Wednesday, 23 March 2011

All About Cayte

Well, Sarah has come up with a fantastic list of questions for me, so here goes ....


What made you choose tribal bellydancing?
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!

What has been your favourite workshop/lesson and why?
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!

Describe tribal bellydance in 3 words.
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.
Performance-wise I - well we - go for music that 'speaks' to us. Recently we've danced to 'The Huntress' (Gypsy Caravan) and 'Toura Toura' (Cheb I Sabbah) and will be dancing to something by Tamikrest soon. We also have a performance coming up that will be to something less predictable and very cool - can't wait! Apart from these artists we have a long playlist of tracks we want to perform to by artists such as Rodrigo y Gabriela, Rupa and the April Fishes, Solace, Rin and the B52s!

What is your favourite item of costuming?
My lantypoons (or pantaloons as they are more properly known)! I have 10 pairs, and those of you who know me well will also know that I make regular trips to the House of Raja and come back with (very reasonably priced) saris which are inevitably made up into - lantypoons!! I have batik ones, lime green ones, stripy ones, bright orange tiger print ones - you name it. My favourite (and most recent) pair are VERY wide and puddly and are made from deep emerald green taffeta. I adapted the design at the top so that they are still flattering when worn without a skirt over the top (I do look like an Oompa Loompa in some of my other pairs until the skirt goes on!). Sarah has a matching pair in a rich, luscious purple. They're waiting for their first performance outing at the moment - we need the right track to match the overall costume look.
I do like my lantypoons full and long and must confess I do occasionally get the odd toe caught in them whilst dancing - but I have developed strategies for breaking free gracefully and unobtrusively!

What has been your most memorable bellydance moment to date?
That is so easy - the moment when Paulette told me I'd passed Collective Soul 1! I felt OK about the zilling, rhythm work and general tribal knowledge but was convinced I'd fall down (hopefully not literally!) on the practical dancing assessment, even more so because I was under the weather at the time. So that moment when she reached out and handed me that certificate was just pure magic. I was so excited I had to get straight on the phone to our friend Jo (back here in the UK) to tell her - luckily despite the time difference I didn't wake her at some ungodly hour!

Tell us something else about yourself.
I yearn to be one of those people who exudes a Zen-like air of peace, tranquillity and calm. I have a mental picture of myself looking elegant and composed in a long floaty gown, plucking serenely upon the strings of a large gilded harp.
Sadly I know all too well that this is not me. I am destined to be always Frodo and never Galadriel. On a bad day I can even stray into the giddy territory of becoming Merry or Pip. My only perverse comfort in all of this is that several of my friends have come out and identified themselves as being orcs and ents. I probably know a few Gollums too.
I have been reliably informed that the key to releasing my inner Galadriel is meditation, so I will have to try it. I'll just nip down to the shops in Hobbiton first for a packet of razors to sort out my hairy hobbit toes .....

DISCLAIMER : I do NOT really have hairy toes. That bit was artistic licence!

So there you go! Now you know a little bit more about us both!
Look out for our next blog, and happy dancing!

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