day's participants had responded to the teaching) which helped keep things distinct but even so I found the question "Have I already said this?" popping up regularly in the back of my mind.

But before I could work through this new challenge I had a more immediate one - the dance space was locked and there was no 'official' person to be found. With five minutes to go I found Frances, my translator, who found someone to let us in, only to find that the sound system from yesterday had been removed. By now I was getting used to the Just In Time style of facilities management - I remained quite calm while the speaker was located & delivered and maintained my cool when I found there was no mains cable for it and another runner was dispatched. Eventually, and in the nick of time, everything was working and I could turn on the music and lead the first dance.

Or almost working. The sound was very strange so I had to declare a break after five minutes while I tried to work out what was going wrong. A Technical Expert was summoned and solved the dilemma (I had been given an incorrectly wired cable for my iPod and was only getting one side of the stereo) and we were soon up and running (or rather dancing) again.

Despite my apprehension about doing a re-run of the previous day's material the workshop went very well and turned out to be a little easier after all. I managed to stay fresh with the teaching, said many of the same things as before but in new and interesting ways (my translator may have had a different opinion), and with the advantage of 'hindsight' was able to bring the session to its conclusion right on schedule. I let the questions from the group lead my comments & observations which took them off into different areas than the day before, which kept me on my toes and helped me stay present and engaged with the participants. A good session.

A very unexpected Brazilian element was added by three parrots who were in cages outside the dance room - they joined in with a lot of the music (especially the bagpipes!) and caused great hilarity by wolf-whistling while I was teaching.

Once again I only had time for a quick wash before heading off for another sound check, but after all it was just going to be a quick review of yesterday's settings...