When the magic happens

So much happened since I posted my last thing here! I danced on the showcase of Panache which was a lot of fun, we took Grand Sepia Taksim to Kansas and Ann Arbor and I had a blast last weekend at Hatije’s Hafla in Bloomington where more than 10 local belly dancers showed off their talents to live music from the awesome band Salaam. These few weeks left me with a lot of new ideas and humbled me into wanting to practice and improve more.

The hafla was simply amazing, such a joyful and welcoming atmosphere that is really rare in other performance venues. From the very first dancer, the audience was enjoying every moment of the show and they were not afraid to let the dancers know that. But they didn’t stop at being a great audience, as we were only three songs into the event and already everybody was up on their feet dancing! That’s what I call a party!

Originally I was slightly nervous about my set as I didn’t have time to finish my choreography for the second song. But as soon as I felt this cheerful, relaxed atmosphere, I stopped thinking about that. When my turn came, I just danced until my choreography was done and from there I jumped headfirst into the music. Thanks to the great musicians and the awesome audience, I got so carried away by the music that I couldn’t really recall my movements after finishing the set. I only remember how beautiful the violin solo was and how I completely lost track of time. It was wonderful!

I’m totally blown away by the power of this experience and I’m also humbled by it. I got incredible amount of positive feedback and it makes me happy beyond words that the joy I experienced was translating to the audience and I was able to share this magic moments with them.

I got a video of it – unfortunately the place didn’t have a great lighting for the dance floor, but at least it’s a glimpse of the fun we had that night.

Since then, I can’t stop practicing. I want to improve and I want to be able to re-create this wonderful experience in the future. What a motivation!

Back on the stage

After many months, I finally started having performances again. Actually it looks like my next month or two will be filled with dancing events, which is great! We are going to take Grand Sepia Taksim to Kansas and Michigan, I have a showcase at Panache Dance where I teach and there’s also a hafla being organized for November, so it’s time to get busy with choreography creating and of course practice, practice, practice!

Also, the last few weeks I had two amazing evenings when I could dance to live music. One was the CD release party of the band Salaam. It was a great show with a lot of talented musicians. The new CD is really inspiring, all original songs. You can listen to samples and download it here.

It was also a great opportunity to test run my new Joharah costume. I was really excited about it and also a little nervous, as you never know what can happen if you wear a new costume (even that I practiced in it before) but fortunately there were no accidents and I’m really happy about the new bedlah.

Istanbul Breeze is another local band playing Turkish music, and we had a lot of fun last Thursday evening at Django. I like that place as it’s really small and intimate, although I’m not sure if the waiters were very excited about having to watch out for a dancer spinning and waving her arms around while they try to move around with food and drinks.

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It was great fun and I’m super excited about the upcoming performances too! I’ll make sure and post about them as soon as I can. Wish me good luck, next weekend we’re going to Kansas!

 

Grand Sepia Taksim is going to Kansas!

Our piece got invited to the Electronic Music Midwest festival! I’m really thrilled and also getting nervous, as I didn’t have much chance to practice this summer. It’s time to get back to hard work so we can create an even better performance!

(check out the video of the premier in my previous post)

See you there in October!

Grand Sepia Taksim

So here’s the video of the premiere of this new piece at IU! It has been an amazing experience to co-create this sound/movement improvisation, and I hope it will keep leading us to new explorations! Enjoy!

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A Modern Music Project

Recently I’ve been working on an exciting new project: collaborating with composer Louis Goldford, we’re creating a piece of improvised music and dance. The music features samples from various folk music traditions, like Bulgarian accordion, Egyptian drum and Turkish baglama, blended all together throughout various electronic sound processing methods. The result is a dreamy, constantly changing flow of sound, and that’s what I dance to. But this way it would be only me following the music, so we have a little twist to that order, and we use motion sensors, through which I’m manipulating the sound too – thus creating a live “conversation” between the music and the dance, almost blurring the limit in between. Neither the music nor the dance is fixed, so Louis is controlling the sound samples and their different qualities while I improvise my dance. I’m listening to his changes and he’s watching my moves, so we’re equal partners in creating the whole experience.

The creation of the piece was a long and exciting work, lasting for months, from the first basic ideas through the collection of the music samples (almost all of them were recorded by Louis, mostly with the generous help of local musician friends), the complicated process of getting the motion sensors working in various ways, to the final shaping of the whole piece. Louis spent countless hours manipulating the samples and creating the spatialization of the sound – this piece was created for an 8-channel speaker system, so if you listen to it from the center, you can actually experience the sensation of sounds moving around you in space.

The piece is called Grand Sepia Taksim, and the first performance just happened this Monday at Indiana University. I believe it was a good debut, as just the next day we were signed up to be the closing number of a local event next week – the Women Exposed fundraiser, which we’ll be honored to join.

Here are some pictures of our rehearsals in the studio:

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The sensors, one on the hand, one on the hip:

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Video recording of our performance is coming soon!

Nine-fold craziness

Recently I fell in love with Balkan music (again). I’m inspired by that mystical zone where traditional Eastern-European folk music of various nations meets the amazing absorbing and transforming power of gypsy music… and the result is something that moves me more than any other type.

I’m especially crazy about music with odd meter. I remember that at first I found difficult to follow a simple seven-beat tune, and I had to keep counting “one-two-three, one-two, one-two” all the way or I’d get lost. But after a while I learned to love these special pattern, as I found them being more profound than basic “one-two-three-four”. So lately I’ve been exploring dancers and dances of these styles, and I’d like to share some of my findings with you, hope you will find the beauty in these too. Although it might take a while, this songs I’m posting here is in nine, Turkish-gypsy style. I recommend listening to the drums if you have trouble following the beat, and you can try to just find the main accents in the pattern, that can be easier than counting out the nine beat.

Enjoy!:)

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Happy Lunar New Year!

I’m a little late with this celebration, but still…. the year of the Snake has arrived! I personally prefer dragons more, but since snakes and belly dancers are old friends, I hope this year will bring a lot of happiness to us! Happy dancing!

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