I got an email a few weeks ago from a fellow comedian, Quinn Greene :
” Hey Heather, I’m shooting a kid-oriented rap video for the Manitoba Dental Association this week on Wednesday.
I was wondering if you might be interested in playing a character in the video. We’re looking for a lunch lady character who gets spun around by the kids in the cafeteria and then breaks into dance in one scene, embarrassing the kids.”
I arrived onset at the school cafeteria and went to hair and makeup: French braid, hairnet, apron. Now it was time to shoot the scenes. The kids had to run past me as I carried a stack of lunch trays and after a couple of takes, we got the shot the director wanted. Now it was time for me to dance.
This video shoot didn’t require an audition of any kind; I was chosen mostly based on my ability to look like a middle-aged lunch lady. I’m actually fine with that, surprisingly. What the director did not know was that he had just inadvertently hired the funkiest, freakiest forty-four year old suburban mom comedian known to man. Yes, ladies and gentleman, prepare to witness the fresh moves of Heather Witherden, dancemaster.
I bust some moves and threw down so hard that even the moms of the child actors came over to congratulate me on my skank crunking (thanks OnlineSlangDictionary). It was amazing. Some of the kids even looked up from their Angry Birds for a second, it was that good. My epic grooves will now go down in history for the greater good of getting kids to properly brush their teeth. Will my contribution to humanity never cease? I am an amazing person. I felt like a million bucks. Actually, I felt over-caffeinated due to the free coffee from craft services, but you get the idea.
Truth is, I love dancing. I take any and all opportunities to dance. As a child, I was
forced involved in Ukrainian folk dancing, which led to Ballet ( for a solid dance foundation) and since then I’ve been in hip-hop classes, belly dance, African dance and burlesque. Once I pop, I can’t stop. Take me to a live music show and I will end up dancing by or on the stage. I will eat your dry wedding chicken dinner provided your DJ has James Brown and Janelle Monae in his playlist. I could probably hire myself out as a bachelorette party just by myself, just add party hats, I am that entertaining on the dance floor. My style has been described as ‘ arrogant’ and I’m perfectly okay with that.
I’m not a punchline, I take my dancing seriously. If you don’t want to have fun, don’t come out onto the dance floor with me. However, please note that my dance is pure improvisation. Choreography is a straightjacket I cannot abide. I see couples who have clearly spent their Tuesday nights counting to 8, in some little dance studio, learning to rumba. They have the emotional connection of an Instant Teller. Push the buttons, make the dance. NO. I say NO. Dance is freedom, not rules. I understand that you need to learn the basics but then you also need to let go; after all, if the universe has entrusted you with a world-class ass, it’s your destiny to go shake it.
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