The Dressing Room Scavenger Hunt
India is a very different environment from every other place I have danced in, so little (and sometimes not so little) culture shocks surface frequently. To cope with this, one has to take things with humour, and consider it all like a game… For example, when it comes to the dressing rooms, it is often like a scavenger hunt 🙂 When I dance at clubs or restaurants, having a decent dressing room (or green room, as it is called here) is usually not a problem. However, events are a completely different story…
Step 1: find a green room.
People keep being surprised when I tell them that no, I will not do four costume changes in a public bathroom. Or, in the room in front of the public bathroom.
Step 2: find a green room with walls.
Sometimes the dressing rooms are more conceptual than actual. Flimsy fabric carelessly drawn around a metal scaffolding, flapping around in the wind (with an outdoor event). Once the green room did have walls, but no windows nor doors. However, it did have an opening in the wall facing directly the audience. 🙂
Step 3: find the loopholes.
My first instinct when entering a dressing room is to scan for security cameras. Most of the time the green rooms are open from the top, so there is also the risk of a wandering drone camera peeking in. Second scan is for peepholes. You would not believe how many times there are random men just standing outside the dressing room hoping to catch a “special show”. A colleague of mine even had a case when someone was trying to film her while she was changing
Step 4: secure your territory.
Sometimes the green room assigned is unisex, so you have to clear out the guys before each costume change… this can be quite an undertaking. If I am sharing it only with female dancers, their managers/coordinators/whoever tend to pop in without warning. And, of course, there are the random men running “accidentally” into your green room, even when it is yours alone. You can try to make sure the accompanying manager is keeping watch outside (a successful strategy depending on the attention span of the manager), or just make a big scandal every time it happens (the phrase “I will pack up and stop dancing” usually works wonders), or…
Step 5: … just learn to change your costumes in a way you are never uncovered 🙂