Belly dance post this time! It feels like ages since I've written one of these, and now I have about 3 of them to write and post! :)
A couple of weeks ago I performed my very first improvised dance. I danced to "Zapphire of Love" by Hossam Ramzy, and basically the only bit where I planned what I was going to do was the very beginning where I used a veil. Even that ended up changing somewhat on the night though! In the past, I've made up choreographies, or planned out much more than that at least. I've improvised a little with Isis Wings, but really, they're pretty easy to improvise with, and very easy to hide behind. In this dance, it was just me (after I'd chucked the veil away after the first section!)
I was pretty terrified before I went on. I'd been practicing dancing to the song, just improvising, but to be honest, that practice hadn't gone well. I'd usually stopped halfway through the song, dejected at how little moves I seemed to know. But I made myself go on to the floor, telling myself it'd be easier when I got the adrenaline from actually performing.
And it was! There were a few times where it felt like I was repeating what I'd done 10 seconds before, but no real times where I ran out of moves. And it was easier to fill up the time with audience interaction (I can't really pretend doing it to empty chairs, I need the actual people there to interact with).
I actually enjoyed just dancing to the music, instead of trying to remember a choreography and then panicking when it disappears from my head. It was kind of interesting to see what moves just "came out".
I'd gone to a workshop a while ago (with Lorna Gow), where she had given tips for improvising to Egyptian music. One of the tips she gave was to seperate the music into different emotional sections, and she gave examples of how to do that. That advice was really helpful when preparing for the performance. At first during my practice, I was totally overwhelmed by the music, trying to fit moves to every bit of the music, but remembering her workshop, I calmed down a bit and just tried to feel the "emotion" of the music. That worked much better, and I think it made for a better dance. I know that when I choreograph, I have a tendancy to try to hit every single accent, which can be a bit frantic in a Hossam Ramzy piece :D I don't know if I'd have had the confidence to improvise to this piece of music if it wasn't for that workshop. Actually, one of the other bellydance posts I have to write is about another Lorna workshop! She's so fabulous!!
I'm dancing (improvising) again to the same piece of music in a few weeks at another hafla, so it'll be interesting to see how it turns out that time. I think some of the moves will end up being the same, but the audience layout is completely different at this venue, so I'll have to change what I'm doing just on the basis of that, as well as because it's not rehearsed. There is a video of this last performance, but I won't be able to get it for another few weeks, so you'll have to wait to see it, I'm afraid... ;)