In 2011 I choreographed and produced a full theatre production that featured the Big Band, the Saba Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble and ensemble soloists. If you’ve watched any of the videos I’ve re-posted about the show during the A-Z in April blog posts, you’ll have noticed right away that this was a really fun show.
Everything about it was fun!
Including this dance. And there is a story behind this dance (of course!). As you may know, I have quite an extensive DVD library. I often buy a DVD and then find that I already know the material. But that’s okay because even if the material isn’t new to me, I can glean a new perspective on it or find a different way of presenting the material in class. And I enjoy just putting on a DVD and dancing along … it’s nice to follow somebody else’s lead instead of being the leader all the time. Makes for good drills.
So anyway, at the back of one of these DVDs there was a very nice choreography taught to a song that I have liked for a long time called Raqs Bedaya off of one of the Yousry Sharif Wash ya Wash CDs.When I heard the song, I said “I know that song -I LOVE that song!” So I watched the performance. While the technical material was intermediate, the choreography that she tied it all together with was quite advanced.And I loved it! I absolutely loved everything about it! I loved her cheeky attitude. I loved her lightness of step and heaviness of hips.
I could see myself in that dance.
So … I learned it! I followed the chapters and learned the combinations one by one. While I was learning each combination, I allowed myself the freedom to change it as I pleased. In the end, parts are definitely Jenna’s and parts are definitely mine.
The piece is a hybrid of choreography that I had an absolute blast learning & doing. And – best part yet – it is a blast to dance! Fun fun fun!
The Big Band makes an interesting back drop, eh?
And of course there is the perk of being able to wear that outfit. Today, 4 years and 30 pounds later I don’t know if I could squeeze my big toe into it!
One of my favourite moments in the dance…a cute undulating backwalk, Saiidi style.
If you’ve made it this far, maybe you’d like to see the actual dance?
Raqs Bedaya from Rockin’ the Casbah, Act I: Casbah Cabaret. March 19, 2011.
I’m participating in the Blogging From A-Z challenge. One blog post for each letter of the alphabet, each day of April (except Sunday).