“It is ok to get butterfly in your stomach. The key is to learn how to make them fly in formation.” -Georges St-Pierre
Today in my Facebook memories was a photo of the first UFC fight I attended. If you know me in the slightest way, you have been made aware that I absolutely love the UFC and have been an MMA fan for quite awhile! So in lieu of that particular memory, I thought it would be fun to share with you what has now become known as “The Sweatiest Day of my Life”.
Almost ten years ago, I lived in San Diego and had no interest, knowledge or experience with mixed martial arts. I would often come home and see UFC on the tv and be repulsed by the violent, scrappy, bloody images. I never sat down and watched fights, I never asked any questions, and I even expressed that fighting was not something I wanted to see in my house. Then one day, Georges St-Pierre was fighting. Yup. It was the turning of the page, the dawn of a new era, the moment everything changed. Hahaha! But seriously…
I had never seen a fighter move with his artistry. I had never seen a fighter with such discipline, such grace, such beauty. (I hope you are picking up on this drama.) In my eyes, that man was moving with choreography, and from that moment on, I was hooked. I started watching every fight, learning about fighters’ training and backgrounds, and dreaming about training myself. My love of the arts, the body, athleticism, and discipline was all tied together with this new passion for MMA all thanks to GSP. So naturally, when I moved to Las Vegas, the headquarters of the UFC, my love and knowledge continued to grow and grow.
In 2013, I joined Veronic Voices, a brand new show headlining at Bally’s, starring the very talented, Montreal singer/impersonator Veronic DiCaire. Her team of French-Canadians were both stunned and amused by my love of UFC, and of course, we shared one major interest, Montreal hometown hero GSP. I streamed fights backstage I couldn’t attend, I met fighters who came to our show, and I talked about my hero GSP all the time. It became common knowledge that I was “the dancer who loved MMA”. I suppose often in life we want cool nicknames and taglines. LOL
The following year Veronic Voices headed to Montreal to prepare for a tour. During rehearsals, Veronic’s team teased me that GSP was in town at the same time and maybe we would see him at the unveiling of his wax statue at the Musee Grevin where Veronic’s statue had already been displayed. One day during rehearsals, our boss came in and said, “Should we call it a day and go meet Georges St-Pierre?” OH MY GOD. YES! So we all got changed and ready for the unveiling, and I immediately had heart palpitations and started practicing what to say.
Now let me paint a clear picture of the scene at the Musee Grevin that day. This was Montreal front page news, so there was a limited guest list, the media was there, and we were walking in with another Montreal hero, Veronic DiCaire. As we made it to the event floor, across a sea of wax statues, guests, and cameras, there he was standing on the stage next to the beautiful wax replica of himself, Mr. Georges St-Pierre.
I immediately started sweating and couldn’t remember a single time I had more butterflies in my stomache. “Quick, drink this!” my friend Rebecca said as she grabbed a champagne flute from a serving tray. “You need this.” A moment later, we were shuffled to the front as a Veronic was prepped for her meet and greet. “Who is the dancer who loves GSP?” said a man with a headset, as my boss said, “Make sure you are the one who introduces Shana,” to Veronic. I sweated some more and tried to maintain any composure, any at all. I was so nervous and so excited, and I was staring at GSP from the moment we had walked in. Now let me add a sidenote here and say I had never been nervous enough meeting someone to sweat. I mean SWEAT.
Veronic went up on stage and spoke with GSP and the media took photos of them with his statue. Then, she turned to me, motioned me up onto the stage and introduced me to THE Georges St-Pierre. As if it were a movie in my mind, the conversation went as followed:
“Hello, how are you?” he asked. “Hi,” I managed, as I shook his hand with the biggest smile known to mankind on my face. “It is so nice to meet you!” It continued… “You are visiting from Las Vegas?” he asked. “Yes, I live there and am here rehearsing with Veronic.” He was looking into my eyes, and I was living my best life. “It’s funny that we are meeting here because I know it’s Fight Week in Vegas,” I managed to get out as I continued to blush and glisten with perspiration. “Oh yes, I think I am supposed to go to Vegas in a few days.”
Now, we exchanged a bit more about dancing and the show, but while every millisecond passed by, I was just sweating more and more, as everyone’s eyes were glued on us in the most public, exciting moment of my life. Not only was I meeting my hero, but everyone was watching and making such a big deal over my big deal. Sweat, sweat and sweat.
We took group photos with him and mingled on the stage a bit longer, and then I asked him if I could have a picture together. He said of course and went to put his arm around me. As if in slow motion, I knew he was going to touch my sweaty shoulder, and the moment his hand grazed my wet skin, he promptly replaced his hand on my waist. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I will never forget that moment. Ever. And thus was born “The Sweatiest Day of my Life.”
I wanted to share this amazing story because not only is it an unforgettable day for me, but also it’s a fun glimpse into my crazy life. So many elements of this story were manifestations I dreamed to life from moving to Vegas, to my job, to the tour, to meeting Georges St-Pierre. I was fortunate to dance for amazing people who helped bring this dream to reality, and today, I have this epic story to prove it! For your personal enjoyment and mine, below are some of the photos from that day… “The Sweatiest Day of my Life”. Keep dreaming, friends!