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Glade Dance Collective performs at the Phillips Collection.

Glade Dance Collective performs at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. Photo by Pink Line Project.

On Thursday, Aug. 26, I was luckily enough to perform with some members of Glade Dance Collective and drummer Names Thompson at the Pink Line Project-organized White Party at the Phillips Collection.

The White Party was one of many Phillips After 5 Thursday-night events, where drinks are served, various bands play and well-dressed guests mingle among art, artists and other good-looking people.

It was especially fun to perform at the White Party because we were integrated in the party both as guests and performers. The transitions between mingle time and dance-watching time were filled with us, in costume, simply asking for the guests to back up a little bit to watch us dance!

Sylvana Christopher Sandoz choreographed the Afro-Cuban inspired dance I was in, and it was glorious to be able to interact with the audience literally right in their faces with such a flirtatious and skirt-flipping dance. Names Thompson, our drummer (who also plays a kit for D.C. band Soul Brazil), added spice with his original music. It was such a treat to have a live musician!

The audience – artsy and chic – in a way didn’t know exactly what to do with us. The weird side of being able to dance in the audience’s faces was that I saw their reactions in exact real time.

During our first run inside the gallery, most of the reactions were somewhere between half-smiling confusion, is-it-okay-to-enjoy-this? and 75% joy.

Our second show was outside on the patio, where more drinks and mingling were happening than inside, so the reactions were more boisterous and even up to full 100% joy.

It was a fantastic evening. I plan on following all these up with related events:

  • Visiting a Phillips After 5 to see what other great artists will perform
  • Learning to samba Thursday nights at Eighteenth Street Lounge with Soul Brazil and their audience
  • Attending Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Caribbean classes at Joy of Motion

See a video of our performance at the Phillips Collection – and then check out the other view and outside location!

No kidding, thanksMany who like Dance like Music Facebook!

No standing, only dancing

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:
http://saffrondance.smugmug.com/Dance/Casbah-2010/12676321_cQDng#912143154_g

The New Deal at the 9:30 Club

The New Deal at the 9:30 Club with friends and I dancing like crazy in the crowd. Who wouldn't want to choreograph like this?!

Last night I started choreographing for realsies to The New Deal’s “Intro” (from their album Gone, Gone, Gone). I have about one minute done out of the three-ish.

(Note to self: Don’t take a shower and then choreograph in your door-closed-in-95-degrees-with-just-a-window-AC-unit room. Much sweating ensues.)

Challenges and dilemmas so far:

  • I don’t know how many dancers I will have. So far in the choreography I’ve been able to stay flexible – it will work for any number between three and six.
  • What do I call the piece? I always name my dances the same as the name of the song, because the music is 100% my inspiration. But I feel like I can’t have a piece titled “Intro”… can I?
  • How should I end the piece? The song flows in a very bouncy way into the second track of the album, the oh-so-awesome melody of “I Feel Love.”  I think I’ll have to use some digital magic to fade the song out on one of its vocal harmonies.

I’m really excited to dive into the next minute of the piece. The first minute is really just a slow build-up of mostly arms while each dancer moves with a unique sporadically-placed instrument sound. For the second minute I’m going to start with a big, wide-moving unison movement to match the perfect vocal harmonies, then start to play with some partnering.

I’m going to need dancers to play with soon! Yay!