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Ruben, Andrea, Trisnasari, Jeremiah, Rachel, Tim, Melusina, Suze
Gilded Serpent presents...
From the Land Down-under, Part 2:
Northeast and Canada

by Trisnasari
of Melbourne, Australia

part 1 here
After a train-ride alongside a raging river, waterfalls, and snow-covered mountains, I woke in Northern California at 6 a.m.! By 11 o’clock, Andrea, Mel and I disembarked at Klamath Falls and caught a bus to the Medford Airport, where we hired a car and thus began our Thelma and Louise style adventure across Oregon, Washington and into Canada.

We were fortunate to catch the famed Bellydance Superstars performing in Ashland, Oregon on Monday night. Since then, I have read some negative criticism of the show on web forums and newsletters, and while I can understand the criticisms, none of us felt disappointment. One might say that we were stunned and humbled.

The standard of dance was remarkable, the choreography superb, stage presences warm and enjoyable to watch.

Jillina is a real Superstar and Rachel Brice is incredible in the flesh and the costuming was tasteful and beautiful. It was our pleasure to watch an art form performed with such respect and skill. New school Tribal as represented by The Indigo is sensational to watch – organic, artistic and with all the wonder (and a bit of the grotesque) of a contortionist show and the street cred of a break dancing troupe. I’d seen the famed Rachel Brice on video only, and I’m happier having seen her live – she has an energy that doesn’t translate onto film."

The next day, we drove for nine hours across Oregon, the state of Washington, and nearly all the way to the Canadian Border. We stopped just an hour or so short of the Washington border, in a beautiful college town called Bellingham. We got into town an hour and a half before our first show with Solace, threw our costuming and make-up around the hotel room, drove to the venue and met the band face to face for the first time.

We appreciate the leap of faith Jeremiah Soto took by taking us along on the last leg of their tour. All he and his wife, Rachel Soto, had seen of our dancing was from our DVD. They provided the soundtrack for the lessons on our DVD and Melbourne’s Fingers of Fury covered one of their older songs for a performance the three of us did in front of the Victorian Arts Centre.

What is happening in Australia, is also happening in America.

However, in the States, it is all on a much grander scale. Cabaret and Tribal are the two main families and there is some exceptional conservation of Folkloric, Ghawazee, as well as Rom styles. One thing that is sweeping across the West coast of the U.S. (that is not yet so much a phenomenon in Australia) is the Gothic (or Goth) style– Rachel Brice and crew’s signature body popping and locking and those slightly grotesque, but at the same time beautiful and fascinating, contortionist shapes and postures.

Our last gig with Solace was in Oakland and we were sad to say goodbye. We had bonded instantly. They are fun, warm, hysterical people and we had a ball both on and off stage. We had found our people on the other side of the globe! Therefore, it was with pleasure that before our last performance, we discovered that someone was already performing to “Wither my Lotus Flower” and we would have to dance by improvisation. The live jam consisted of a beautiful oud taxim by Tim Rayborn, with which I was lucky enough to perform.  Andrea improvised a fun, very Egyptian looking maqsoum and saiidi performance, building to a spectacular drum solo by Melusina accompanied by the exceptional percussionist Ruben Van Rompaey. Notorious Suze, the fifth member of Solace Live, made our last performance memorable with her signature on stage antics and hysterical banter.

Thus, the second of our adventures ended.

Part 3 coming soon!

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