Sunday, 21 July 2013

Gothla UK Comedown - it begins!

Just got home after a weekend spent embracing my darker side in Leicester, and how shattered am I?

I landed in Leicester on Friday lunchtime, dumped my bags at the hotel, and then spent a blissful afternoon trawling every charity shop in the city centre, plus stopping in at the Freaks Mecca that is Top Girl (top floor of the Haymarket, for anyone who has a lycra hotpants shaped hole in their life) to buy a fan (vital accoutrement for a weekend at Gothla) and a pair of harem pants.

Cunningly, my hotel was right opposite the venue for the Friday night showcase, so I got suitably dolled up (the dress code is the more outre the better, but at 30c in the shade, PVC and crinolines were abandoned for a cotton dress and a slick of lippy) and got there just in time to join the massive queue to get in. Fail.

I didn't take photographs of any of the showcase this year - past experience has taught me that there is little or no point, and besides, I was too busy watching. It was compèred by my troupe-mate and all round awesome chick Charlotte, who did a cracking job, and kept things ticking along nicely.

Highlights are probably too many to mention, but they include a gorgeous Shui Xiu piece (Chinese long sleeve dance) by A Liuba Layali. I've never seen this style before, and was captivated by the grace of it. It also made me wonder what sort of rehearsal space she had - those sleeves need a lot of space!

Heike and Elin did a lovely duet which really complemented their individual styles. Elin is known as the Arctic Fairy, and looked suitably fey and ethereal, dancing with two lit candles. Heike is a statuesque dancer with a strong, powerful stage presence, and the duet really made the most of their differences. Loved it.

Darkstar performed an intricate, super locky and funked up dance to a Korn track, while Bex brought the 'billy back with her mix of creepy goth undulations and crazy fast horror psychobilly. Organiser Alexis duetted with my teacher Dawn in a sort of warped sister act, and the rest of Team Gothla appeared for a high energy take on Black Sheep improvisational style, accompanied by much baa-ing from the audience.

Ariellah opened the show with a dark, dramatic and technical solo. I think it speaks volumes for her impact on the Tribal Fusion scene that a good half dozen dancers throughout the weekend credited her as a main inspiration. She later sat at our table to watch the remainder of the show,and was vocally supportive of all the performers. Always nice to see a big name who is not too posh to clap!

Costume-wise, the burlesque trend is on the wane, and cabaret stylings are making a come-back! Yay! Dawn and Elis Pinheiro were both in cab style costumes, and as a sparklehound at heart, I appreciated the return of the glitter. Raqs Fusion Factory and De Nova Luce also had a hint of sparkle in their costumes, and I liked the way it contrasted with their fierce dancing.

Morgana was sublimely indifferent to costume trends, and wouldn't you be too if you looked that good in leather? Paige Lawrence (of Tribe Uru, no less) also went for leather in the form of a cropped vest -a great choice for a guy, showing off his ab and hip work but also bringing a hard edge that matched his moves.

By the end of the night it was sweltering in the theatre, and those of us with fans were very popular. Rumour has it that the lovely Fulya was providing fanning services for those damsels overcome by the heat - not sure if this improved the overall temperature or not though!

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