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).
C is for the Casino Opera Choreography!
The inspiration for this particular choreography was Badia Masabni, the founder of modern Egyptian dance as we know it today, and her famous nightclub, called The Opera Casino, which opened in Cairo in 1926.
Here, Egyptian dance was taken from street entertainment and chaabi (popular dance) and put on the stage in a theatre/nightclub setting for the very first time. Soloists began showcasing props and dancing in front of “chorus lines.” Another first, important for today’s modern bellydance troupes, was the beginning of choreographed ensemble dancing. For the first time, audiences saw groups of Egyptian dancers performing choreographed pieces together on the stage.
One of the very first choreographies I wrote for the dance troupe (Saba Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble) was inspired by Madame Masabni’s Casino Opera. This piece was written in 2002 or 2003. This performance was filmed in 2006.
I won’t criticize the work. It was an early attempt and pretty good, considering. Simple. But then, so were the early ensemble dances at Badia Masabni’s establishment.
I based the costume for the choreography on the 1940s style chiffon skirt and matching chiffon covered bra typically worn by Samia Gamal and other dancers of that era.
The music is Nebtiti Minin el Hikiya, from Jalilah’s Raks Sharki 5 cd.
Today is Random Thursday. Since I don’t have any quilting news, I thought I would finally get around to posting this choreography. This is my former dance troupe, Saba Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble, performing Beni wa Benak at the Yukon Arts Centre in March 2011.
I originally choreographed this piece as a tool for the advanced class to learn and practice particular movements & combinations (among other things such as being aware of facial expressions, theatricality, embellishments etc). The choreography itself is not performance art, but it has its place. As a performance piece it is best suited to an outdoor event such as a street fair or other event where the audience is milling about and stopping to watch the dancing for awhile before moving on. In this type of venue it is a perfect piece. Lots of movement, lively music, flash & glitter and the audience loves it. However, I included it in the Rockin’ the Casbah show mostly because I needed a filler piece. I adapted the dance to suit the theatre stage as best I could by having dancers join in from the wing mid-way through, adding variety and interest. Someday I’d like to revisit this piece with a troupe – I have ideas for the choreography that I simply didn’t have time to play with when getting ready for this particular show.
These costumes were well-suited to the piece and I love the way the skirts flare out when the dancers twirl. And get a load of Doug, our MC in the beginning of the piece. The audience loved him!
Last week Andra gave permission to upload her sword dance, and I am so happy to present it to you today! I am a very proud dance mama, and it thrills me to pieces to see how far my former students have gone.
Presenting Andrameda performing Beyond the Edge: abellydance/heavy metal fusionsword dance. Choreographed by Andrameda. Performed in Act 1: Rockin the Casbah, March 19th, 2011, Yukon Arts Centre.
I first heard this song at a show in Saint John New Brunswick in late 2000.
I was sitting in the audience, having finished both of my performances, all settled in and enjoying the show when this fabulously energetic music boomed out of the speakers, and in bounced this little dance troupe from Maine. They were 4 or 5 young women wearing yoga pants with matching fringe skirts and choli tops, and I was completely mesmerized. So mesmerized, in fact, that I actually still remember it, 13 years later! 🙂 They were beginner dancers, their choreography was simple and teetered on being over their heads, and yet they outshone many of the performances that I saw that night in sheer joy and enthusiasm. What they lacked in crispness and accuracy was more than made up for in the energy and excitement that they shared both amongst each other and with us in the audience. I no longer remember their choreography, with the exception of two movements: a cute little chest drop while pulling the hands down the front of the body, followed by pelvic drops with the same hand movement, which I changed around a bit and incorporated into my own repertoire.
Fast forward to 2010. I bought a CD at a workshop I was attending in Calgary, and just about fell off my chair when I heard that song start to play! According to the CD, the song was called Baba Mama. I was so excited that started to choreograph it right in that very moment.
Here it is, performed by Saba Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble. Choreography by yours truly. Watch for that little chest and pelvic drop with the pinch pull-down: I incorporated it into the choreography as little tribute to those lovely young dancers from Maine.