Monday, April 15, 2013

Upcoming bellydance gigs...

After a quiet bellydance winter, performance season is upon us again and I'm happily gearing up.

My performance group has a charity event on Friday and we've been practicing our glittery buns off for weeks now. Friday was our last class before the event so were in high rehearsal mode. I was so sick of the song "Howa Habibi" by the end of the night I could hardly swirl my veil anymore. This performance has the added challenge of it taking place on a modeling runway. Not sure how this one is going to work out, hopefully not with me in a heap of silk and beads on the floor.

After that, we'll be in full scale hafla mode. Our hafla is just over a month away and I've been listening to Middle Eastern music in every waking moment trying to select a song for my solo. I think I've finally managed this significant feat, choosing a drummy, slightly jazzier cover of the classic Egyptian tune "Leylet Hob." The nice thing about the song is that is elegant and beautiful and will work with veil, sword, or no prop at all. If I decide at the last minute that I'm having a Bad Sword Day and/or am having an unmanageable case of Sword Face (which believe me, is a real affliction which should be classified by the Centers for Disease Control) I can just leave it at home and dance without it without anybody being the wiser. If I don't use sword, I may incorporate a veil. I could do a veil entrance and then drop it to "just dance," or tuck the veil in to dance half the song and then slip the veil out for a dramatic second half and finale. Because God forbid I should dance with a veil for an entire number; it and I just don't like each other well enough for that.

I'm going to play around with it a bit this week and see what I think. No matter what, I'll be improvising, but I'd like to "work on my improv" which sounds impossible but is very much not. I have a stack of what I call my "Belly Dancer Movement Vocabulary Index Cards" (patent pending :)) that I have sub-filed into 4 categories: Hips, Torso/Shoulders, Arms, and Traveling Steps. Yes, I am a nerdy librarian, but that's what I do best.

What I do now is select a card from each category, put on some music, and then improvise while making sure to incorporate in each of the movements on the cards more than once. In that way, I remember more readily movements that I don't think of often enough. What I'd like to add in is to create some loose combinations using all 4 categories that may come in handy with different types of music when I improvise. Then I'm not just relying on my movement vocabulary but I'll also have a library of combinations to choose from too.

It is guaranteed that when I improvise, you will see me do:

(1) hip drops,

(2) hip circles,

(3) figure 8's with my torso,

(4) a two step with lower undulation;

(5) the single arm pose that is in nearly every belly dance photo of myself I've ever posted to this blog.

And a real problem in improvising is that feeling of "why do I keep repeating the same 5 movements?!" So, I keep working on that. In the past year, I've come a long way, but I still have TONS of room for improvement. I'm happy that I now even *can* improvise and that I don't freak out anymore about just interpreting the music in that moment. But I notice that lately I'm feeling like I'm stringing movements together without a cohesive core, if that makes any sense. So, I'm hoping to dance some each evening after Anne goes to bed and see what I come up with. It's a joy to do, and I'm excited for what is to come.

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