Well, Sarah has come up with a fantastic list of questions for me, so here goes ....
I don't think I chose tribal - it chose me and reeled me in, slowly and inexorably!
After starting in Egyptian bellydance I was drawn into tribal by Deirdre Macdonald and then started to go to classes with Chris Ogden (I still make a 90 mile round trip each week to go to her classes - she's awesome!). I do love the costumes but it was the strength and power of tribal that appealed (I'm not saying Egyptian and other forms of Middle Eastern dance can't be strong and powerful, but I felt a different 'quality' in the tribal moves that worked for me). After a good few additional workshops I discovered the magic that is improvisation - the sense of excitement, of connection, of truly creating something together in the moment. To me when you dance a choreo it can be lots of fun and look fab, but essentially you are dancing out an 'old' response - the way that you (or someone else) felt when they first wrote that choreography. When you improvise you're responding there and then to the music, to the other dancers and (if you're performing) to the audience - inviting them in to share your connection. There are a couple of moments in Gypsy Caravan's performance at Tribal Fest 10 (see the link on the sidebar) that really embody that for me. Firstly the moment when Paulette joins Peggy at the front, smiles at her and mouths 'Hi!'. The connection between them is tangible! The second is where Paulette can't perform a certain move properly because her left arm is in a sling and she laughs together with the audience - again really making that tribal connection. That what makes me love this dance style so, and that sense of effortless connection is what I hope and pray I'll achieve - one day!
Oooooh, so many fab lessons, so little time!
All of CS1 was amazing, as were the lessons we did in Portland last summer (see the article on the sidebar), but for me it would have to be a workshop we did with Paulette in Glasgow in 2009. It was all about including solos within tribal formations. I was TERRIFIED!!! Solos are so not my thing. But it was absolutely fantastic! Of course I found out that solos in the tribal context don't mean being all alone on that vast stage but rather being totally supported by that chorus line of tribal sisters zaghareeting and hissing in encouragement behind you (I just love that hissing, but sadly it doesn't seem to happen everywhere. Sakura got their first tribal hisses in Glasgow in January and I was extremely excited. I kept hissing to myself all weekend afterwards!).
Anyway I took the workshop, did my solo bit - and loved it!
Connection, creativity, community.
How do you prepare for a performance?
Firstly, of course - practice, practice, practice!
Then I have a performance bag pre-packed with make-up, travelling straighteners, toiletries and all the basics, for if I'm getting ready away from home. It saves me lots of time and forgotten items! A couple of days before my performance I check that my costume and jewellery are laid out and packed up if necessary and that music is sorted.
On the day it's bath, hairwash, makeup, bindi, costume! Ideally this ritual takes a couple of lovely leisurely hours - but I have managed it in 45 minutes!!!
What music do you like to drill and perform to?
I use a variety of music to drill to at home - both traditional tribal/bellydance and non-traditional music. My current favourite is 'Satellite' by The Hooters. It's fantastic for all sorts of moves.