Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A bundle of joy!

Just over forty years ago I swopped my brand new copy of 'Ben' for a well-used 'Rockin' Robin'.

Not such a significant event you might think ..... teenage girls do it all the time. But looking back, that simple thing has stuck in my head quite simply because it WAS significant. It really taught me something about myself. Not then of course; I never thought twice about it. But with the benefit of hindsight I can see that it really said a lot about me and who I am.

For those of you too young to remember, Ben was a Michael Jackson song about a rat. Lovely sentiments. I like rats. But by heck, is that song dismal? Oh yes! In contrast .... 'Rockin' in the treetops all day long, Hoppin' an' a boppin' an' a singin' his song' .... that little robin was just the picture of perkiness and JOY!! My early teenage self just wasn't into wallowing in misery - 'Ben, most people would turn you away' was really not happening for me. Quite simply, it had to go ... and go quickly!

So where on earth is she going with this, you are probably asking? What does this have to do with tribal bellydance? Well, that little robin is kind of a symbol for my life - and dance! Apart from a couple of years of de rigeur teenage angst, I have never gravitated towards sad songs, sad films or sad books. Romantic trials and tribulations? Stick Crazy Crazy Nights on at full blast, get your glad rags on and paint the town red! Feeling down? Get a happy dance track playing and just spin and spin your cares away. I suppose I just feel that there is enough sadness around that I don't need to bring it into my life unnecessarily. I'm certainly not saying that I'm Mrs Happy; on the contrary, those of you who know me will appreciate that I have gone through some really dark days in my life. But when I'm looking for stuff to bring into my world I actively - and more consciously as I get older - look for the light. In a nutshell, I am seeking out the joy ....

And yes, that's true in my dance life too. A few recent events have made me reflect a lot and made me realise why I gravitate towards certain dancers and forms. I dance Gypsy Caravan Tribal Style because of the joy and connection it brings into my life. I won't go on about here - I've done it to death in previous blogs - but it really does make my soul sing. Sing for joy! To me it is filled with light and laughter, and THAT'S what I want to bring into my life!

It's very true of the performances that I love too ... that joy needs to be there for me. It actually doesn't matter what style the dance is. If faces are lit up then I'm feeling the joy. And now I will finally get to the point of the blog ... to share with you just a few of the videos that have brought me that Rockin' Robin joy ...

The first video reminds me of a sad time in my life; just after my mum died. Pedralta/Rashani's 'Magic Caravan' dvd quite literally kept me going, to the extent that I'm amazed it still played. I watched it non-stop whenever I had spare time. I loved it, lived it. This performance isn't actually on the dvd - there's another version of it on there, and this one is only a short extract. But it still gives me a major HAPPY!

The next video is longer - it's Gypsy Heart at Art In The Pearl in Portland. I just love the smiley faces on here, especially Gina with all her happy yips!! At one point it's like a really joyful yippy conversation is going on between the dancers!

And now for something totally different - something slow, but with a fabulous, mellow, peaceful joy about it. I have to confess that some slow stuff just leaves me cold - especially when the dancers have those blank, expressionless faces. But here we have smiles!! It's Origin with Negara, again in Portland.

It's difficult to choose a Wildcard video - they're just all so darn joyous!!! They make me smile all over! Here they are at Tribal Fest earlier this month.

Awalim Dance Company from Atlanta - more feel-good bellydance!! Love these ladies!

And last but not least, no collection of joyful videos would be complete without the dance that has brought so much love and light into my life. Still one of my favourite ever videos of theirs, from Tribal Fest 2010 - GYPSY CARAVAN DANCE COMPANY INTERNATIONAL!

So there you have it - my very own bundle of joy. My go-to videos for those times when I'm feeling low and need a happiness boost. Or indeed, for when I'm feeling happy and need even more happiness! For the times when I need reminding of the beauty of tribal - maybe when I've seen a performance that has somehow stripped away all the joy and connection and reduced it to something robotic and mechanical. Or when I've seen a fabulous performance and want more. The time is always right - these videos just do the job!
So sorry Ben - you're a really cute rat and I would love to kiss your sweet little nose! But I'm afraid that, for me, those robins have it every time!
Until next time, happy - and joyful -dancing!

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