Monday, 21 April 2014

Another Top Five!

Well, it's been a Bank Holiday weekend and, as you do, I've been a bit distracted by browsing through the nether regions of this blog. I got to looking at the 'Stats' page (which is pretty mind-zapping in itself) and was blown away to find that the most-looked-at post on here got a MAD 1999 views! Yep, that's right - 1999! Just 1 away from 2000! Quick someone, hop on over and push it up over that magic marker! The post in question was from 2011 and was all about my favourite 5 videos of the time ... check it out by clicking on the photo below!
Anyway - to cut a long story short, I have decided to do another post in a similar vein ..... my top five almost three years on! I did of course get myself into a bit of a tizz over this, so I set some ground rules .. which were supposed to help but got me in even more of a tizz ....
  • No videos from last time
  • Performances must be wholly or mostly group improv
  • Cayte - you CAN'T have the same group more than once!
And just to make it even trickier and more tizzyfying .....
  • The same dancer can't appear in more than one video!
Yes, I do like to make things difficult for myself. But hey, we bellydance; we can do it! I'm going to chicken out a little bit on this occasion (some may say I'm being egalitarian. I'd like to agree but in all honesty I can't. I am just chickening out!) and I'm going to present this top five in no particular order. Some are relatively new videos, others I have been revisiting since the year dot. But what they ALL have in common is the fact that they're providing me with lots and lots of inspiration at the moment .... and so, without further ado and more importantly, without procrastination (because I would never do that, would I?) - here goes!
I do love to watch me some Unmata improv and this particular video has been a firm favourite of mine since it first appeared almost five years ago.
This is just so fast, feisty and FUN! They are all so together and their transitions are super-slick; they just seem to move in and out of formations effortlessly and have a mega-awareness of where everybody else is around them. I ADORE the music (it's one of the tracks that Sakura dance to and we originally found it via this video!). The costumes are also pretty darn fabulous. Those gorgeous little skirts add just the right amount of zing (if I'm honest the plain black pants/black bra top look doesn't do anything for me at all. I likes me some zing!). So yes, this video has a definite place in my top five of the moment!
These are the girls who kept the GC homefires burning in Portland whilst Mamma P took a little sabbatical a couple of years ago. They are still performing together now, and always exude such joy!
Prepare to smile!
I really did have a bit of a dilemma deciding which Gypsy Heart video to choose ---- there's another favourite which has lots of them dancing together at, I think, Art from the Pearl, that is just so mega happy it's untrue. But in the end I chose this one because it really speaks to us Sakura girls as another duet - lots of inspirational moves and ideas for us in here! Above all, this video just epitomises that tribal flow and connection that keeps us dancing!
Now for some costume drooliness! I don't know a huge amount about Ghytias other than that they are based in Mexico and that Walky Ardaat is trained in GC as well as dancing other styles of improv, which you'll pick up on in this video. You'll need to click on the photo below as the You Tube video won't embed here. Enjoy!
Well go on then - just how luscious are those costumes? I LOVE them! I like the music choices too; the whole effect is hypnotic and mesmerising ... very lovely!
Well they had to be in here somewhere, didn't they? I posted this performance a month or so again but I just couldn't leave it out of my top five ... it's another 'click on the photo' one as it's on Vimeo ...
We were there for this one - on the mats, right on the very front row, yipping and zaghareeting our little hearts out. I swear I stopped breathing when those ladies stepped onto that stage and didn't start again till they left! It was just awesome. Tribal spirit oozed out of them and we were just totally re-inspired. I really like the way they mixed traditional and contemporary in their costumes too - reflecting that tribal, whilst rooted in the past, is essentially a dance of today for dancers of today. Tribal Rocks!
Mwhahahahaha!! Guess what? you know that rule I made about all these videos being improvised tribal style? Well, I'm breaking it! Yes. this video COULD wait until another time. But it's one of my big inspirations at the moment and I want to post it NOW!!!! Rules are made to be bent or even blithely broken and that's exactly what I'm going to do so there!
Lack of funds meant I had to miss these ladies when they were over here last year - let's hope they return to the UK soon!
My feet are itching, my hips are twitching, my head is bobbing - I'm right up there with them! How infectious is this performance? The costuming, the music, the sheer happiness, the Bhangra-Bollywood-Triballyness of it all! This is definitely one of my go-to feel-good videos of the moment! I love it!
So there you have it - my Top Five inspirational videos as at - oooh - 14:17 GMT on Monday 21st April 2014. As I said last time, this may change tomorrow, or even in five minutes or so but that's it as it stands! No doubt your own top five will be very different but I hope you've enjoyed these! I'm thinking that in a few weeks I may do another list with a different slant -- bit of fusion maybe? Mmmm - Jill Parker, LST, Sarasvati ... who can tell?
Until next time - happy dancing!


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Here's to us!

One of the many things we just LOVE about our tribal mamma, Paulette Rees-Denis, is her total commitment to making every dancer the best dancer that they can be. That's not they CAN be, or even they can BE.

It's the best dancer that THEY can be. Them. Not anyone else. Not carbon copies, imitations or clones of her or of anyone else. Yes, she promotes and teaches very firm and sound foundations, but then encourages each of her students to work hard, reflect and find their own path - and supports them in that. And that is something we Sakura girls really value and appreciate.

As many of you know, we dance traditional Gypsy Caravan style tribal bellydance, and had the honour last weekend of joining our lovely friend Deirdre - UK member of GC International and a GC Master Teacher to boot - on the stage at the Jewel of Yorkshire festival. Together with other Gypsy Caravan teachers from across the UK we rocked out some earthy improv and had a fantastic time doing it! I teach Gypsy Caravan style classes and workshops in Wigan and Sakura can often be found on the dance floor either with the class (the aptly named Wild Hearts) or as a duet, rocking that GC!

However, dancing straight-up Gypsy Caravan style isn't all that we do. Last year we had our first foray into more dramatic, story-telling dance at the Mai-Ni-Axe Book of Bedtime Stories and we had a blast! Through our 'Dead Flapper' dance we were able to both show off some GC improv, make space for Jan to play with her Tribal Fusion roots and be very theatrical. It was a wonderful experience, we performed to a fabulous audience and I'm sure we'll be venturing back into those waters, both dance and location-wise! The whole process of considering the story, bringing the styles together and linking it all with music and costume really contributed to our dance development. And I got VERY attached to my new make up!

We've been doing more work on our dance over the winter months too. As we browse You Tube, watch at haflas and go to different workshops (yes, we don't just study GC - and there'll be a blog post about that soon!) we spot moves and combos that we adore and really want to try out for ourselves So we've been adding a little to our repertoire These additions have often been GC moves but have also come from further afield, or even from our own experimentation. However, they all have one thing in common. They've all been 'Gypsified'! That in itself has been a deeply enlightening process as we have soul-searched what it is we love about Gypsy Caravan and what makes it distinctive in terms of posture, stylisation, improv (of course!), connection, joy and so on, and have then created new combos and adapted other moves to encompass this. What we are developing as a result is something that is still very firmly rooted in and recognisable as Gypsy Caravan but also reflects and embodies us as dancers too. And when we dance it? Well, we choose music that we love that fits with the mood and the count and the nature of our dance. The Huntress by Gypsy Caravan. Two Gypsies by Solace. And hey, sometimes we dance to Muse and sometimes we dance to Korn too! We choose it with care, it makes our souls sing - and it rocks!!

So --- that's what we've been doing and that's where we're at! We've had a good few personal setbacks that have cut down on our performances so far this year but we're still hanging in there, growing and developing. Growing as Gypsy Caravan dancers; developing as ourselves. And yes, it's all good! Tribal Rocks On!

Here's to us .....

Until next time, happy dancing

Cayte x