(as an aside, I don't want it to look like I'm vain by only posting pictures of myself :) I just don't feel it's right to post photos of my group without their explicit permission, so I only post pictures of them where no one is easily recognizable. I have free reign over my own pictures, so you're stuck looking at me, sorry about that).
It was a tale of two extremes, to be sure. Late Saturday afternoon, our troupe was slated to dance at an art festival at a historic site on the river. We were told we would be dancing in the "amphitheater." Sounds swanky, no?
The amphitheater turned out to be a broken up slab of concrete filled with all manner of things conducive to dancing, you know: weeds, big cracks and uneven surfaces, piles of fallen bricks, broken glass, caution tape, the works.
|There we are, being brave.|
It was also outrageously hot out, I think just based on the suns position in the sky and the fact that it felt like it was beating down rays just for us. Within minutes, we were all covered in a positive SHEEN of sweat, which seemed to attract even more insects than were already present, busily pollinating things that were growing up between the cracked concrete.
Glamour, ALL GLAMOUR.
So we started to dance. Our set for both events was about 25 minutes. Two group numbers, some solos, followed by the group tray number as a finale. Some people followed us out which was encouraging given that the "amphitheater" wasn't exactly conveniently located near the other attractions. We had a crowd of maybe 25-30 people for a bit, but people gradually drifted away as they wanted to get to other things and nobody else really knew we were out there. Thus, pretty soon we found ourselves dancing our little hearts out for a handful of people, one of whom was drunk. Lovely.
My solo went really well, and no costume malfunctions:
|Good shot of the caution tape in the background.|
However, we DID seize upon the opportunity to take some awesome photographs:
We also posed as a group over by the water, the uneven surface making it look all dangerous. The resulting pictures are sweet, I have to say.
We schlepped back to the cars and had a quick bite to eat before our next gig.
And so speaking of the next gig, it couldn't have been more different from the first. Instead of the city, we were to perform in a local affluent suburb, one who invited us back to dance after our last festival (so they like us) but one who will NOT use the B Word: BELLY. Apparently we don't say BELLY in this town, just DANCE. Whatever.
It was a community street faire, and upon our arrival it was very clear that this was going to be a whole different ballgame than graffiti and brick piles. We were slated to dance in the street in front of a popular restaurant patio and the place, as well as the street itself, was *packed*. Jubilant people everywhere, live music. People kept stopping us, seeing our coverups, to ask if we were dancers and when/where would we be performing.
We convened next to the restaurant to prepare. An older man staggered past us to go pee in the trees, so some things aren't all that different in this town as everywhere else. But in contrast to our first performance, I was NERVOUS. There were a LOT of people there, dear reader, and it wasn't exactly clear how we would clear the street to perform, and if people would just wander into our dance space, especially for the solos. I was feeling quite apprehensive as we headed out to the street to try and get things started.
We set up a boundary using our flower trays. A *boatload* of people anxiously crowded around us. The restaurant's band, acting as our soundguys, started our music. And so we started to dance.
I have to say, I was SO much more nervous about this event given the number of people, but holy smokes, it was SO MUCH BETTER!! The happy crowd created an energy that one could actually feed off of.
We did our opening two numbers. The crowd watched with rapt attention. The music was on one continual playlist, and so we just queued up for our solos, one after another. And it went GREAT.
|There I am, in street belly dancing mode.|
I know you were all praying for the safety of our flower trays :) and I'm happy to report that they went fabulous in both locations. At the second event, we added electric tealights to them since it was getting dark, and I have to say, it looks awesome:
|Our hips and trays in perfect harmony|
As you might expect, drunk people abounded at this event, but nobody did anything embarrassing (well, except the Older Pee Guy who also came up to us afterward and asked if anybody was looking to date an energetic 75 year old). I think that was the most fun I've had since joining the performance group.
AND, this same town committee who asked us to perform on Saturday have already gotten in contact with Claire to ask if we'll dance at another event on Labor Day weekend.
It feels good to be loved. :)
In contrast to what people normally think about belly dance, it is (when done correctly :)) G-rated and family friendly! No scandalous costuming or movements, I promise! I hope events like the ones we danced at recently help people to see belly dance in a new light. It's simply a cultural dance form, longing to be accepted like it's cousins. :)