There was a perhaps unfair assumption that the newest dancer to the troupe, due to inexperience (never danced before, no familiarity with the dance styles) would give us a few cheap laughs as his stick flew across the room. However, a bit of an inner Jedi ninja was unleashed, as for some reason, he's already been there, done that, can do it better than we can...
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.
Some apologies are due to my lovely, talented and hard working dance teacher, upon whom this is based, pretty much word for word. Her inventiveness to describe audio cues in accurate, yet bizarre ways, is seemingly limitless. To be fair, our current track does sound sort of the same all the way through.
A problem with dancing to music from around the world is that we loose the convenience of knowing the language, so rather than being able to say "When she sings 'I love you', start doing jewels" you have to try and describe the sounds (even if you know the transcribed meaning of the words, it's hard to pinpoint that within the music) This usually goes hand in hand with unfamiliar tempos, instruments, or very complex and layered music.
So we continue to "undulate all through the eeeeeEEEEEeeeeeeeeaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiEEEEEEEE part"
For those who don't know, the little dragon monster is Stitch, from the Disney film Lilo and Stich. A small, hyperactive, destructive alien befriends a Hawaiian girl, and part of the animation awesomely captures the dance styles with such grace. Um, well, mainly grace, there may be a part with more falling over and disaster which i was certainly feeling when we started this routine!
It's hard, but a great routine though! Looks slow and gentle but with some killer turns and spins, can't wait for next week's session.
Our first session of Hawaiian dance this week for the theatre show, and needless to say some of us found it deceptively hard! Used after years of figure eight and shimmy moves to having our knees and bums do one thing, we were now trying to unlearn all that and apply something new.
Baba Karam is a traditionally male dance, very masculine with plenty of play fighting, eyeing up of women, drink swilling and the likes. It's now been 'stolen' by women, who take the moves and slightly mock the men with their own dance, and generally have a laugh with it. Our token bloke was a bit confused by it all...
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.