~undulate~ 1001 Nights
Date posted: December 10, 2010
Wow, it’s been a little while since I’ve posted and so much has happened since then! I guess I’m not so good at this whole blogging thing!
The biggest news in the past few months was of course our successful ~undulate~ 1001 Nights show that happened on Saturday, November 27th at the Leigha Lee Browne Theatre here in Scarborough. The night was wonderful and all the performers were fabulous! I’m still sifting through the over 500 (and more to come) photos from the actual show, but they will be up soon, with lots of photos of the each amazing performance.
I’m so happy that I was finally able to get a theatre as our venue. I’ve wanted a theatre since I first started doing our ~undulate~ shows and have been searching since that first show, but I guess third time’s the charm as I was able to find the perfect venue in the Leigha Lee Browne Theatre. It was a great opportunity for all of my students to perform in a theatrical setting, complete with an enormous stage, beautiful lighting, and a wonderful audience.
The change of venue wasn’t the only change for this show. It was also the first time that I incorporated a theme (or in this case, it was more of a storyline), which as you may have guessed was the story of the 1001 Nights (also called the Arabian Nights). Just in case you’re not familiar with the story of 1001 Nights, it tells the tale of the King and Scheherazade. The King finds out that his wife has betrayed him, so each night he takes a new wife, but by morning, he has her killed as he constantly feels suspicious of each new wife. Scheherazade is taken as one of his wives (in some versions of the story, she volunteers herself as the next wife), and she devises a plan to save her life and the lives of the additional women that may be killed next. Each night she tells the King a story, but instead of concluding the tale, she keeps the King in suspense until the following night when she tells him the rest. In doing so, Scheherazade ensured her survival as the King was intrigued with her stories and wanted to hear the conclusions of each. After 1001 nights and 1001 stories, they fall in love and Scheherazade’s life is spared. In the 1001 Nights, the story of Scheherazade and the King’s relationship form the framestory for a series of diverse tales that derive from the Middle East, South Asia, and Persia.
So the long and short of it is that I used the story of Scheherazade and the King as the framestory for all the beautiful pieces in the show, many of which served as “tales” that Scheherazade told the King. Some of our tales included the Tale of the Sailors of Port Said (performed by my folkloric class), the Tale of the Egyptian and the Brazilian (samba-bellydance fusion piece by Cairo ala Nar), and the Tale of the Girl from Alexandria (folkloric melaya piece by Emilia). Each individual piece really made the show and story come alive.
I’m not sure what I’ll do next, but I love the idea of themes as it really allows for artistic and choreographic creativity. I got the idea of themes because the studios I teach at are both children’s dance studios and always have a theme for their year-end recitals (it’s a common thing for children’s studios). I thought it was such a neat idea and hadn’t seen it done for bellydance recitals, so I thought it would be fun to give it a try. Who knows what theme you’ll see next!
Finally (and most importantly), I have to thank some people who put in a lot of time and energy to make this show such a success.
Okay, here goes (hopefully they’ll read my blog!):
BIG, GIGANTIC Thank Yous to: Aamirah and Stephanie for managing the backstage all night so that I didn’t have to do a thing/ Amanda for managing the music and creating and editing voiceovers with me with lots of patience, especially when I couldn’t for the life of me recite a voiceover without going into fits of laughter/ Carlos and my dad for their amazing photography/ Shaun for videotaping and standing on a box all night in order to get the best angles/ Krissy for taking charge of the front of house and making sure that there were snacks for everyone.
And of course the performers: My amazing students who come to class week after week and work their hips off/GypsyVibe for supporting my classes in Scarborough and coming all the way from Barrie to take classes, workshops and perform (even in winter snowstorms!)/Emilia for sharing your flirty girl from Alexandria with us/Ingrid for coming all the way from Niagara Falls and showing us what Raks al Assaya is all about/Sabine for actually using a real tale from the 1001 Nights and embracing the tale of the peacock with a beautiful, elegant performance/ Mayada for performing a beautiful solo and bringing her 2 troupes to perform 3 additional pieces/ Cairo ala Nar (Mayada, Sabine, Liv, Moli, Sue, me?) for your awesome samba-belly performance that people could not stop talking about after the show/ Banat el Sharq for sharing your love of folkloric dances with my audience with not 1, but 2 fabulous folky pieces (Mayada, Sabine, Liv, Danielle, Stacey, Leah). Phew! Okay, I think I’ve got everyone. One more time: THANK YOU!