My weekend with The Hoosiers

It’s a Sunday afternoon in November. It’s piercingly cold outside, very foggy, and I’m awfully tired after a long, yet very enjoyable, weekend of playing Bridesmaid at my cousin’s wedding. Having to drag myself out of bed to attend a dance rehearsal seemed like the last thing in the world I wanted to do at the time. But, in hindsight, it proved to be a completely rewarding and unforgettable decision.

The Hoosiers

Myself and two of my best friends often practice and perform together in a trio. Despite all being very different people, we share one common thing: we love to dance. But, being the busy university students that we are, finding the time to meet can often result in very early mornings, late nights and absolutely anything that we can squeeze in between – it sure is a good job we love what we do!

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Sian, Me & Emma

November 1st began like any other term-time Sunday – I was hungover, stressed and reluctant to leave my bed at the irritating sound of my alarm. Despite my initial laziness, I eventually managed to prize myself out of the house and to a long stretch of dance rehearsals.

We practiced and practiced, hair flying around, sweat pouring down our make-up free foreheads – I’m not going to make the arts industry sound as glamorous as the media attempts to.

Then, all of a sudden, something happened.

Beyoncé songs blasting, bums shaking, focus dropping slightly, and who should waltz into our rehearsal room? The Hoosiers.

Yes, The Hoosiers. The band I used to dance around to in my PJs back in ’07. The guys whose song lyrics I know back to front. And there they were!

The three of us managed to keep our cool long enough to smile and wave them out of the room before breaking down into a six-year-old girl-at-Christmas kind of frenzy just as we heard the doors close. Smooth, I know.

Instantly, we reached out to all platforms of social media boasting about our very short, and kind of unimpressive, encounter with the ‘Goodbye Mr A’ musicians, even Tweeting them in a casual ‘I think I bumped into you earlier’ kind of fashion. We then retired for the day and headed home for (hopefully) lots of sleep, and lots and lots of food (because dancers eat too!).picture1

It was 18:50, and
there I was in my cosy little uni room – makeup off, a belly full of chicken curry and plodding through my university assignments. My phone buzzes.

The Hoosiers:“@beckylanccc you cats got skillz! Fancy dancing for tonight’s gig??!”

I shrieked at my phone. As someone who gets excited at the sight of a full fridge or books being perfectly aligned on a shelf, it’s no surprise that I was completely bouncing around at the thought of being up on that stage with them. Still, I knew it would simply be a little joke these show-biz folk like to play with fans in order to make us feel loved (*aww*).

But oh, how very wrong I was.

My phone buzzes again. But this time, a direct message.picture3

The Hoosiers: “Hello! We’d LOVE to have you girls onstage with us! The snag is that the stage is tiny. That said, we’ll find a way. Soooo how about it?! Was thinking just for the final song which will be Goodbye Mr A. Let us know.”

I immediately called the other girls. Shall we do it? Is he serious? What shall we wear? What can we do? HOW SOON CAN YOU GET HERE?!

Within the hour, we had met up, done our makeup, choreographed and learnt a dance routine, taken a few shots (for the nerves), and were on our way to the venue – sprinting, may I add.

We arrived to find our names already on the list, as promised, free tickets awaiting and were escorted upstairs, relieved at the fact that we hadn’t been pranked as we were convinced we had been.

The room we were led to was overcrowded, too hot, and not a very enjoyable place to be, but with the possibility of what was to come in mind, I don’t think any of us cared.picture4

It wasn’t long before we were following a member of their team into the backstage area on our way to their dressing room. At this point, I was still waiting for my alarm to go off and to wake up finding myself in bed following a rather unusual dream.

We turn a corner, and there’s the legend Irwin Sparkes in his red checked tee ready to meet us. We shook hands, introduced ourselves (I remembered my name, it’s okay) and talked through what he wanted us to do, as we followed him upstairs to meet the others.

All equally as charming, all equally as chilled out, we chatted and laughed as I was kindly passed a beer from the fridge. I couldn’t help but feel this put my regular pre-drinking antics to shame.

Then, they had to get ready so we exited the room and moved to our own dressing room, but not before asking for a selfie (of course!) to which Alan Sharland offered to take due to his ‘selfie arms’.

After half an hour of listening to the guys warm up their vocals through the walls (and capturing it on video), and trying to act like this was normal for us, it was time to make our way to the stage. Well, for them to make their way to the stage and for us to the audience, where we would spend the majority of the gig.

There have been so many times when I’ve been disappointed at a band’s performance live in comparison to their albums, but thankfully this wasn’t going to add to that list. They were calm, collected, charming and total rockstars – it was such a fun environment to be in. As we lurked near the edge of the barriers for our ‘shining moment’, I chatted with one of the security guards about the unusual circumstances that had led us to to there.

Then, he says it. Irwin takes the microphone and says “this is our last song of the night”, which we knew was our cue.

Dumping our bags and coats literally wherever we could (we didn’t really care) we shuffled onto the stage. Well, to the side of the stage where we found a small corner, so not to seem like a group of Springer Spaniels. We began. Smiling, hips shaking, hair waving. We were all having so much fun – but then again, how could we not?!

Then, mid-way through our dance, I felt a shove on my back – to which my only thought was ‘oh no, is this the point where a bunch of jealous fans come and beat me up?! I turned around to find the backstage crew ushering us onto the stage to join the band surrounded by beer cans, wires and a hell of a lot of talent. Crap.

But who were we to pass up this golden opportunity? So, on we went! Lead singer to the left, drummer behind and a whole crowd of people in the audience staring at us, probably wondering who the heck we were and how we ended up there (trust me, we were thinking the same thing!).

I’m not ashamed to say that we got a bit carried away towards end – it was less of a structured dance routine and more like how myself and all the other drunken family members were dancing at the wedding the previous day. But we didn’t care. And why should we?picture2

From what was a very murky and unpleasant November morning, I read my one last message from the boys…

The Hoosiers:“@beckylanccc you dudettes stole the show! Pls pass on our utmost
thx. Well done for being game. You were fantastiqe. Sane again next time??”

…And then I went to sleep, with a smile on my face, some lovely memories in mind, thinking ‘if THIS is what reality’s like, I’ll never, ever settle for dreams again’.

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