Life til now

erykah badu concert 2013When sleeping women wake, mountains move. Women heal, women help, women sing, women dance, women create, women love and women protect. Happy International Women’s Day every day.

This entry is dedicated to all you badass women and the men who know it.

The past couple of months have been pretty busy dance-wise. Serpentina North Ensemble performed at Reveal Me, a monthly event by Red Herring Burlesque that sometimes allows performers to keep their clothes on. We were one such act in Febuary’s edition of this sultry show. And damn what a show it was! After our number we made our way to the audience –sexy, classy, trashy, crass and hilarious. All bases covered on a Wednesday night…

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March also brought with it an opportunity for Sugar Shakers to dance to Tia Brazda live at the Valentini Blue Cabaret. Held at the swanky Capitol Theatre, this event raised funds for cystic fibrosis. Tia Brazda and her band put on an awesome show and dancing to her song “Too Crazy” live was a serious treat –really looking forward to any future collaborations with this lady. She’s hit the electroswing scene here in Toronto as well, bringing down the house at the ElectroSwing Club a few months back.

In early March I completed the Darkside Studio Basic Black intensive. It was an interesting four days of not only drilling movement but also included anatomy, music theory, zylls and history of tribal fusion dance. Although I’d been to many Darkside events over the years and participated in shows and workshops, this was the first time I’d actually had an opportunity to learn from Audra. I got a lot out of it, it was comprehensive and helped me think about some foundational stuff in new ways. Here’s something I wrote after the four days…technique nerds, for your eyes only:

“There was a definite theme running through most I’d the traveling drills in the basic dark side intensive.That theme was weight transfer…that when my feet aren’t sure if where they are in relation to the movement, the movement most often looks sloppy even if the isolations themselves are precise muscularly. The unsure step creates a weak foundation visually as well as structurally…” (Sandy Watters)

Oh there’s more writing on that but the nerd alert is over, sorry. One of the things I love about dancing is the magic of learning (and re-learning) these lessons on a visceral level. You can read it a million times and it may translate into your body, but when you move and your body learns something, its a beautiful physical infusion. I know you know what I mean…

Darkside Basic Black intensive feb 2013 Here we all are at the end of the weekend. Belly-blissed out.

At the end of the intensive was testing and I can now say I’m certified in the Darkside Dance Program Basic Black. I’m hoping to be able to add in some classes there this summer and possibly to the Lavendar intensive come fall. Big thanks to Audra for being a gracious, patient, dedicated and skilled teacher.

Shortly after I found myself back at the Darkside Studio for a Fireside Chat on jewelry and adornment. There was amazing collections of various pieces from across time and space, and we were schooled in some tribal adornment from various regions across Asia and Africa.

Fireside chat 2013_darkside      biiiig earrings    fireside chat_adornment 2013

I was particularly interested in the ear weights and there are some ear pieces hanging on the studio wall that I always look at when I go in –Audra was gracious to let me try them on. We are not sure where these are from, other than a hill tribe (somewhere) in Asia….if anyone knows, please tell me.

Darkside studio 2013  It was delightful to sit and ogle beautifully crafted jewelry and learn a bit about where it came from. I have always loved jewelry, and adornment has been one of my chosen forms of self expression for as long as I can remember. I had been planning to do an entry featuring some of my favourite and most unique pieces from my own collection. Keep your eyes peeled.

Loving this photo of Jaene, myself and Victoria listening intently.

And then. Oh finally. There was the Erykah Badu concert. I’ve waited so many years and finally, with my sisterfriend Shaila went to see Ms. Badu live. With that kind of buildup there’s a risk of disappointment. But no, she did not let us down. She was touring for the 16 year anniversary of Baduism and was alternating shows between that and Mama’s Gun. The Toronto show featured the latter with of course the kind of variation on the originals you would expect from such a dynamic singer. Rather than recount the show I’ll share with you the reflections made by me and my pen at home after the show:

erykah badu 2013 at koolhaus

When you watch a performance or enjoy a piece of music, a little bit of it is yours, you claim a piece of the experience that has now been a shared one. She looks out into the crowd and we all think ‘she’s looking t me’. …’she sees me’.  An artist that can do that is truly an expansive performer. She gives and gives and she knows that a piece of her has been transferred into the group, the crowd, the person…she may not know who you are but she sees you. I strive to be the kind of performer who makes people know they are seen, that they  –we — are having a shared experience. They should have no doubt that they are a crucial part of this moment. That’s how I felt at the Erykah Badu show last night. (Sandy Watters)

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The second annual Fedora Upside Down Masquerade happened a few weeks ago and it was even bigger and better than last year. With its new venue, the Great Hall, it was a truly festive vibe. Amazing live music from across the globe as usual…a vast array of talented music makers. Victoria, Jaash and I performed a drum solo and people went wild for it. Love this pic of the three of us that Jaash’s friend shot. Had a great time being a part of this event and I have to say one of the most enjoyable group of performers to share a green room with. Amazing music everywhere.

Jaash has been doing a series of percussion for bellydancers which I have been playing zylls in. I miss really rocking out on the zylls so it was great and fun to watch other dancers move to our music. Check his site for more of this.

Last weekend I went to watch, yes you guessed it, more bellydance at the Dragonfly Studio event, Majlis. It was an ode to some dancers of bygone eras where each dancer performed in the style of Jamila Salimpour, Fifi Abdo, Aida Nour, Mona El Said, Soheir Zaki and Nagwa Fouad. There was also a slide show featuring some bellydance costuming history.

The countdown to Cues & Tattoos –One week exactly til Seattle! All is booked, have a place to stay in both Seattle –then Portland for our post-C&T adventure. Here’s my dance itinerary:

Fri  9:30-12:30 “Dynamics in Time” with Mira Betz                           1:00-3:00 “Thick and Juicy” with Rachel Brice

Sat  9:30-12:30 “Layering of Consciousness in Improv” (Mira)    3-6pm “Datura Vocabulary in Group and Solo Improv” (Rachel)

Sun – 9:30-12:30 Smoke and Mirrors: Spellbinding Slow Phrases and Fluid Footwork (Rachel)    3-5pm  FCBD: ATS Floorwork

And then there’s Portland, the plan is to hit up a few classes at Datura as well as with Gypsy Caravan. And of course I can’t wait to experience the Saturday Market I keep hearing about. Every vegan bellydancer needs to visit Portland once in her life, right?!

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