beginning blades in bellydancing

What a whirlwind start to 2013! My PRISM Dancers and I have been working hard to refine a basic handful of group improv combinations using Swords! And we’re loving it!

Recently two of my dancers and I were able to debut the new “Tribal Odyssey Sword” at an out-of-town venue, the beautiful Alhamraa restaurant in Charlottesville (VA). From my point of view it went well, but having never actually seen it except in practise videos, who knows!

I’m still trying to keep these group improv combinations SHORT – eight counts – as much as possible.  If you don’t do group improv, it’s hard to explain; but I don’t feel that music can be interpreted very well with LONG combinations of 32 counts or more. Group Improv dancing should use shorter combinations so that dancers can adjust the movement quality to the music. But anyway…

The performance space was challenging: we were dodging a pole in the middle, and also trying to face, in effect, TWO audiences. The seating arrangement at Alhamraa actually splits the audience in half: the two seating sections were facing each other – half the people were on this side, and half on the other side; and nobody was in front or back. That’s odd, but not really unheard of.  Many restaurants that double as “dance venues” sacrifice much of the middle space to a dance floor, and thus end up with the audience lumped into two side sections. And when it’s a big room, it can be like dancing for two separate audiences! But I actually prefer it over dodging up and down in-between tables, in venues that are rectangular in shape. A dedicated dance space is something to be coveted – even if you have to put up with trespassing waiters!

So in our first set, which was all TOBD Group Improv, we opened with a Tribal Sword performance. We danced together using our dozen “Beginning Blade” Sword Combinations to my slow, ethereal chifti-telli song, “Streaming Winds”, about 4 minutes long. I really LOVED finally using that song in performance – it may be my favorite Tribe O song ever… well, up to now at least!

I’ve got to say it’s ironic we’re using that particular song, about a friendship gone cold (lyrics thanks to Shakespeare), when we’re finally dancing Tribal Sword… But that’s all I’m saying about that at this point. I only used it because I wanted to use my music to avoid copyright issues if we videotape; and also, that song is the perfect tempo. Although we didn’t videotape that night, we will be videotaping soon so I can offer the Sword Combos online as streaming videos – and I want my dancers to be as familiar with the music as possible.

Anyway, that’s my favorite Tribe O song at the moment. I’m glad we’ll be using it again this week, debuting our Beginning Blades IN TOWN! Yes, we’ll be dancing – with our blades – at the University of Mary Washington’s Multicultural Fair Saturday; a short show featuring mainly Egyptian dance and derivatives. I’m really loving Tribal Sword! It’s SO fun having new things to work on!

This is our Sword song, Streaming Winds.

album cover

celestial winds

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