Now I don’t want anyone to take this the wrong way – especially any of my troupe – because I know how hard they work and how much they want this. ..and because I want them to feel a tremendous sense of ownership in it. But here is a selfish thing I am going to admit: I choreographed Rockin the Casbah solely to please myself. I chose music I loved, I blended two genres that I love, and I did it just for me. Because I wanted to do it. Out of love. What a difference this one thing – creating something out of love – has made! This feels like the least stressful of all our theatre shows to date. Or maybe it’s because I’m arriving at a new place in my dance journey. Whatever the reason, with this show I feel that I finally have the confidence to say “this is a show I want to do for myself,” not because I feel I owe it to my troupe to give them a performance opportunity, and not because I feel I have to prove anything to myself or anybody else, or justify myself in any way. I started to feel this way with Raqs Farrah in 2009, and I think I am finally there with Rockin the Casbah. I am very thankful that the dance troupe and the band have bought into the dream and also love it, and want to do it with me! What would a choreographer be without dancers to set her work upon or musicians to provide the music? Mohamed El Hosseny said that one cannot call oneself a Choreographer until one choreographs theatre shows. I don’t know if I fully agree with that, but this is the biggest show I’ve ever done (literally! at one point we will have 38 people on the stage together) with what sometimes feels like overwhelming details to organize – and I feel confident with it and confident to give myself that title. And maybe this will sound odd, but with the confidence has also come a deep feeling of humbleness and gratefulness to everyone and everything that has come together to make this show happen.I also really feel like I am coming into my own as a performer with this show and I am especially excited about my solo pieces. Yes, I said “pieces” plural! I’m highlighting the soloists and the dance troupe in the show (of course!) – but this time – for the first time – I feel as though I am highlighting myself, too. It feels weird, and tell myself not to feel apologetic.
I have long wanted to do a duet with my friend Fawn, who is an amazing vocalist. And so she is singing a beautiful Etta James cover that I will dance to. And I have the most fabulously perfect dress to wear, thanks to my friend Maureen. Another piece of music I love is called “Raqs Bedaya.” I have had so much fun with this dance! This is a choreography that was created by a dancer named Jenna – I just love the dance, and have had a blast learning each combo and then being inspired to change & replace it with my own version. Pure 100% fun for me. No stress or worries – just dance. Another solo I’m doing is a piece I choreographed last fall and performed at Saqra’s Showcase in Oregon last year to an enthusiastic response. This is a song that Rebekah played on CD at band practice one evening last year which I immediately knew I HAD to dance to. So I’ve purchased the chart for the band, and they will play it in the show. The last solo piece I’m doing is the kitchen baladi that kicked this whole thing off with the SYIDA show last June. Each of the four pieces is completely different from the other. Each of the four pieces makes me laugh and smile in a different way. Each of the four pieces is authentically ME. No hiding, no pretending – just me, Nita, dancing for the sheer joy of it. Aiwa!