Monday, 21 February 2011

Of Solos and What Not to Do

So Saturday saw me making my debut solo appearance, albeit under my real name rather than this one, and announced by a compère who sounded as though she'd just found a large turd in her costume bag. Enthusiasm, folks, it ain't just for Turkish dancers!

All in all it went surprisingly well! I hadn't realised how much improv technique i've imbibed over the past two years; there were several sections where I just dumped the choreo and went for something that felt better. I didn't stand on the veil (much), and despite the photo I did not whip it around at warp speed. My head band fell off during the last chorus, and had to be elegantly tossed off stage, and my necklace fell off while I was bowing, but considering some of the costume malfunctions I've had in the past, (stockings falling down, belt falling down, knickers falling down... gravity is not my friend) this was no big deal. And I remembered to smile occasionally- my troupe mates were in the corner, and they had threatened to do the 'hip hop gorilla move' if I didn't keep looking up and out at the audience.

Which reminds me. When did teachers stop telling their students to smile and make eye contact? I was in a troupe Turkish piece as well, and my teacher's last words as we went on stage were 'tits and teeth!'. As you can see, we did at least try to take her advice!
Cheesy, perhaps, but a good reminder, especially for those who default to a look of fierce concentration when dancing. I've seen some lovely soloists perform recently, but what really stood out about their performances was the way they stared fixedly at the floor with a look of utter misery on their faces while the rest of their body performed. Is that really the lasting impression you want to give your audience?

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Note to Self

When designing a fabulous new skirt to wear for a Turkish piece, and bearing in mind your teacher's advice to 'split it up to here', it might be advisable to put said split over the leg without the giant purple scars.

Just saying.

Fortunately, being blessed with junk in my trunk and in my, um, hood? (by which I mean I got a double helping in the stomach department) most of my costumes react well to being turned back to front!

Saturday, 12 February 2011


No, i'm not dead, although recently I've wished i was. Norovirus+IBS=a very unwell Lilith.

This week I was finally back to normal and was back in work (boo) and back in class (yay). My awesome teacher has been working us hard on a new piece in the 'Turkish Cheesecake' style. It's incredibly naff, all coy little level changes and flirtatious smiles, and I love it very hard indeed. It also begins with a very short and sweet veil piece, which makes a vital refresher for me because...

Not only did I bite the bullet and sign up for a solo spot at the next hafla, I decided to go all out and do a veil piece, seeing as i now have a stupendous new orange veil (the dye worked, but it needs an iron before I photograph it).

Unfortunately in order to perform with a veil you need to practise with a veil, and that's where's I've hit a snag, literally. My house is currently being renovated, and every room is full of dust and displaced furniture in roughly equal proportions. Couple that with a dog who thinks all forms of moving draperies are a new chew toy, and my practice opportunities have been seriouly limited.

I've resorted to turning up to class early, and running through the whole thing in the empty hall before the rest of the class arrive, but on Wednesday my teacher caught me and made me do it over again so she could see. Naturally, it was on that run through that I got my foot stuck in my veil and had to hop around ungracefully trying to free it. Of such moments is bellydance comedy made. That aside, it got a good reception and I was pleased with how it felt to be able to use the veil fully and put in the travelling moves I have to leave out at home.

So I'm feeling a little under-rehearsed, but otherwise quite excited. It's been a while since i set foot on stage, and I miss the buzz!