Take yourself on a walk
in, with, or alongside
a fantasy Mardi Gras dance team
Mardi Gras morning and there are no sanctioned parades. But the greater New Orleans metropolitan area has collectively decided that houses are now “house floats.” The house floats don’t move like parade floats. They are not crammed full of people throwing shit at you like parade floats. They’re just … decorated. But they’re not the same as regular decorated houses. They’re different. They’re house floats. Because we all decided it is so.
Maybe in your fantasy parade, where houses are now parade floats, you need a dance team. Maybe you are the dance team. Maybe you are an entire dance team by yourself, with your own fantasy dance team uniform. Maybe you with a couple friends are like a supergroup meeting of the dance teams.
Your fantasy dance team arrives at the beginning of the fantasy parade route. You intend to start on time, really, because in your fantasy people are waiting on the sidewalks for the parade, and because it’s fantasy Mardi Gras the weather is low-key miserable. But before they ring the bells of the church to signal the start of the fantasy parade, some kind people have arranged a surprise for your fantasy dance team. They are going to unfurl a fantasy Mardi Gras pennant in your honor.
Take a moment to get hype and also to get limber. There is a high kick in your fantasy routine, and you are no longer young. On the upside, you are also no longer self-conscious.
You don’t really have the energy right now for a fantasy parade. And also you want a parade very badly. Lower your expectations. Decide the overall vibe of your fantasy dance team will be “They seem to have their shit surprisingly together for an informal and unsanctioned gathering of artists.”
Your fantasy parade is mostly a long slow walk with big arms and exciting music.
Because it’s your fantasy dance team, you make an entire fantasy dance routine that is an homage to Pina Bausch’s “Seasons March.” The gestures are about connection, separation, impatience, online shopping. It is “meditative” and “durational,” which is another way of saying it is extremely repetitive and probably a little boring to watch. But it gives your brain time to rest after the complicated arm dance and your body time to rest before the big routine with the high kick. You keep trying to figure out what to call the dance. “This Pandemic Seems to Have No Seasons March”? Eventually you give up and just call it “Pina.”
In your fantasy parade, your mother appears on the sidewalk in the role of world’s most enthusiastic parade attendee. She is absolutely losing her shit over the dance team choreography. Because it is a fantasy, she becomes not just your mother but the mother of everyone on the dance team. They have never met her before. They shout, “Hi, Mom” at her. She has never seen the choreography before, but she says this dance is her favorite one as if she already knows all the dances. She somehow keeps popping up along the route despite the fact that you did not tell her the route. She asks you to do the one with the high kick, because in her fantasy, parades take requests. You do the one with the high kick. She says, “Where was the high kick?” She is not trying to be shady.
You’re losing daylight on this strange but hopeful Mardi Gras.
Before the fantasy parade began, you wondered: What exactly are you wanting to get out of this experience? It’s cold outside. It’s very cold by the river where you have been practicing, to try to keep the fantasy dance team safe. You’re uncomfortable. You’re nervous. Your body will probably hurt at the end of it. Definitely you will be tired. You’re already tired and the parade hasn’t even started. And because this is a fantasy parade, technically no one will see it.
You share an anecdote with the fantasy dance team – how you told a musician friend about tempo and dance routines – and the exact right tempo is the difference between “this dance feels bad” and “this dance feels like you’re eating the world.”
You decide what your intention is for your fantasy parade. And you feel it is embarrassing but necessary to ask your friends about their own intentions.
They say, we want to dance.
They say, we want to dance with other people.
They say, we want to feel joyful.
They say, we want other people to feel joyful.
They are not embarrassed about any of this.
As you hit the final stretch of the route, you do the routine with the high kick one last time.
The fantasy dance team announces that this dance felt like eating the world.
Known Mass No. 4, “The Missalettes”
A Mardi Gras dance team parade fantasy
Durational site-specific strolling dance
In the streets of the Marigny and Bywater
Sunday, February 14, 2021, 2-3pm
Directed by Ann Glaviano
Co-choreographed and performed by
Lori Maxwell Crosthwait
T. Cole Newton
Sarah Arnold Waits
Chip and Katie Patterson
Line keepers / traffic defenders:
Bell ringers and flag unfurlers:
Photography and videography:
Neighborhood parade consultant:
Dance team consultants:
Katy Simpson Smith