Archive for live music

spending summer dancing

We’ve been dancing all summer, what could be better!

In mid-summer we enjoyed participating with many beautiful guest dancers in a show all about VEIL DANCING, called “Reflections on the Veil“. It was amazing to witness each dancer’s gift of vision. Of course we offered our own group veil improv as well.

group improv with veils

Tribal Veil trio onstage at Reflections

I’ve also been incorporating Tribal Veil into class and the results are good – even for beginning dancers. It gives new dancers something to hold on to, and they love watching themselves in the mirror, swooping these large pieces of fabric through the air. Who doesn’t love veil dancing? Veils are iconic for bellydancers, and they’re a great workout too.

At Pennsic this year my student Siyala and I danced with Rajni and Jackie from Georgia, our dance sisters whom we see so rarely. We all were more than thrilled to have live drumming for our spot at the Middle Eastern Dance Expo; a sweet percussion band made up of our wonderful Orluk mates and guests. They were able to give us a dynamic range of tempos for our group improv set. Hooray Orluk!

dancers in garb at pennsic

backstage at the Expo!

Immediately after getting back from Pennsic, we were excited to dance at Tribal Cafe in Richmond, sponsored by the Bandit Queens. We did another tempo-dynamic set that was extra fun for me because the song begins with karkabas! I’m talking about “Sahara Caravan” by the Desert Knights. Very cool!┬áTribal Cafe was a lot of fun for so early in the morning! I hope to do it again sometime, we met great folks.

dancers onstage

Nandana, Lisa from NC, Shari Apple, and us after the show; lovely photo courtesy of Providence & Sterling

Then we were absolutely thrilled to be invited to “Tummy Tuesday”, a monthly hafla in Richmond. I LOVE Richmond dancers, they’re so friendly! The space was challenging but my dancers did amazingly well, I’m very pleased with their aplomb! We had a great time doing veil again, and of course finger cymbals. Good times!

dancers in beledi dresses

yes, we’re beledi tribal!

We have a few things coming up right here in town that should be fun too; what a great way to spend a summer – dancing!

Tribal on, dancers!
by Anthea (Kawakib)

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tribal veil improv to Raquy live – as a duet

Several years ago my former student Adara Janaani and I performed in Charlottesville (VA) to Raquy and the Cavemen. I have to commend AJ with having the guts to sign up for a performance to live music, which was something she had never done before! Below is a shot from our Drum Duet:

Kawakib and Adara Janaani dancing to live music

Duet to live drumming

A few weeks before the show, we picked Shashkin and Caravan for our music and choreographed a set that included an Entrance piece, Veil Dance, and Drum Duet. Rather than go with choreography for the whole set we decided to use Tribal Odyssey for the Veil segment.

Check out the video below: at 2:22 we go from choreography to duet improvisation. Actually, we knew we’d use the Veil Walk, a traveling combination, to circuit the stage etc. during the song’s transition from slow to fast tempo. So that’s partially choreographed; but from about 2:50 on – when we get in the “lead-and-follow” position together – it’s duet improvisation. We decided ahead of time that we’d each do two or three veil combos then change the lead… as you can see the Veil Walk is used for lead-changing too.

Tribaret Veil Duet (video)

This demonstrates something I tell my students: Tribal should serve us, not the other way around. TOBD has rules and guidelines, yes. But the format is meant as a path to follow, as a means to an end – the “end” being a joyous group dance experience. The format is not an end in and of itself. We’re not here to solidify it into something inflexible, written in stone. It’s to be used as we need it, and adapted to the different performance venues, locations, and contexts that we face.

This show is from 2005, before we started using Miramar’s formation of the Circle in Tribal Veil dancing. We began using that option a couple of years ago and I really enjoy having that extra element of variety in the format.

Of course this wasn’t the first time my students and I danced Tribal Odyssey to live drumming, but it WAS the first time we used TOBD in a professional showcase with live music.

And yes, we got paid!

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