in a Rhode Island Summer
June 22, 2007, Performance in Tiverton
Island unrolled a small portion of its sidewalk this June
in order to allow a group of performance artists to entertain
a willing (if un-accustomed to ethnic style dancing) audience.
Hosted by Barbara
of The Dancing Spirit, this event was fun because
of its lawn-party atmosphere; the picturesque small harbor
view was the perfect venue for this family event! The performers
comprised an eclectic group that presented varied types
of dance. With only one of each of the different styles,
the show moved along swiftly.
hostess began by dancing to a drum played by Eddie
Thacker and Bella Donna, accompanying
them on her finger cymbals. The bantering back and forth
made for a delightful opening piece.
came "Off the Curb", a Hip Hop dance group. Under
the direction of Jackie Henderson, these
girls did an interesting routine using many of the company's
hostess' students, ranging in age from 12 to 68, performing
their teacher's original choreography to the drumming of
Eddie and Bella Donna. It ended with a surprise. The group
ran to the end of the boat dock and back with "flying
veils". This was a stunning visual of silk veils and
snug harbor scenes with the wind blowing both sail and veil.
the Curb" returned to dance a set of moves to a Reggae
dancing as part of the event
veils on the dock
next dancer was astonishing! She was Rosie Speck,
dancer, and daughter or Providence's own Kristie
Speck. At only 12 years of age, she is one of the
most self-possessed and focused young Belly dancers that
I have had the pleasure of watching. "So You Want
to Move" was the name of her music, and young Rosie
danced it with all the breaks in all the right places.
of African dancers, along with two talented drummers, Sedu
Coulibaly and Sidi of Mali, performed
next. Michelle Bach Coulibaly is the teacher,
and one of the dancers was her own twelve-year-old daughter,
Asitan. The three young women performed
for over ten minutes, expertly rendering a high-energy dance
that I heard had Maori origins. The costumes seemed to denote
a young Belly dancer from Portsmouth, Rhode Island danced
next. She is a living statue down at our Waterfire, in Providence,
and showed us how Belly dance looks when performed to the
music of the band, “Nine Inch Nails.”
that modern work was an ancient-style one. Bella
Donna bestowed a veil dance upon her audience in
“old style.” The wind, a constant part of the harbor scene,
enhanced her beautiful antique-looking veil. The sun had
begun to set, and though gorgeous, the area became significantly
chilly. (Welcome to our Rhode Island Coastal Region!) Consequently,
we all moved into the studio's indoor space, and everyone
who remained a part of the audience cuddled on pillows.
some emails after my dance! One of them said: "Graceful
and passionate." Another said, "You performed
an intricate and theatrical Gypsy skirt dance; I have not
seen one in a long time!" "I thoroughly enjoyed
that Balkan tale of love gone wrong."
the performance part of the festivities, our hostess climbed
upon her doumbeck and danced a lively drum solo that Bella
Donna played expertly. Barb briefly duplicated the Tito
trick of turning the drum around in a circle with her feet.
As her grand finale, Barb shared "Obsession" (one
of her first Flamenco fusion choreographies).
to Balkan Music to complete our evening.
enter, including Samara in black
of my few complaints was that there was no clear break during
which to enjoy the food—non-stop mezza. Another complaint
was that there were no curtains on the dressing room windows,
and the ones to the studio were extremely flimsy. Since
this is a new venue for Barb, I imagine she will attend
to these details in the future, and hopefully, she will
have a right side safety railing built for the steep stairs
from the studio deck down onto performance lawn. The existing
stairs were treacherous!
family event, fun for old and young alike, I would highly
recommend this type of event for summer fun.
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
Inconvenient Body Truth by
here I am now, having worked very hard to learn as much as possible
to master my body, invest in the costumes, and—Bam!—suddenly,
menopause has hit me!
40 Days and 1001 Nights by Tamalyn
it as a book in which I would travel to five Islamic countries
and live for 40 days in each, writing about my experiences. When
I was traveling in Indonesia, one of my friends wrote back "You
need to be filming this!" I did, and a musical documentary
film was born
Dance of Power by Kathreen Saab
The sensual is from the realm of the magical, the psyche, rather
than the physical.
The Summer School of Khaleegy Dance,
Dance Style from the Saudi Arabian Penninsula, by Yasmina
“moral police” and hotel security watched every move
I made. All my phone calls were monitored. I was not allowed to
talk to or get into an elevator with an Arab man.
Part Two of Antique Textiles:
Costuming Before the Reign of Egyptian Costumers by Najia
view today’s dance values as interlopers—meant to
mitigate Belly dance’s checkered past by exchanging its
innate free emotional expression for speed and difficulty of execution
and an over-the-top outpouring of energy that is neither sensual