Monday, October 19, 2009

Dancing out of the box

This past weekend my troupe had the honor of dancing at our friend Chris's wedding. Chris is Flissy's dance partner in Verve tribal, and they danced too (so Flissy had double performance time and handled it like a pro). This was all at the reception which luckily was indoors, and I say luckily because the weather was in the low 40s and raining all day long. The happy couple had wanted to rent a park pavilion and have an outdoor event, but it was too hard to get alcohol and loud music permits. We did get a chance to "enjoy" the weather for a bit because their wedding ceremony was at the Maryland Renaissance Festival (the original intent was for everyone spending a few hours enjoying the Faire after the ceremony before heading to the reception). It was a bit of wet chaos but right at the crucial moment it all pulled together and they had a lovely, heartfelt ceremony. My SO and I stayed on at the Faire for another 4 hours, hanging out, watching shows and generally feeling like "It's raining? Well we'll still have fun!" before heading to the reception. And dry clothes. A sense of humor, a resignation to getting wet, and a warm dry cloak (for me) make all the difference. 

For the wedding I had proposed the idea of writing a choreography to one of our selected songs (Tim Rayborn, Zaman). It has very quick changes and some tricky bits, so I felt it might be nice to make something definite to the music instead of winging it with improv. I wrote the preliminary choreo, then Flissy and I got together and worked out the tricky or vague bits, then it went to the whole troupe and we polished the whole piece. We'd planned bits of other songs before, and learned a short choreo from Ali of n.o.madic tribal, but this was out first total almost six minute piece. 

It wasn't perfect, we all had bits of "WTF am I doing right now?", but we felt good about the piece and our performance and most of all the Chris and Jason were happy with it and that is what really matters. The hours of troupe rehearsal (five in the 5 days before the wedding) paid off. It was awesome to look over during the intro (we led in with the FCBD dance meditation/prayer) and see Chris's huge smile. We segued from the choreo to improv, first with a slow piece doing dueling duets, and the last was lead out with a very upbeat song by Turku. My SO remarked at one point all four of us let our arm posture give a bit, and I told him I think the long day hit us all right at the same time, but we all perked up and rallied to the end of the set. Then we relaxed with cupcakes and open-dance-floor, no pressure, get your groove on dancing with the guests. 

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Live and In Person!

A video! This is from May, when we danced as the headliners at Charm City Tribal's quarterly event, which is a ton of fun and you will want to attend if you're in the area when one is happening, like in early November.

This is the first time we performed with the dueling duets and it was Flissy's first performance with the troupe; we asked her to join right after this. She did a beautiful job.

One funny thing you can't see from the angle is that when I'm behind Nora at one point we spin around and our skirts hook together. I had to do a quick reverse spin to unhook us. Note to self: only one person at a time gets to wear an Indian embroidered skirts with sequins, and also never wear them around someone with a lot of long chainette fringe or yarn belts.

Monday, October 05, 2009

A Balkan Beat

This past Saturday my SO and I made the very, very, VERY smart decision to attend Balktoberfest in Silver Spring, MD. Oh, it was awesome. It was held at a Ukrainian church, the first part outside and the evening show inside. The location made me think of church events I went to as a kid, though this was a LOT more fun than anything I attended at St Mary of the Mills Catholic Church.

Halfway through the evening, hanging out with J and some of our marching band mates, I made the comment that I really, really wish I saw more belly dancers there. In particular, I'd love to see some tribal/fusion dancers, particularly with the recent Balkan music craze going on in the scene. I didn't want to see them there belly dancing, I wanted to see them there absorbing the music and dancing in a back-to-the-roots way. Get at least a little closer to the source, then work from there.

Highlights of the evening, for me, were seeing a number of women rocking out on the tapan, whipping my head around towards the stage at the first amazing sounds of Elitsa Stoyneva, everyone crazy jumping up and down dancing to "Kalashnikov", and finally catching on to the patterns of the group line dances. On that last note, I managed to pull the muscles in both my calves while doing those dances. Next time I'm warming up first.