Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sweet Relief

Yesterday was quite a day. My boyfriend and I arrived about an hour early (we anticipated that the drive to Delaware would take longer than it did) so we decided to take a walk on Main Street. It was a pleasant walk, however it had to be one of the hottest days I recall in this already sweltering summer so by the time we got back to the restaurant I was already drenched in sweat and exhausted.

I was told our performance went well and that even during the choreographed section the four of us were in-sync with each other. None of us dropped our swords and we did not miss our cues from what I can tell. I'd still like to see the video footage to critique my own performance though.

Danielle, Colleen, Kristin & I in mid-"swashbuckler" move. I'm all the way on the left.

Personally, I was so nervous that I was physically shaking — so much so that I feared it might be perceptible by the audience, but apparently it wasn't from those I queried afterwords. The shaking did make sword balancing that much more difficult though, even with the added stickiness provided by the hairspray on my head and beeswax on the blade that I did not use during the rehearsals. As a result I wasn't able to articulate as much as I would have liked while the sword was on my head and probably looked a little stiff. In addition to that, the space had a row of skylights which shed direct sunlight into my face virtually the entire time. I found that mentally I wasn't afraid of the audience and having them so close while dancing despite my body's reaction, but with sun being so bright I could not see them anyways. In most of the photos from the event, at least one of us was completely obscured by the blinding light. If you happen to be on Facebook, you can view my full album here and observe the phenomenon yourself.

I'm in the lead position here for the Tribal improv section of our piece. I think I was just thankful to be able to see for a moment.

There were a number of other great performances that took place that evening. Tribal Spirit did a delicious improv piece which included a lot of cute moves I don't think I've ever seen them do before. They seem so at ease performing and they give the impression that they are dancing not mainly for the spectator's enjoyment but for their own. I am jealous :) I'm hoping a video gets posted of their performance also.

Fatima Bassmah was the headlining dancer this month. I think she would make a perfect Snow White with her raven hair, red lips, and flawless fair skin. She danced twice that evening with a number of props. During one piece she balanced a bejeweled sword on her head while standing on glass goblets. I've never seen wine glasses used as a dance prop in person and was duly impressed. She later did an encore dance with an expertly weilded cane and then a final, upbeat dance to what I believe was a Sha'abi song.

Black Dragon Bellydance did a lovely skirt dance with lots of flourishes and spins. Naja Haje took the part of a serpent emerging from the snake-charmer's vessel: complete with huge basket, a bearded, flute-bearing snake-charmer, and a veil with a design evoking the brown and white pattern on a cobra's head. The music fittingly featured the ney as the prominent instrument. I wish I could have better seen the work of the dancers who immediately preceded and followed ours but I think I was so distracted about our own performance that I didn't get a chance to properly appreciate theirs.

I hope I have the opportunity to perform again in the relatively near future, though my preference would either be without a prop or with one that wouldn't impale my foot if I accidentally dropped it. I'm grateful to Vikki of Hipnosis who wrote the choreography and guided us through the rehearsals and for the three other ladies who danced with me.

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