I was dancing fairly late in the program, which did cause nervous anticipation to build, no doubt. But I was mostly able to enjoy watching without letting my nerves get to me. I saw a few solos, and the other belly dance classes perform. Then the Flamenco dancers. OH MY GOSH. I am now obsessed with Flamenco. :) BEAUTIFUL!! The music is *gorgeous*, as expected. I had never seen Flamenco dance before, and they do a lot of footwork (baile :))with carefully timed stamping. I adore the skirt swishing (I'm certain there is a beautiful Spanish word for this that I am not aware of), and they also use lovely hand gestures called palmas. These are similar to what in Middle Eastern dance we call hand undulations, but in Flamenco the fingers are far more separated, and they also use handclaps.
I watched the group perform with fascination. I loved their beautiful red and black gowns with roses tucked in their hair. There was one woman in the front of the group who was *outstanding*. I heard her fretting afterward that she had made a mistake, but I saw none of that. As the group danced, I saw only her, she was SO good. I noticed that the dancers did not smile when they danced, it seems to me that Flamenco is a more serious, passionate dance. And this favorite dancer of mine had the absolute perfect facial expressions, the emotion of the music just played out on her face like a book. I was entranced. I have already emailed the instructor about when she is offering a beginner class after the first of the year. :0
Ok, so moving on. Loved the Flamenco. Then our group danced the first of two numbers, which went well. This was the very first number I danced in for the night, and so I was more nervous at this point than I was later in the show. When I'm nervous, I notice that when I try to smile my cheeks quiver, I HATE that. Claire always tells us "try to smile, but if you can't, just look pleasant." So I did my best to look pleasant. In looking at the photos, it appears to me that my pleasant face isn't all that different from my anxious face:
|The Anxious Face|
Part of the problem was that the audience was a bit...quiet. I managed to beam at a woman who seemed to drift off before my eyes. Clearly, she was not worthy of the beam. I took my beam elsewhere.
Like a lot of American audiences that I've seen, I got the feeling that this audience felt like it's impolite to make noise during a performance. This is interesting, because ordinarily I agree with them, but for dancing, appropriate noise is a very good thing. Encouraging, even. But I think that American audiences are used to things like...ballet. Where we don't make noise. At all. But other types of dance? Noise people!!
At any rate, that number went just fine, and you can see above that I even got my veil tied around my hips well, which doesn't always happen in the heat of the moment, so I was pleased. It was time for a short intermission, then a round of solos. Of which I was the last.
I had a kicky number planned from the album Cairo Nights, vol 1. Starts out fast and upbeat, transitions to a slow taquism, and then finishes with a drum flare. I really love it. I tucked my veil into the top of my skirt so that I could pull it out when needed, and away I went.
My veil did behave at the taquism, like a good prop should:
After the show was over, the videographer sought me out to compliment me on my dancing. That, of course, meant the world to me. But my favorite part was when he said that he loved how much I smiled, that I was an easy subject to film because I was so joyful. To me, that is what dancing should be to all women. We should not allow ourselves to feel self-conscious or to let others make us feel self-conscious. Dancing is about joy, both within and what we project back to the audience. That is my mantra for the day.
At the very end of the show, our group had one final number, and finally, here is the promised wing picture:
|That's me in the front, doing my best butterfly impression|
It was fine, but believe me, I won't be doing that again. Alterations: coming right up!
All in all, it was a beautiful night. I'm so grateful to have this thing in my life that I love and that has given me so much - joy, happiness, and even a fragile bit of confidence for a girl who was voted shyest in her senior class.
|April 2011: Belly dancing at 33 weeks pregnant!|
I'm never letting anyone make me feel badly for belly dancing ever again. There it is, the "b" word!! Belly dance is feminine in the best possible way. It is beautiful. It is *family friendly*. It is amazing, and I love it.