02 January 2015

My Husband Can Dance!

Angel came home over lunch break one day, and said, as he walked in the door, "Something bad happened at school today..."

I waited to hear what the bad news would be.

"A music teacher who I've never met before came into our office and started talking to me, but I couldn't understand her, and she didn't speak any English, but another teacher translated...and now I think I have to dance on stage..."


That's how it came about, that for the month of December I was a "stage wife," as Angel had near-daily dance practices as the performance approached. As time went on, we got a better and better picture of what exactly the performance that he'd been recruited for was all about.

Our school has a yearly performance competition, with a prize of 3,000 RMB for the winning team. Teams of teachers and students, representing different grade levels and student clubs, train for weeks in advance to prepare an elaborate show, which is performed on an outside stage in front of thousands of people. I believe that the performance is outdoors because our school does not have an auditorium anywhere near large enough to fit the entire student body (3,000) plus staff, teachers, and parents.

Angel's never really been the type who desires being in the spotlight on stage, but he rose to the challenge of learning a choreographed dance, together with a group of other men who were all Senior 2 (Junior year) teachers like Angel is. The music teacher/choreographer doesn't speak English, so I often acted as an intermediary, translating her texts to Angel about last-minute practices and other announcements. Angel, for his part, tried to be helpful by suggesting to the music teacher that I also perform in the show, and she said that all the other dances were already cast, but offered me a solo if I wanted it. I gracefully refused...husbands who try to volunteer you for solo performances are so thoughtful, aren't they?

Their costume, which is intended to suggest the look of a traditional Shang Hai gangster, consisted of a black suit, a white scarf, a black hat, round sunglasses, and an umbrella.

Angel was singled out to lip-sync the (English) rap part of the song, because they thought it was more believable for the foreigner to be rapping in English.

 (Hopefully you can recognize which one he is, I try to keep him in the center of my camera when possible.)

I'm so proud of him. Angel said that he would never, ever, ever do any such thing of this sort in America, but somehow, living in China, he's able to get over his stage fright and embarrassment, and just have fun dancing with a bunch of other men in their 30s and 40s.

If you ask me, I got the better deal, because I got to sit in the audience and watch all 19 of the performances, which inspired a range of emotional reactions. My favorite was the one which depicted a student to fell asleep in class, and met a number of historical and mythical figures of ancient Chinese lore (played by students in elaborate costumes), until the student was unceremoniously woken up and scolded by a non-too-pleased teacher. As a teacher who has woken up a sleeping student or two...I was highly amused. I would have voted for them to win it all, but the winner was chosen by a judging panel instead of popular vote.

It was quite a chilly night--about 55 degrees, and as a non-performer who sat in the audience throughout the 2 hour program, I was slightly frozen by the end of the evening.

If he wasn't a celebrity just by being foreign, Angel certainly is now--we were told that he is the first foreign teacher to ever perform in this yearly show at our school, and his performance is considered to be a big indication that we really are part of our school's community, not mere outsiders. He feels honored that he was given this opportunity, even if he was somewhat dismayed originally at the thought of performing!

So yeah, in 2014, something happened that I never, ever, ever thought would happen: I saw my husband perform in a dance on stage. I previously thought the closest I'd ever get would be giggling at the recording of this near-decade ago performance that occurred when I was but a child.


  1. Such a fun thing to be part of !!! <3

  2. He did brilliantly!! So good to hear you feel (and obviously have been/are) so accepted xxx Happy New Year!

  3. So fun! He did a great job, you wouldn't have known he had stage fright!

  4. He did a great job! I was highly impressed with his skills :)

  5. Ha ha ha ha ha! I laughed so hard reading this. I can imagine the conversation between the music teacher and Angel. She completely bamboozled him! She knew what she was doing, but I understand Angel's confusion. He did a great job performing, and that is a snazzy outfit. Ha ha, I'm still laughing!

  6. This is amazing! Yet another example of what diving into another culture can do for ( someone. It made me smile!

  7. Haha this is hilarious. Thankfully he only accidentally signed on to dance and not something worse!

  8. I'm so impressed! Angel is up for anything!


  9. I think that's awesome that he did that! How fun and how great you are considered part of the school community now!

  10. That is so awesome!!! Much to my (dance loving) chagrin, my husband doesn't dance either, though I truly wish he would. It's fantastic that Angel was able to put aside his usual feelings about dancing in public and bust out on stage in China. Proof positive of what you and I already know and love: that travel constantly broadens your horizons!

    With all my heart, I wish you both a truly fantastic New Year and beautiful 2015!
    ♥ Jessica

  11. That is awesome - I love that he showed his creative side and allowed himself to be vulnerable! And acceptance into a community hinges on just isn't the clothes you wear, or the language you speak, but the way you make people feel. If you put yourself out there and allow others to see who you truly are, you will often be rewarded tenfold. What an incredible accomplishment :)

  12. How fun! And what a great sport Angel is! It can be pretty liberating to be outside of your "home" and dabble into more daring activities than you would normally partake.

    Once, when my daughters were in tap/jazz, the annual recital had a father/daughter number. It was so great seeing all of the daddies on stage letting loose with their daughters --my husband included. He's a big ham though, so for us, it was just another day. Haha.

  13. soooo....who won? don't leave us hanging!!!! Also, your husband is amazing!

  14. Oh man, I have TERRIBLE stage fright and I could never do this, but it does look like a lot of fun! And the part with the sleeping student sounds really cool. That costume is hilarious though!!!

  15. Wow there's like a stage and lights and everything! That's so awesome! Have they announced the winner yet?

  16. How fun! I love how being on stage with a group of people who are just having run removes all of your inhibitions :)

    xo, Hima
    Hima Hearts

  17. This is so fun! I loved watching this video!
    Melanie @

  18. Angel can dance! Tell him he did very good and that he had more rhythm than the others! He stayed on beat and had more UMPH in his moves so kudos to him representing us Hispanics with pride lmao! :) It takes great courage and it's good that he was able to be included in that, it's good you two are integrating so well within your community - happy to hear how wonderful this experience is for you both! Can't wait to hear about more of your wonderful adventures in China this 2015! Take Care guys! -Iva

  19. So like a Chinese version of AirBand? :)

  20. That's so awesome that your husband was in the performance (and tried to throw you under the bus! ;P He just wanted to include you!). The dance looks great, and he did a great job with the fake rapping! :P

    Also, yay for that first song! My mom used to play it on karaoke and I think about 1.5 decades ago, I may have actually known how to sing at least part of it. [This has kinda sent me back on a Chinese music kick.]

    I love, love, love ancient Chinese clothing (e.g. Tang dynasty). <3 I kinda wish I had a costume, but there's absolutely no reason for me to ever have a reason to wear one, so, sigh!

  21. this is AMAZING! i am so glad you captured it on video too! look at his moves!

    also...yeah never okay to volunteer wives for solo dancing husband (ever!)