After a month of sewing costumes, relearning company dances, and choreographing my solo I arrived in lovely Los Angeles for 8 days of Bellydance Superstars rehearsal. From day one we set to the task of putting together the new show “The Magic of Dance” and a week later we debuted the show in San Francisco.
Rehearsal period is my favorite. This week of nothing-but-dance is so very rewarding and challenging. Every day, confronted with the very real fear that we will not be able to pull this off, we enter the studio in what Victoria calls “hyper focus mode.” For that week the only thing that matters is learning the dances in the show. We take breaks only to sew, scarf food, and sleep (even our dreams are usually full of dance.) We have to communicate well with one another to put the show together while we are all under a lot of stress. The Tribal contingent of the show sticks to themselves mostly while we work on our dances, and we have gotten pretty good at communication. In general, we understand one another’s ticks and outbursts and we know how to not take ourselves too seriously. Sabrina, Moria, Colleen, and I have defaulted to humor in order to deflect the tension of rehearsal week. We laugh as hard as we work. Our dances are at least as good as the characters and funny voices we use while working them out.
Some days, the allotted studio time is up but we still have more work to do. So we dance and watch the sun set from the little window in the wall. Outside is for the birds. That’s Moria coming up from a backbend in the photo above.
On the day of the first show we rehearsed in an empty building. We are our own overseers in these moments, working hard without being asked or told. Rebecca in the photo above is rehearsing full out on game day.
I had to practice applying my show make-up again.
And practice taking it off…. cheap make-up remover is not the way to go, I re-learned. It’s got to be the classic Mac wipe or the natural olive, coconut, or jojoba oil
Some days we have a lot of space to get ready for the show: beautifully lit spacious dressing rooms. And some days we get a curtained-off aisle space to share. And share we do 🙂 It is much harder to get in the proper performance head space when there is no privacy or personal space but we manage to make it work. These women are always professional. Without a quality show, there is no point to any of this so we always put the show at the highest priority -dressing room or no dressing room.
Someone said that the above photo I took looks like an old Orientalist painting. It does look like a modern twist on the much allured and exoticised women’s communal dressing quarters. Rebecca and Sabrina are being mischievous and Victoria is patiently awaiting go-time.
We stretch and we paint our faces, we laugh, we joke, we wait, we dance. We remove the paint, we stretch, we laugh, we get quiet, we sleep. Colleen is stretching before the show in Bakersfield.
Some days we wake up early and paint our faces before dawn to appear on a morning news show. In Pheonix, Issam, Nathalie, Rebeca, and I appeared on local afternoon NBC news just before the show. You can see the news segment here:
Now I am home for a short break before the East Coast leg -trying to get some of my adrenaline back with supplements and green superfood smoothies. It seems that no amount of coconut water and kombucha can quench my thirst and no amount of coffee can make me feel awake. Just when I get recalibrated it will be time to set out again!