Mostly by being a smart ass. I think one of the worst things a choir can do is dance but that's because the kind of choral music I like isn't exactly dancing material. Would you dance to Mozart's Requiem? Or to Shubert's Mass in A Flat? What about to some Morten Lauridson or John Rutter? I think not.
So there's the first problem. I could almost tolerate the music we were singing until they decided we should dance to it. When I found that out I realized I had two choices. I could sulk in the corner half-assing it or I could make fun of the whole affair by being completely over the top Broadway wanna be with it.
I went with choice two. Then my plan backfired, because even though I was standing in the back, I was still spotted and suddenly I was being dragged to the front of the room as an example of how to do the dance. I think maybe only the director and one guy in the bass section, Mr. Suzuki, (who was also dancing like a loon) understood that I was being a bit of a smartypants. Everyone else just thought I was AWESOME. Of course once I set the precedent of over-the-top silly dancing I had to keep dancing like I was trying out for Footloose right up until today's concert. I got big pats on the back afterward from the other choir members and even from a few random strangers in the audience.
So yeah, that's how I became the best dancer in the Tahara Mixed Chorus. Lesson learned: don't be a smart ass because Japanese people won't get the joke. Instead they'll try to make you do a dance solo in front of the whole freaking town and then the joke's on you.
Speaking of choir, I was actually thinking about quitting the choir recently because I found out it's going to cost me $120 every six months to stay in and the twice weekly rehearsals are really starting to get to me. But then randomly one of the little old ladies gave me a cake, just handed me a whole cake one night after practice. How can I tell them I want to quit when I'm holding a cake in my hand? I can't. And then today after I had declined to buy a bento lunch (because they are expensive and I'm never sure if I'll like what's in it,) one of the other ladies insisted and bought it for me. Apparently I'm a sucker for free food.
Although at a cost of $240 a year and countless hours of my life sucked away doing a horrible dance about a fish girl named Ponyo, I'm not sure it really counts as free. My plan is to wriggle free after summer break, using the JLPT as an excuse. I'll explain that I need the extra study time to pass the test. Unless of course they make me another cake in which case I'll never quit.