What's up your sleeve, or in your pocket, for 2016? / by Hannah Foster

I had an interesting dream a few nights ago. Yes, it’s going to be one of those blogs – I mean, this is a bit of an introspective blog about the start of a new year, with (almost) no sugar-coma or travel related content.

So the dream I had is a version of one that I’m aware a lot of people have. It’s the I-haven’t-prepared-for-something-very-important (like exams) and-they’re-about-to-start-or-are-in-progress dream. If you don’t know what I’m taking about, well, lucky you.

Anyway, this particular version of the dream involves me turning up to a ballet class, which I did as a child, to find I haven’t learnt any of the choreography and the performance starts in about two minutes. This time in the dream I was an adult, and I’d turned up to the performance venue, but same-same…so far.

Everyone was backstage hairspraying and lipsticking and getting into costumes. A guy in a headset and mic was ushering groups of people on stage and troupes of girls and women in various themed costumes were hanging around chatting loudly. I was in an adults class performance and we were dressed in Christmas elf suits. We even had those funny curly-toed boots made out of felt, which ingeniously slipped on over our ballet shoes.

I stood in the wings, side-stage, with the rest of my dance class and madly tried to think of a way out of the situation. I apparently did not know a single step of the choreography, but, with the audience waiting and my classmates expecting me to join them, I didn’t have a lot of options. So I reasoned that what I would do was pick a position at the back of the stage, behind a few other people, and just copy them. Sure, I’d be a second or two late and out of time, but it was better than nothing. Basically, my plan was to hide behind the largest or tallest person I could find on stage and follow everyone else for the two and a half grueling minutes of the song.

I stepped on to the brightly lit stage with the other elf-women and we stood in a sort of V shape on stage. Everyone pliéd. I pliéd, a second or so later. I tried to focus on the women in front of me. But, as the dance went on, I started to notice a lot of the other people on stage also didn’t really know the steps, or were getting them wrong. One woman I was trying to follow actually stopped and turned around and looked at me, hoping I’d remember the next bit in the choreography. By half way into the pop-song Christmas carol we were dancing to, we’d all forgotten the steps and were variously leaping, bending and smiling awkwardly at the mass of faces in the audience in front of us.

Sensing we needed something to get us through the rest of the number, I stepped forward, reached into the pockets of my elf costume (yes, elf costumes have pockets) and pulled out a big handful of wrapped chocolates, which I threw out into the audience (I did say there would be some sugar related content). The audience reacted well to this, scrabbling over the chocolates and cheering me on. All the other women in my dance troupe then started pulling chocolates out of their pockets and throwing them into the audience, instead of struggling through the remainder of the choreography. Given the Christmassy theme, throwing little gifts out to the audience seemed entirely appropriate and we left the stage to applause, with apparently no-one noticing that we’d forgotten most of our dance steps.

This was a real change to the normal format of my sweat-inducing forgotten-to-prepare dreams and, I think, a good omen for 2016.

So, since it is that time of year, here are my eight goals (dare I say resolutions?) for 2016. Like most new year resolutions, I am sure to fail or forget a few, but I figure sharing them here might help. Feel free to take/adapt or ignore them in any way you like:

1.     Don’t let fear mean you end up just copying everyone else.

2.     Be generous and give it everything you’ve got.

3.     Fake it ‘til you make it.

4.     When things go wrong, step forwards, take responsibility and make them right.

5.     Smile like you’re on stage.

6.     Pick outfits that have pockets.

7.     Don’t forget that no-one really knows what steps are next (and that is fine).

8.     If all else fails, try chocolate.

Happy new year everyone!

Xox Hannah

My last resolution should be fairly easy to keep...chocolate mouse with chocolate shards and lime sorbet in Paris last month

My last resolution should be fairly easy to keep...chocolate mouse with chocolate shards and lime sorbet in Paris last month