"A Night in the Oasis"
Georgia photos by RoguePen.com
California photos submitted by Mychelle Crown
posted August 23, 2012
Over the years there has been one overwhelming trend that I’ve noticed from dance community to dance community in which I’ve been a part: the lack of opportunities for newer dancers who didn’t want to perform at a restaurant or at a festival.
There was even a lack of a platform for our seasoned professionals to be able to showcase their talents without the added pressure from participating in a competition or a major event.
Therefore, I decided to throw a new idea out there: Let’s find a location that isn’t a restaurant, and see if we can make an ongoing student and performance night for our students so everyone could have dance fun in a safe, welcoming environment. I asked Amy of Unmata if she’d be down for it, and she was excited to do so. Former assistant director Celeste and I found the Java Café, a cool coffee shop in Sacramento, California. We asked to take over an open mic night five years ago, and thus, “A Night in the Oasis” was born.
Our event evolved from a tiny community happening into a popular quarterly event, growing each year. When I migrated to Atlanta, Georgia, the one thing I knew I wanted to do was continue the tradition of producing “A Night in the Oasis.”
After moving to the Atlanta, Georgia, area, I found a location and attempted to get “A Night in the Oasis” going. Because I was new to the area, I spoke with a well-known local teacher and performer, Amani Jabril, and we moved forward with the event, trying to make it just as inviting as what I had been able to accomplish in California. The turnout at our first event was enthusiastic, but small. The search continued for a nicer and more convenient location with the ability to draw a larger crowd. After a year of searching, I enlisted the assistance of my new “partner in crime”, Mariana. We found the perfect location: Karvana, in Decatur, Georgia, right outside the Atlanta area. It’s a nice, if a bit small, cafe that has a stage built into the front corner of the building–perfect!–and within the vision that we wanted to create. In spring of 2012, we relaunched “A Night in the Oasis” as the new “Hafla at the Oasis!”
Our new “Hafla at the Oasis” featured 19 performances, ranging from student troupes to professional soloists and amazing duets. Dancers came down from Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as fantastic local talent. The cafe event attracted an astounding number of spectators, with standing room only, spilling out into the street, at times stopping traffic. Along with the manager, we estimated that we hosted over 200 people, including the dancers and the helpers! We couldn’t have hoped for a better response. With such an overwhelming response from the community, the owner and manager of the Karvana Cafe have invited us to have another event in the summer! We can’t wait to rock it out! This proves how much fun this event was for the area and how much potential for growth it has.
Hafla at the Oasis!
Decatur, Georgia, March 31 2012
Tami of Sherar
Jendayi Dance Company
Lacy’ s Students
Though I was saddened to leave Sacramento, California, and all of the dancers and the community I had helped to create, I was thrilled to know that it wasn’t going to go away! Not only had we been able to get Oasis going in Atlanta, Georgia, but Mychelle Crown, my good friend and dance diva buddy, has taken over the task of keeping “A Night in the Oasis” alive and well in Sacramento, allowing it to become a bi-coastal event! Here is a little bit from her last one in Sacramento, the tradition that was started:
“I am proud to carry on the event that Mina pioneered, "A Night in the Oasis". The name carries with it a reputation for a fun, supportive, well-run event that incorporates both new performers and the best of the local scene and all styles are represented. While we miss Mina so much, her version of the event continues to thrive in Sacramento; everyone looks forward to "Haunted Oasis" all year, and "Glam Oasis" is much anticipated as well. I play with the summer theme, and people are always excited to find out what it will be. We held Glam in February and I got emails about the next Oasis the very next day! It’s a great opportunity for the community to come together, enjoy dancing and produce a colorful show.”
The last "A Night in the Oasis" local dancer, Nyla Crystal, did a fantastic sword routine; also, duo ShupaDa danced to a remix from Chicago in burlesque-style costumes, while I contributed a classic Egyptian Cabaret piece. We had a few first-time performers who felt safe and supported (if jittery and nervous!) and a few guest stars, such as Yasmine of Sirens in Sanity and Sarah Lawrence from Paradise, California.
"A Night in the Oasis" is more than an average hafla, in the fact that it overtakes an open stage night at a cafe instead of a studio and more fun than a gala with the audience participation and easy going nature of the event, and I can’t say how much I love gathering with my community to continually produce and promote this amazing event. I thank Mina for allowing me to carry "A Night in the Oasis" on in California while she creates the tradition in Georgia."
As you can see, we have a strong sense of community in both of our areas and we are both happy to keep producing and performing in more events in our respective areas! We have started a Facebook community page to stay connected, share our event stories with everyone, and help the community as a whole flourish. A couple of weeks ago, we had someone mention how they would like to possibly start another of our events in the San Francisco Bay area, and all of us would like to see that happen!
We are looking forward to the time that "a Night in the Oasis" becomes a well-known name in the dance community for a fun, safe and entertaining place to come together and enjoy socializing with dance people and promoting better local dancing. We are out to conquer the dance world one hip shimmy at a time by making everything inspirational for students, teachers and professionals alike!
Sizzlin’ Sahara Oasis
Sacramento, California, June 17 2012
Cintia de Carvalho
Henna and Kohl Dance Company
Adriane,? , ?
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