Friday, September 18, 2009
Call it what you will (my favourite label is “rock-a-belly”), but rock ‘n roll and belly dance make a great combination. The first time I pushed the genre was in 2006 with Wilson Gil and the Willful Sinners. The band commissioned myself and three other dancers (Jazmin, Julz, and Alex) to belly dance with machetes at one of their shows. As a bonus, the band also hired a fire eater. You can’t get much sexier than that- belly dancers, machetes, fire, and rock ‘n roll!
Since then, some of my best shows and choreography have involved rock music. If you think about it, the genre really works. Both rock music and belly dance can be sexy, edgy, raw, and full of energy. Just swap the head banging, skinny rock guy for an undulating, sultry woman. Not a bad trade if you ask me! (Kidding. I love those skinny rock guys).
The first show I produced in San Francisco featured “a night of belly dance and rock ‘n roll” and was a huge success (we sold out). I didn’t have a fire eater for that show, but I did have eleven dancers and two killer bands (Castles in Spain and The Ferocious Few). I wish there were some funny stories to tell of that evening, but everything went off without a hitch. And I guess that’s a good thing, because there’s always a slight chance that something could go wrong when mixing drunk, rowdy bar goers with scantily clad women. Luckily, everyone knew how to rock out in an appropriate manner- you can look, but DO NOT TOUCH the belly dancers!
My current project came to me via the social networking wonders of Facebook. A Middle-Eastern rock band from Palestine called “Khalas” emailed me, a Canadian belly dancer living in Berlin, to ask if I would dance to one of their songs and film it for their website. I am truly in love with online social networking and how it’s creating this wonderful web of artists from all over the world. How many cultures can we combine here? Well, the guy who’s going to be filming the video is part Egyptian, part French, and part several-other-nationalities, so apparently as many as we damn well please. That’s the beauty of pushing boundaries and combining genres that at first don’t appear to go together- what you get in the end is something international, something that breaks down stereotypes and culminates in a new sense of “togetherness”.
To see videos: Avaishya/FerociousFew