Late last year I was invited by the Tokyo based super talent Phil Mcqueen to participate in a creative hot pot event he was naming Tokyo’s Got Talent. Excited and honored of course I said, Yes!
Phil set the scene for me and explained there would be 5 other acts. We would all be “competing” for 1st place. Knowing that hoop dance is simply not a competitive sport I took to the idea as a bit of fun and another creative journey – that it certainly was.
Weeks later as I was laying on a gorgeous sun drenched beach in Thailand, Masao asked, “Aren’t you doing some talent thing next week in Ni Chome” Words that begin with O M F G probably came to mind as I raced back to our bungalow to grab my iPod for some musical inspiration. A quick message from the beach back to Tokyo, Phil confirmed – 2 acts, 10 minutes each.
The visions came thick and fast. It was going to be an extravaganza, hoops, costumes, choreography, go go boys, a diverse spectacular of dance, theatrics and color. Yes, yes, yes! Then reality set in, in a sobering and solid way, I had about 5 days to pull this together. Oooooh this was going to be fun!
Being the super lucky and blessed being that I am I have some of the most creative and colorful friends, I am proud to call them my family. Some people say, when you want something done you have to do it yourself. I have learned that when you want something done with love and goodness you call in the troupes and turn it into a party. More is more and having a beautifully creative and support family around really helps. I am forever grateful.
Mildly frantic on the inside but trusting in the process and the creative intensity within the group I made a few quick phone calls and summons a few meetings. YES, Mix was in! She agreed with enthusiasm to perform the first song in Act 1 with me. We had been working on a mini hoops piece for a while, mostly choreographed by Mix, it was coming together nicely so what better time to really test it out than on stage in a fun atmosphere surrounded by a supportive crowd.
That left 15 minutes to fill in.
I had a few things up my sleeve, pieces from other acts, songs I had been enjoying, beats that made me move and costumes that added sparkle. It all felt smooth and fertile. Then I received the call. The one I secretly wait for. Kike. I think the conversation went something like this… Kike: “Love, what are you doing for the Tokyo’s Got Talent thingie?” Me: “Well um I was thinking, um, Mix and I will do our act then I was just going to to something circus, or um kind of cute, you know um” Kike: “No! We are going to make you FABulous! Be at my house tomorrow morning OK!” (This was Wednesday night!) I think I spent the rest of the conversation gushing, squealing and thanking Kike as always because I knew he had the power to transform my ideas and pour them solidly into a tight act. I was right.
Kike is a true professional, so humble, never bragging about his phenomenal costuming skills, his time training Vegas Show girls or several Miss Universe Japan, but it shows. It was like I walked into a machine from The Jetsons, Kike pressed the button and I left 2 hours later with 3 new looks and an almost complete 2 acts.
Time to call Tink. I wanted something theatrical and tight for the transition between minis and my second song for Act 1. I knew Tink would be the perfect character, and she was. With such short notice she whipped up a crowd pleasing spin and by the sounds of things had a whole lot of fun doing it! You can read about Tink’s experience here.
With about 24 hours to go I felt confident that Act 1 would be a lot of spinning fun but Act 2 was incomplete. I had a look, a costume and it was hot, strong and dark (thanks to Kike). I needed something to match. Scouring iTunes and recently played tracks I picked two and just went from there. The choreography didn’t really kick in until a few hours before show time but I had a plan – let the hoops take over, enjoy the flow and tap into a pool of buried intensity. Act 2 was going to be dark! A change from my regular focus, I enjoyed the contrast.
So we had 2 acts, with 5 songs including mini hoops, circus style theatrics, LED hoops, lip syncing, big wigs, sparkles, multiple hoops, funky tracks, audience participation and a whole lot of fun! I was pretty confident we were in for a good night.
Before I knew it I was rushing from a hoop fitness class (in full, spectacular make up done by Kike earlier that day at FAB) to a tech run at Bar Exit where Tokyo’s Got Talent was being held. Meeting Masao, Mix and Tink at the door and then being greeted by Phil and the rest of the staff set the night in motion and as it always does it just kind of flowed from there.
All of our loving and supportive family were there and man did they show their support. It always helps to have a fun crowd but Saturday night was like no other. These guys were LOUD, and I loved it! Editing the video was so much fun because all I could hear was wild, lewd and loud explosions from the crowd. I love my friends so very much!
At no point did I feel like this was a competitive arena, it was simply a night of good fun and lovely entertainment. It felt kind of funny being up on stage at the end when the votes were being counted because hoop dance and competition have never been linked in my mind. But just to let you know the pole dancing group were awarded first prize. Sadly I didn’t get to see them perform, I am sure they were gorg, 3 guys and 2 girls in the troupe. We came 2nd ;) Funny I feel like we should have had red ribbons pinned to our chests. At school when we ran in races we got ribbons, blue for first, red for second, yellow for third. Thankfully Tokyo’s Got Talent was not as exhausting as a school sports day!
A huge thank you goes out to Tink, Mix, Kike and Masao. Of course also much gratitude to Phil and the crew for organizing such a fun event and supporting creativity in Tokyo. Thank you to our loving friends who came along and shared a fun night.
Just in case you wondered what we looked like up there, here are some vids with highlights from act 1 and 2.
Act 1 – Light and Love
Mix and dd Hoop Love (that’s me) mini hoops act : Seventeen Years – Ratatat
Tink LED theatrics : Thunder and Blazes
dd Hoop Love starring Masao, Leila, Kike, Akiko and friends : Million Dollar Bill (Freemasons Mixshow Edit) – Whitney Huston
Act 2 – A Tribute to the Dark Side
dd Hoop Love : Disturbia (Johan Baath Remix)
dd Hoop Love : Miles Away (Morgan Page Remix)