Dancing to music by Ritim Egzotik last weekend was such a treat! If you haven’t checked them out in Portland, you should. The bonus? They are usually playing for a bevy of beautiful belly dancers, as was the case last Sunday night at the Hawthorne Theater Lounge. Here’s a little video from my performance. I have not danced to live musicians regularly, but I hope that will change now that I’m living in Portland. It really changes the dynamic of my dancing and keeps me even more present in the moment. It’s magic, really.
I came across this on the web the other day and it gave me pause. What makes an artist an artist? By definition (Webster’s) an artist is someone who ‘professes and practices an imaginative art’ or ‘a skilled performer.’ It can also mean ‘one who is adept at something.’ These definitions deserve consideration. As dancers, are we artists because we are imaginative and creative beings, or does it take more…the honing of skills over time, combined with our creativity, before we are truly artists? We are all creative beings. Does that make us all artists?
In some respects, I would say yes. There is an artist in each of us and that part of us deserves to be nurtured and expressed. But to publicly call and market oneself as an artist requires more (which is why I am considering this question to begin with.) Do I qualify as an artist? Creative type, yes. Experienced, indeed. Professional…ARTIST…maybe. Let’s just say I’m working on it.
You see, I think a professional artist is someone who connects to others emotionally through their art. You catch their attention, through sound, shape, form, color, words, rhythm, or movement and touch an emotion within them. You connect with that emotion inside of them and draw it to the surface. Not everyone can do this. I’m not sure it can even be learned. But I’m exploring. Hoping. And continuing to grow both technically and emotionally. Growing and evolving into what I hope will one day be called “artist.”
Speaking of upcoming performances…this monthly show in Portland is not to be missed! Hosted by Elise, Endymienne, & Jen of Narcissa Productions, Bellydance Uncorked is a unique evening showcase of varied talents! Every last Saturday at Vino Vixens, the Bellydance Uncorked show is an opportunity for the entire community to mingle, sip wine in a luscious, intimate wine lounge, and be enthralled by the myriad of burlesque, fusion, dancehall, hoop, tribal, fan, belly dancers and musicians the region has to offer. The Bijou Project is very excited to be joining the all the lovely and talented dancers this month. Why not make a road trip and join us for the show? Who needs more than one reason to visit Portland?
Learn more about the show here!
This is made of awesome! Join the High Desert Bellydance Guild as they host Samantha Riggs for two amazing Bollywood & Bhangra workshops and an exciting Gala evening show! Workshop and Gala show details are below.
Workshops & Gala on Saturday, May 7th @ the Performing Arts Center
1155 SW Division Street, Bend
10am-noon: Temple Bollywood – Train your body to project emotion through the use of Indian postures and classical hand positions. Learn to perform a “Bollyasana” that can be used as either a warm-up or as a performance piece. Great for all types of dance styles and levels.
1:30-3:30pm: Bollywood via Punjab – Learn a spirited new choreography by Samantha, specifically geared to give a taste of both styles. Learn steps, hand positions and poses from the Bollywood style and how to transition into the athletic exuberance of Bhangra.
7:00pm: Gala Evening Show: “High Desert Bollywood” featuring Samantha Riggs & Portico
Workshop fees: Pre-register for $35 per workshop or $60 for both – Drop-in /day of workshop $40 each or $70 for both
Gala Evening Show tickets: Pre-pay: $10 for members, $12 non-members online: brownpapertickets.com (service fee) or $15 at the door.
Please contact Rasha to pre-register or for more information.
I’ve heard belly dancers compared to Magpies (my favorite desert bird, btw.) since we share a love of shiny, sparkly things. With that in mind, I thought I’d share some of the things am excited about today–my sparkles, so to speak.
The High Desert Belly Dance Guild’s Spring Showcase is this Sunday, downtown at Common Table. I haven’t missed one of these showcases yet because they are always so much fun! I usually perform, but this time I’ll be enjoying the show as a spectator. Looking for something fun to do on a Sunday night? I highly recommend attending!
Last night I started choreographing a song for Saqra’s Showcase at the end of this month. I’m a last minute sort of gal when it comes to choreography, but I’m getting better about giving myself more time. I’ve got something new up my sleeve for Mezdulene’s Belly Dancer USA competition in June, and I’ll need to do some shopping at Saqra’s event. The vending there is always excellent! Can’t wait to watch hours of performances and catch up with friends at the event!
Tax refunds! I got a refund this year so I’ll be able to register for JamBallah Northwest this week. I’m so excited to have an event like this in Portland again. Yay! Yay! Yay! What’s not to love about a “wild weekend of bellydance and fusion?”
Students can be such a joy and inspiration! The video below is a group of my most recent students performing a fan choreography at the High Desert Bellydance Guild’s Student Showcase at the end of February. I am such a proud bellydance mama!
In February I got to see my dance partner, Samara, at Reigning Down on Oregon, hosted by the fabulous Zephyr ladies in Salem. We reunited for our first performance in almost 9 months, since she had her daughter and moved from Oregon to Washington. It was such a joy to dance together again!
First Friday Art Walks have been lots of fun lately with a variety of musicians and dancers collaborating at Azura’ Studio 22nd Century Self Healing Center. The event is organized by Kathy Stahlman, Director of Tribal Moon, and features a different theme every month. The musical backbone has been Imzadi Tribal Music, but we’ve had special performances by Julie Southwell, and Fiesta Flamenco as well. You can see photos by Nils Eddy here.
And last, but not least, I’m loving my Daily Bellydance Quickies (DBQ’s) with Mahin. If you haven’t signed up to receive yours, check them out, then sign up! I’m always getting new ideas for drills and practice techniques from these.
Just a few photos from the recent High Desert Bellydance Guild Winter Showcase at Silver Moon Brewing Co. on Jan. 16th. It was a great event, with many wonderful performances and a very supportive crowd! You can check out all the photos from the show here. The showcases only happen four times a year, so check out the next one in April at Common Table!
I’m really excited that Sahara is bringing Rachel back to Bend for another workshop and performance! She’s an amazing entertainer and instructor and did you see her abs? Really!
The evening show features Rachel, of course, but also other dancers from across Central Oregon and even from across the state! I’ll post more on exactly who will be dancing when I find out from Sahara herself. I’ve already started preparing my set and practicing! Hope to see you there. Email Sahara for more information, but hurry! Special ticket pricing ends August 31st.