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26/11/2022 Christmas Light switch on, Penicuik.

Updated: Dec 10, 2022

Feeling accomplished to have finally organised the two donations-based flow groups I am starting, and had made and printed the posters for; when I shared these with my friends in a "look what I did !" post on my personal facebook page, a well loved community organiser in Penicuik (June Horn, who has done so much for the town and community!) left a comment saying: "Nell, would you be interested in providing some pre-Christmas light switch on?". It was a 100% yes from me. I'd found my confidence from the Halloween gig and realised after many years of depression and low self worth that the hobby I had put so many hours of practice and development into had now become a skill that could be used to benefit others and even make a living from; the switch on was an opportunity to do something for the community where I live, as well as showcase what is to become my trade (This performance was free, see Pricing Information for further details; whilst wanting to start a business, community working and concessions to make the benefits of flow arts available to everyone is at the heart of my mission).

Because there was such a massive music playlist, I was not able to create any choreography and had to use my improvisation skills for the entire gig. I only had a couple of weeks to prepare so for practice, I played an improvisation game called "Poi Roulette". This is where you set you're music app to shuffle every song on every playlist and whatever song comes on, you have to spin to. Its both fun and challenging because sometimes songs you wouldn't normally dance to come on like kids "time to clean you're teeth" songs, or some random "screamo" heavy metal that I think: "how on earth did that get on here?!" but poi roulette is poi roulette and whatever comes on you have to dance/spin to. This helps to build my capacity to adapt and adjust quickly to the requirements of any song and show and because of this I felt confident and comfortable to perform to a playlist I wasn't prepared for.

At first I danced with lights, it added an atmosphere, but there was very little crowd control so while it was appreciated, it didn't have a "show" atmosphere. When it was time for fire I considered the crowd control in terms of safety and asked for barriers to be put in place to eliminate the risk of people coming too close to the fire.

This was only my second gig but the crowd was huge. People clapped and cheered as I lit up and after that I was just looking at my flames and dancing. I made sure to turn and do all of my moves for every side of the crowd. Then it was time for the big flame snakes. Some people may have thought I had finished when I put my first poi out. To add drama, I turned to the crowd and shouted out to them: "do yous want to see a show with these?" holding up my snake poi with a grin on my face.

The crowd and kids all shouted out a massive "YES". I may have appeared to be confident engaging the crowd like this, but in some ways my chattiness and calling out to them was because I was nervous and wanted to feel more connected to the people which in this case absolutely worked in my favour. My favourite part of the show were the kids dramatic "scared in an excited way" screams that began as soon as I started doing tricks with the snakes. I hadn't expected that kind of excitement at all but was so happy that my performance was creating a big dramatic show for them. They were screaming throughout the performance too, definitely one of my highlights. I have a wee clip showcasing a snippet of the excitement which I shall share in my "Hows' she not catch a-light?" post to follow this one on the 12th December. My other favourite part was one of my daughters school peers telling her that "your mums amazing", I'm so happy to make her feel proud that I'm her mum, she knew how nervous I was before the show too so it would have been an interesting learning experience for her on many levels.

There were Carol singers, a silver band, a bagpipe band procession around the town, and of course Santa in his vintage sleighs....It was lots of fun.

"Same again next year" said the other organiser Gina Clark, another well loved person heavily involved with community working in Penicuik who has done so much....I was delighted! "Absolutely" I said.

A big shout out to the Penicuik storehouse who allowed me to leave my things there and gave me the perfect cup of tea that I absolutely needed afterwards. Also the Rotary club and volunteers who were shepherding the entire event and all the people entertaining, contributing and simply enjoying, it was such a gathered and warm crowd and made me love being part of the town I am living.

Spiritual reflection: If you know you're not ready to do something it does not mean you can't, but, have faith that when we invest time into the things we love to do, something we can't do "yet" will surely become something that we CAN do in the future. I am living proof of this. When you start to realise you "can" you need to accompany it by saying "yes" to people who ask, that's how that spiritual "coin" we are given multiplies....."coin" is a metaphor here, the multiplication of "goods" is not always needed to be considered as financial; when you have a "something" of yourself to share with others, no matter the size, when you share it with others it will multiply along with smiles and good Will....imagine that!

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