Wednesday, March 25, 2009

There And Back Again

So... it's been a while since I've posted. Or, so I've been told. But I'm back.

Last weekend, I went with some of my belly-sisters (friends from troupe) to watch the Art of Belly Dance in Park City. Bellydance Super Stars was on tour! Live! In Utah! I've seem them on youtube, have several CDs, and have several friends with their DVDs. In total there were eight of us: Sadira, Ariel, Rihannon, J'adore, Araylia, Watara, Basima, and Nahia. This was the first time any of us had seen them live.

Sadira scored us some killer seats, and we had a delicious potluck dinner at her home before heading to the show.

The show was nothing short of amazing. Their movements and execution were sharp and on cue. The flutters, shimmies, and backbends left me tired and a bit green with envy. Maybe someday!

Isaam Houshan's magic fingers beat the drum and taught the audience call and respond rhythms. He would beat part of the rhythm out on the drum and the audience would finish the rhythm with claps and leg slaps. His drumming was passionate and beautiful--and you could tell he knew it too. Several of the belly dancers performed solos with the drum. I was surprised at how emotional the solos were. Some had me holding my breath, hardly believing what I saw. With others, I laughed out loud. They were able to draw me into their world.

Throughout the show, the superstars exhibited different types of dance showing the similarities in movement and execution. It was like listening to a Romance language conversation without personally knowing the language spoken. The different accents colored the movements, but similar forms, shapes, and motifs appeared.

One of my favorite pieces was performed by a ballerina and two tribal dancers. I had not seen ballet and belly in comparison like that before. The dancers were fabulous, but the movements were enlightening. The bellerina performed toe shimmies en pointe. She seemed to float effortlessly across the stage.

Another dance style performed in the show was hula. I had noticed the similarities between belly dance and hula while taking a hula class several years ago. It was beautiful here on stage with the dancers dressed all in red and their frenzied foot, arm, and hip work. They also performed a folk knife dance. One of the dancers tumbled and flipped.

Petite Jamilla spun us 'round, 'round. Several months ago, Halima taught a double veil workshop. I wasn't able to attend, but have attempted some double veil work on my own. Not smoothly and not very prettily, I must say. She began dancing with two veils. Beautiful turns and swirls of color.

Eventually another double veil dancer slipped Petite Jamilla two more veils. She continued to dance with four veils as effortlessly as she had with two.

Color showed from all four veils as she spun and twirled. Two more times other double veil dancers slipped Petite Jamilla their veils. In the background dancers spuns in skirts that reminded me of the tall mother from the Nutcracker that had all the children under her skirt. At the end of the dance, Petite Jamilla gently dropped one veil at a time until she held none.

The energy of the show was high. The colors were vibrant. The dancers were ripped and talented. There was only a twenty minute intermission. By the end of the show, I was not ready to head home. I wanted more.

Luckily, Basima and I helped us all score tickets to the after party at a swanky gallery on Main Street. While the dancers changed, we perused the art gallery and nibbled on chicken satay, parmesan artichoke spinach dip, taquitos, veggies, fresh fruit, sandwich pinwheels, salsa and chips, etc. They also had an open bar. I could have really gone for a water or soda, but to no avail.

First we met Zoe Jakes, a tribal dancer and one of the drum soloists, at the party. She introduced us to Samantha. Next we met Sonia, the ballerina/belly dancer. Before we left, we met Adore.

The night was still young, but we weren't sure how understanding the husbands would be if we kept their wives out all night.

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