While improvising to work out the next stage of our Saidi routine, the idea of beating the stick floor, then throwing the stick to the next person in the circle, came up. This worked by and large quite well, with much amusement, until a backlog started to build up...
Sylvia's natural ability to smackdown someone purely because she's Malaysian may be a bit of a stereotype, but making suitably silly "kung fu noises" while waving a Saidi stick doesn't help dispel the myth. (the cartoon says Chinese, as that's what was shouted in class!)
We're having a lot of fun with this routine, being two parts choreographed to one part improvised along the way by the group.
This is an old cartoon drawn a few years ago as the first, and until last night, only, time I had ever tried Saidi dancing with a stick. It flew all over the place and I was a bit of a danger. We're now using a nice wooden stick in a earthy routine, not the thin spangly things, and I only ditched it a few times, hardly ever hitting anyone! I'm slightly in love with it as a dance style and prop.
There was so much material from the class that I'm working up a few cartoons about it!
We sometimes have two different groups practicing in different rooms of the studio. Recently we had a vast difference between the hypnotic, trance like Nubian, with circling, gentle spins and a rhythmic step, and the cartwheeling, 300 moves a second, chest popping Bollywood. When each group saw the other perform each was blown away for very different reasons, the sisterhood vs. the bravado, the continual gentle trance vs. the hyperactivity.
Only one group was blown away by their own performance though, literally left with no puff after their insane levels of energy and character.
It may seem odd to find these on a website devoted to museums, galleries and heritage, but as well as visiting sites such as those, my spare time is taken up with dance . The Nottingham Dance Collective encompasses all dance from traditional Egyptian to modern street dance. For Around the World in 80 Days, I was asked to record some of those odd little moments that cropped up in the show.