Spring 2018: Live Band Solo Project

Previously mentioned on my last post Sunday Funday, we have been working on a live band solo project at the Drum and Dance Learning Center with Kim Leary and a wonderful Turkish/Armenian flavored band that comes from NYC. We were also blessed to have the wonderful Aszmara come as well for our panel discussion with the musicians.

We spent about 2 months leading into the project with project specific workshops with Kim, giving us the chance to ask the questions, and do the work leading up to have a wonderful experience with the band and other dancers. It was a really great time and I always have so much fun and feel so enriched after we are done.

As a brief aside into my personal life, I have more negativity coming in that I’m willing to accept and cannot directly control, so I’ve essentially launched a battle plan to protect myself which is just filling my life and making as MUCH art as possible. So that means post Jamila Level 2 workshop, post Art of the Belly and post Galen Hook intensive- this was just perfect.

Back to the day of: Sunday morning launched off with an anxiety episode that started around 6:30 and just wouldn’t let up till I got busy at the actual show. So that made the morning rough, it took me over 1.5 hrs to get ready. (but my makeup was on point- hair was a little weak- but it’s never been my strong suit.) I finally was able to crawl out of it once I arrived at the venue for the show and got busy.

The actual business end of the show was set up, panel discussion, show (two sets). We had over an hour with the musicians and some old school dancers about the process and ways to make it work and really how to be deep in the music without either rushing or “missing” it. The great thing about getting to speak with them was that they worked in the night clubs and ALL the did was dance with the band- so they had some stories for sure!20180422_140852

I think my favorite concept was given by dancers was “let the music be a shower- and just wash over you- cold or hot, or lukewarm- just let it wash over you and when the note hits you- the note will hit you and bring you back.”
It just was really a great thing to hear- nothing earth shatteringly new since “listening” and finding a moment to just stop for that had essentially been a keynote focus of our preparation-  but it really resonated with me.

After that we grabbed some snacks and the band did 2 open songs to warm up while people did some jamming on the floor while the band warmed up.  And then we got right into it. We had ten dancers and a moderately full house and we motored right on through the performances. My heart was so full watching newer dancers doing something new (first time with a band!) and some older experienced dancers working through the process.

I felt pretty good about my performance and the opportunity to work with the band- I performed Fire Dance and an improve drum solo. We all had a chance to speake with the band in advance- made sure we were on the same page about the song (I just sang it to them) and talked about the temp (medium fast) and a hard stop between the song and the drum solo rather than just blending in between the two.  I also talked to the drummer about “going on an adventure” but I prefer my sections to have complete thoughts and distinct ends and then we talked about the end and how I would end- and then a little something something to get me off the stage.

I wore my simple costume that I started from many moons ago but just recently completed and paired it with the always classic (my personal favorite) chiffon circle skirts. I was very pleased with the overall effect. One of my friends got some quick pictures- I think it reads very well in a close quarters environment. Maybe not appropriate for a big stage- but perfect for this. A few tweaks I would like to make- but this is the 3rd wear- and I’m happy I have a new easy costume in the rotation.

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All in all we danced the weekend away and I feel my cup has been filled! I couldn’t ask for a better experience and opportunity to watch great dance and participate. Loved every second and I’m looking forward to the next opportunity to do it!!! I’m grateful to Kim for providing a safe space for us to create art and a wonderful change to work with an experienced band that loves working with dancers.

And in no particular order- here’s a quick look at all my favorite beautiful people!


Then we headed to a local spot for some post show noms and I had this delicious looking salad- which was way more attractive in person- I swear.

Hoping to get some more costuming bits up for you all shortly-but this performance sucked all my time up over the past two weeks so stand by and never fear! Till next time!


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