Emma Dozier in "Ancient Ruins"

Dancing in "Ancient Ruins," choreographed by Nica Tran.

My second-to-most-recent dance performance was with Saffron Dance for their Casbah showcase at Georgetown’s Gonda Theater.

I’d only been practicing belly dance for about six months, but Saffron creates such a safe, beautiful, shimmyful space that they get you ready to perform right away!

It was also the first time I’d been backstage in a real-life theater in about a year. There’s something about tech and dress rehearsals that are just so magical… even though you’re seeing the “magic” of the theater in very non-magical real-life specific terms. As one of my fellow dancers with a background in theater said, it’s just so refreshing to sit back, know where you belong, and follow the rules.

The piece my group (Oriental 2 level) was in was called “Ancient Ruins” and was choreographed by the lovely and talented Nica Tran, who – like me – has a background in ballet and modern. I think because of this background, she created the most interesting piece of the show.

Belly dance is definitely a one-or-two-women-in-a-small-room performance art. But we were performing it on a stage. So Nica, at the beginning of her creative process, made sure we understood that our piece would technically be a belly dance-modern fusion.

We had a story: The ladies in green were the “Ancient Ruin” statues. The ladies in orange were the wind. The wind comes twirling in, wakes the statues, and we dance! This story line really added to our movement and gave us characters and stage personas to really work with. As a seasoned stage performer, it was easy for me to “turn on” and smile. But for some of my fellow dancers who were brand-new to the stage, I think Nica’s story-telling technique really helped them push their performance over the edge.

If you want a place to try dance for the first time, learn a new art form, work on your abs, or just have fun – then Saffron is definitely the place for you. Check it out if you’re in the D.C./Arlington area!

And find more images from the other pieces by our talented photographer (I wish I could find his name to credit him more specifically!) here: