I have lost count of how many solo performances I have done over the years, but every now and again some stand out as being extra special for various reasons.
When I first started dancing I thought every performance had to perfect. This was probably due to my Ballroom Dance competition days. But experience has taught me that it’s often those quirky or unexpected elements or people that you meet that make a performance stand out as being special.
So here’s a breakdown of my top five character favourite performance, the story behind them and of course a link to view them, as not all are publicly available on YouTube.
You may already know that I’m an actress, so I love creating a character performance. These are mostly performed in front of an audience already familiar with belly and fusion dance, although I’ve also modified a few for the ‘public’.
My first proper character was ‘Roxie’ from the musical Chicago, which I first performed at Arabesque Night’s in London in 2012! I was recently asked to revive her, which went down a storm at a private gig in London. I changed the routine slightly, as I mostly like to improvise anyway, but also because I felt my technique had improved quite a bit since then. The feedback from the crowd was amazing, but most all I remember a shy girl who came up to me afterwards and said she felt so inspired, because she never thought of using her ‘belly dance’ skills to create something like that.
You can view the All that Jazz performance here.
If Roxy is my Dark Angle, then ‘Bugsy’ is the anti-dote, and it all started with a pair of sparkly shoes! I wanted to wear them for a performance, and when I then was asked to perform at the last ever Arabesque Night, which took place in Chiswick in December 2016, things began falling into place for this Bugsy Malone tribute.
The performance itself was special for many different reasons. I had only given birth earlier that year, so regaining the strength, time and mental space to pull it all together was a challenge. I remember breast-feeding the little one in bed, whilst shopping for the costume bits online. It really didn’t feel very glamours then… I performed alongside some truly wonderful dancers, including Lorna of Cairo, who kept calling me her Christmas Angle and an amazing performer.
But most of all, I remember this for the look on Yvette Cowle’s face. The pure joy on my fellow dance friend, teacher and mentor will always stay with me. This was also the last time I saw her in my audience, as she lost her battle with cancer the year after.
You can view my Bugsy performance here.
My Highland Belly Dance Fusion was another crazy Arabesque Night performance, which came together by coincidence. I was asked to perform at their January Hogmaney show, and whilst wondering how to fit the theme, I heard a song by one of my favourite Nova Scotia performers, Ashley MacIssac.
I met him several year’s ago at one of the biggest Folk Music Festivals in Toender, Denmark. He was such a humble guy, but like a devil when performing on stage. Not sure what I was thinking when I was giving him violin tips, because I was playing the instrument myself back then! Anyway, I found his album and did my first ever highland belly dance fusion…
You can view my Highland Bellydance Fusion here.
It’s not very often that I have video of my veil and wing performances, as I tend to do those at private gigs and functions, but I’m glad I’ve got one of each to share with you here in my top five performances.
The first is the veil performance I did at Fantasia Festival in London, 2017. I was also teaching a workshop on veil technique at the festival, so decided very last minute to do a veil performance at the show, which is why it was mainly improvised. And no, it didn’t go according to plan…
What makes it standout was the amazing feedback I had from Eman Zaki, Egyptian dancer and costume designer, who also attended the festival. She had created the two-piece I was performing in, but I wasn’t expecting to see her standing there smiling at the back of the audience all the way through my dance. Long story short, I got really nervous, my veil got caught up several times and at one point I thought I was going to slip of the stage! But when Eman afterwards told me how much she loved the performance and how I moved the costume, I felt so proud and truly relieved and grateful that I didn’t fall over in front of her. Far from my best veil performance, but one I will always remember 😉
You can see my ‘Feeling Good’ silk veil performance here.
Finally, my most recent Isis Wings performance was at the Lion’s Convention in Bracknell, Berkshire earlier this year. I was told I had a big stage to perform in front of the 300 strong audience, but when I turned up, the DJ had taken over the stage, and there was no way I could have danced, let alone with wings, on the otherwise massive and beautifully lit stage!
Nevertheless, it turnout to be a really memorable evening. My performance troupe, Karismi, was also dancing, and we had the nicest greenroom I’ve ever had with drinks and snacks, even if it was only the left overs from the VIP guests, who had used it prior to entering the main venue for dinner… Some of the guests had travelled all the way from the USA, and many of them stood up both to view and also applaud the performance. The lighting wasn’t great, but I tried to work it for my advantage whilst improvising.
You can watch my Dramatic Dark Butterfly performance here.
So there you have it – my (current) favourite five performances.
I hope this article has given you some insights, and perhaps also some inspiration for future performances, character development or ways to view and remember your own performances.
Please let me know what you will take away from this post by leaving me a comment below.
Happy and inspirational dancing – always 🙂
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