“In ev’ry job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap! The job’s a game.” – Mary Poppins/A Spoonful of Sugar
Wind gusts of 30 miles per hour. A forecast of freezing rain. The fleeting image of the Marva Maid truck running Costumed Mama off the road.
These thoughts would have any Liberty Waver shaking in her sandals and shackles, however there is one fear – one heart stopping, adrenaline pumping, trauma-inducing scenario that tops them all. Forgetting her music player at home.
I can’t tell you how many times my heart has skipped a beat, my stomach has twisted into knots and I’ve held my breath as I frantically searched my bag thinking that I had somehow left my iPod behind.
If you didn’t hear the blood-curdling scream from Battlefield Boulevard, then maybe you heard the huge sigh of relief when my fingers discovered those glorious, lifesaving ear buds entwined within the pom poms and ribbons at the bottom of my tote bag. It’s happened more than once. I’d tug at the tangled cord and reel in the line to find my sleek shimmering prize at the end.
There are two critical things you must have to make it as a professional waver: Comfortable shoes and music. I suppose you also need a hand, so make that three critical things.
With my iPod nano I hold a world of musical inspiration in the palm of my hand as well as an invitation for Grammy award winners, Broadway stars and country music singers to join me on the streets. They motivate me to shimmy, spin, jump and rock those honk-worthy dance moves.
Music makes a world of difference. I don’t think I could do the job without it. I don’t want to try. My customized playlists provide a number of Lady Liberty soundtracks. What I choose depends on my mood, energy level or type of performance.
There’s the Liberty Sing and Dance playlist which is a compilation of all my favorite fun, sing-a-long, dance-inducing music including Gaga, Bruno, Pink, the Peas, Macklemore, Usher, Pitbull and Pharrell to name a few. It’s a pretty eclectic mix. One moment I’m a Dancing Queen with Abba, the next I’m shaking my pom poms with Ricky Martin. I follow that with some Magic with my assistant B.O.B. and wrap things up by burning up the dance floor with Sean Kingston. Can someone call 9-1-1? I love my 80s pop so I’ve got a fair share of Madonna, Culture Club and Michael Jackson. My ladies, Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Beyoncé join in the fun too.
Oh, and you might be surprised how inspiring Taylor, Justin, the boys of One Direction and Hannah Montana can be on a chilly morning. That’s right. I Party in the USA! I’m not afraid to put my hands up when they’re playing my song. You know what I’m talking about. When the butterflies fly away I’m noddin’ my head like yeah… movin’ my hips like yeah.
As if I haven’t embarrassed myself enough on the street and on the Internet, I have now admitted to having the musical taste of a teeny bopper. Don’t hate. Four hours on the streets might make you a Belieber too! (Never say never)
My Liberty Showtunes is a fabulous playlist for slowing it down but still providing incredible inspiration with fun and dramatic lyrics. I have a great time dancing to these songs because they tell stories and I can be very expressive. I realize that by listening through headphones I’m in my own private world. Because nobody on the street hears my music I imagine I look like a complete fool, but I’m getting the job done and I’m keeping it fun. I’m just glad this dance studio doesn’t have any mirrors because if I saw how crazy I looked, I would stop. For now, I live with an illusion that I’m Interpreting and performing these songs like a Broadway diva or chorus line dancer. It’s awesome. Look for me at the Tony Awards in June. I’ve pranced down the entire stretch of sidewalk dancing in the rain with an umbrella. I’ve kick stepped and given them the old razzle-dazzle with Shine from Billy Elliot. Some other favorites that put an extra spring in my step are Chu-Chi Face, I am What I Am, Let’s Go Fly a Kite, and That’s How You Know.
My Liberty Country playlist invites such artists as Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood and Jason Aldean to help me carry the torch. Some old timers join in too like John Denver, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Charlie Daniels. Their music changes things up and provides a break from the high-energy tunes. Several of them still get me grooving but others are just nice to listen to when I’m walking and waving. Hula hooping too! Some of my favorites are Redneck Woman, Good Girl, New Favorite Memory, Remind Me, My Eyes, Drunk on You, Love her Like She’s Leavin’ … Okay, too many to list. Country music is very romantic!
I should add that I am not a good dancer. I know it. I don’t let that stop me from giving it all I’ve got. I think of it as an opportunity to practice. I put myself in the mindset that I really am a great dancer. In other words – I have fun.
This job has allowed me to let it all hang out, experiment and put a smile on people’s faces. In some cases it turns into a big laugh. I like to watch the audience for reactions. Mostly it’s waving back, honking horns and the occasional shout out. A few dance in their cars or out their windows, but I think this is mostly to make fun of me. That’s okay too.
I especially like to play with people. On the days when it’s very cold, windy or rainy I imagine the drivers think it ridiculous for me to be out in the miserable weather, and that’s when I put on my biggest smile, muster up as much energy as I can and act like I am so excited to be doing what I’m doing. The show gets really good then. My expressions are exaggerated. My waves are enthusiastic. My moves are creative, and I am so thrilled to see you. Yes, you! The lady in the white mini van sipping a smoothie. The delivery driver on the phone. The man picking his nose in the red Camry. I try to make eye contact with as many people as possible, and within that brief second, I attempt to convince them that I am so happy to see them. I want to have an effect, however small, whether it’s helping to imprint the Liberty brand, instigating a smile or providing an unexpected surprise. Some drivers appear confused. I think they’re just left wondering, searching for an answer – kind of like when I used to drive by the wavers, and that’s a good thing.
“I feel the adrenaline moving through my veins…Spotlight on me and I’m ready to break. I’m like a performer; the dance floor is my stage. Better be ready, hope that ya feel the same.” – Britney Spears/Circus
My all time favorite song that pumps me up and engages me with the audience is Bruno Mars’ “Marry You.”
What song do you like to dance or workout to?