Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cyborg Dance Projekt: Weeks 11 & 12....full shimmy ahead!

My beat up FCBD bag with my TENS unit
Photo description: A cream colored, multiply stained, but visibly used & abused tote bag that says "Fat Chance Belly Dance, Devyani Dance Company" in magenta text,  "Tribal Pura" in orange text with a green and design in the middleMy TENS unit sits on top of the bag with a cord stretched out of the picture.  The screen reads "18.0" on the left and "0.0" on the right.

This has been an interesting couple of weeks in the Projekt.  For the most part, I've been sticking with my three classes a week (sometimes missing one of them due to exhaustion or too much pain), but it's just been busier overall.  I've also made a point of playing my doumbek several times a week, even if it's only for a few minutes.

My studio hosted Project Shimmy, a world dance show that raises money for the Triad Health Project, a local HIV/AIDS support organization.  I volunteered at the check in and ticket desk, and got to see some amazing dancers from throughout North Carolina.  Sara Beaman (a wonderful woman who offered to give me a private lesson to figure out my cyborg biomechanics....and a phenomenal performer), Emily Beaman, Xavier Shadowdancer (my Sunday night intermediate cab teacher), Torque (the professional troupe that is based at Twisted Dance), Nandana, and a bunch of other stellar folks.  Not only was it an awesome show to watch, but really got me back in the mindset that I needed to bring my dancing back to at least a semi-professional level.

The other big thing was an Autumn Dance Salon and Drum Jam in Winston-Salem, NC.  Issam Houshan, an internationally acclaimed tabla (another name for a doumbek) player was offering workshops on drumming and zilling, plus there were three dance workshops of them was a tribal fusion workshop taught by Tina Marie, a former member of UNMATA (one of my dance inspirations).  My partner paid for me to be able to take one drum workshop, one dance workshop (all that my spine would really allow for anyhow), and the show that evening.

Let's just say it was an amazing day.  I woke up feeling absolutely awful due to pain and not enough sleep, but the chance to learn drumming techniques from Issam pushed me to get there.  He is an amazing teacher, spent time making sure that all of our doums, teks, and kas sounded right (he even gave me some personal attention to get my small hands in a better position for the ka).  I had a few fangirl moments like when he borrowed my drum to show differences in drum sizes (*squee* Issam held my drum!).

Between the drum and dance workshop I was signed up for, I had some time to chat with people, look at the shiny things people were selling (I splurged on a pair of leopard print pantaloons that another dancer was parting with for $15, thus making myself broke for the rest of the month...but worth it....because leopard print).  I was a little sad that I wasn't doing the zill workshop with Issam, but I knew that a few of my friends from the studio were in there.

The tribal fusion workshop with Tina Marie was great as well.  My body was still angry at the world at large, and even more miffed that I'd spent an hour and a half perched on the end of a too-tall-for-me chair with no back support, but I got through without any real spine issues.  We did some neat layering exercises that actually kept me from making my basic moves too big, then learned an ITS improv move that I've always loved from UNMATA (this video has the move at approximately 4:15...the video does have strobe lighting, so be careful if that bothers you).

After the workshop, I had lunch with Sara and Tina Marie.  It was cool to chat about all sorts of dance things, experiences, and whatnot.  We went to Tina Marie's house so she and Sara could prepare for the show, chatted about costuming, makeup, music (I now have a possible song candidate for the Cyborg Dance Projekt performance!), even a little bit about work versus dance conflict.

The show itself was a lot of fun.  I realized that ATS, tribal, and fusion were less common in this part of the state but it seemed really well received.  There was a variety of skill levels and styles, which sometimes makes a hafla more interesting to watch (it feels more like a community dance party than a show).  Issam drummed for one of the dancers Paula, and continued to drum for the drum jam after the performances (that I didn't stay for because I was almost out of spoons and I had a half hour drive back home).

What was really poignant for the day was the number of times people told me that they were sad that I wasn't performing that really made me feel like a wanted part of the local dance scene!  What a much needed ego boost!

Between dancing and drumming, I'm full shimmy ahead to week 13 of the Projekt!  Aiwa!

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