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Troupe Retreat 05!

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So last weekend was our annual troupe retreat. Continuing the pattern of beach vs mountain every other year, this year was back at the beach. Thanks to the troupe fund being pretty full from a busy year, we opted to get a nice place this year.



The beautiful Miramar

Spendy, yes, but damn it was nice! A big ass house with two story windows, a loft…everyone got their own bed except for Renee and I who shared one of the master bedrooms. Sadly, Sarah had a last-minute school related commitment, and had to cancel the night before we left. WAH!

Renee and I left at about 1pm, and it seemed like it took forever for us to get out to Ocean Shores! I don’t know why, it just did. We immediately set to getting things ready for the rest of the gang, who was arriving late due to various home and family commitments which had them leaving town around rush hour.

Memory Books, and troupe gifts from Renee and Sharon

Renee worked on the troupe meeting materials while I went to town on the troupe scrapbook. I had printed out a gazillion images and little tags and notes, and had to clip and paste all of them in there. When Renee finished with her stuff, she came and helped me.


Rene and Sharon sip cider and work on the troupe scrapbook.

As we sat and sipped cider and relaxed in the cozy house, the gals began to arrive. Food in tow! Hooray! One of the best parts of the troupe retreats: we EAT! Like…yum. Everyone brings their best recipes and favorite snacks, a ton of wine, and we hang out in comfy clothes and chow down.

The last gaggle arrived close to 10pm, so we got a late start. We talked and ate and watched some dance videos, including Renee’s second solo performance EVER, back down in Berkely! By about 2am (I think…it was late and we had drunk a lot…) Kym suggested we walk on the beach. It was the night before the full moon, and the whole world was silver and beautiful! So Kym, Gen, Amy and I walked down to the beach. I wish I could describe it. I wish the camera could have truly captured it (I tried). The tide was way out, and the beach looked like silver glass. The rushing sound of the waves was so loud…it was so surreal!


Beautiful moonlit beach. A pitiful attempt to capture it…

We headed back up the beach, and it was closing in on 4am. There were a lot of cars coming out to the beach, and many parked at the lot near the entrance to the beach. A ranger was there and we asked what was going on. “Tribal clam digging. Starts at 4:15am.” TRIBAL CLAM DIGGING! Well, officer, let us just go get our official ‘Tribal Butt Pants’ and we’ll join ya! Okay, we didn’t say that until we were back at the house. But we got a kick out of it anyway.

Everyone was in bed, but Amy and I were still awake. We actually *gag* got ourselves more wine, and sat and talked and talked and talked. We watched the sun come up, and then some. We finally decided we should probably get some sleep. My head hit the pillow as the clock rounded 7:30am. 🙂

Hung over and tired as could be, I woke about 12:30am. Ugh. I felt crappy, but wanted to get the day started. I needed to get to work on the memory books–with 8 gals in the troupe, that makes for 7 troupies to write to. 14 pages of writing….by hand. And I don’t write by hand much any more. Who does? We all pulled out the snacks to steel ourselves for the task ahead, and with pens in hands, we spread out around the house to settle into writing about each other for a few hours.


Bren jots her thots.

My brain…ouch, my brain! Don’t make me think! I felt awful that it was such a struggle to THINK, let alone write something meaningful and profound in each journal. But I struggled away at it. I know it wasn’t my finest work, but I did my best to do right by the four books I got done that afternoon.


Amy soaks up some sun on the deck while she works on some memory books

Most of the group ran into town to get supplies, while Gen and Amy and I hung back and watched movies and ate more garbage. Whee! Gorging! Later in the afternoon, some went for a walk, some sacked out in front of movies, and some (namely me) sacked out for a two hour nap. Ahhhh, I needed it. Refreshed and ready to meet the evening, I joined everyone in the work to get dinner ready. Saturday’s dinner is a potluck, where everyone brings a main dish, and something to share.


The feasting begins

I brought pasta (didn’t turn out, thanks to stove problems 🙁 ), St. Agur with crackers, and salad with blue cheese dressing to share, as well as my spinach dip, which we were already digging into. Bren and Kahla made these amazingly yummy BBQ skewers with chicken, potatoes, peppers, and onions, all marinated in a Jamaican jerk spice.


The gang sups together.

Amy also made her steak with the same marinade. Kym made this incredibly delicious veggie soup, which she had put together in the early afternoon, and let stew in a stock pot all day long. YUM! Oh, and Amy of course made Michelle’s garlic brie bowl. Always a favorite. Gen made an incredible cheesecake, which she decorated with the inFusion logo:


Gen’s speciality: cheesecake and blowing us away with her creativity!

We started late on dinner, which means the troupe meeting was late as well. Oh we were dragging by the end. But the meeting was awesome. Got to talk about the past year, the year ahead, our goals, our concerns, and our kudos. It was especially great to pull out our list of goals from last year and literally check, check, check marked off everything we had hoped to accomplish and had! How gratifying! It was also great to make sure we were all on the same page about where we’re at and where we want to go together. I always feel so much stronger in purpose and direction after our troupe retreats. Renee does a kick-ass job at this kind of stuff, and she ran the meeting like the pro she is. 🙂

We tried to watch some more videos, but the VCR was crapping out, and by the time we switched to DVD’s, we were all so tired. It was late again, and we had eaten and underslept and drank wine…it was time to crash out. So we hit the sheets.

Next morning we were up, grabbing breakfast, packing up, and finishing our memory books. We had to be out of the house by 1pm. I was much more fluid in my writing on Sunday, and was glad I had saved Renee’s until I felt more “alive”. I ended up writing three pages in her journal, I had so much to thank her for in the last year. We had both worried last year, when Michelle took leave of us, that it would spell trouble for us. Michelle was a balancing force between Renee and I. But instead of trouble, we strengthened and grew closer, and I think became even better directors as well as better friends. I have loved what we have done with the troupe in the last year, including some huge milestones for the troupe (featured at TF and TQNW, for a start), and I needed to try and put all that into words. No easy task. But more easily done sober than hung over, indeed. LOL!

We were out on time, and piled into our cars, agreeing to meet in “town” for lunch. We ended up having an incredibly yummy lunch at a Mexican restaurant in the strip mall, getting to hang out, debrief, and prepare to go back to the real world. I wasn’t ready. None of us were!

I was bummed that our retreat got such a late start. It meant we didn’t get to play any games! Hopefully next year! And it did make the retreat feel shorter, even though it was truly only by a matter of hours. But regardless of that little thing, the rest of the retreat was awesome as always. I was reminded, yet again, what a rare and precious thing our troupe is, and how so honored I feel to get to dance with the incredible women I do. I love them all so much…

Yeah, life is gooooooood.

Shay
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Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

Shay
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