Thursday, June 7, 2007

Shimmy for seniors?

The lovely Maryfer and I met up on the King streetcar yesterday, and headed off to our show at Lakeside Longterm Care Facility for seniors. I've been booked for a number of seniors homes this summer, and she wanted a duet for this show. When we arrived we were sent to the second floor to be met by a caretaker, Michael. While we were waiting several seniors were watching TV and one was desperately clawing out of her chair, crying "Please...PLEASE!" in a very weak and desperate voice. The caretakers informed me that "that's just how she goes on, she's alright" but still her desperation was very unsettling. I haven't been in a seniors facility since I've seen my grandmother in Halifax, and I had all but forgotten the kind of sad atmosphere that can be inherent in these places. Maryfer was telling me about seniors homes in Mexico and how filthy and poor they can be, and that the Canadian facilities are quite luxorious by comparison.

We were led to a room to change in, and were told that we would be performing to mostly men, as this was "men's night" entertainment. Both of our eyes got all wide, and we're thinking....oh god, have we been hired as a men's novelty here? Are they expecting strippers? Anyway, although normally we don't perform for men-only audiences, these are still seniors and they need some entertainment! And generally, seniors tend to be a very respectful and enthusiastic audience.

As this was a casual show, we walked on first and I introduced us, and gave a bit of a chat about the history of the dance. I tried to be funny but I don't think they were really listening (hearing?) at this point. "Maryfer comes to us all the way from Mexico, and I'm from the exotic location of Halifax, Nova Scotia!" ...not even a smile. Oh well. It turned out to be more of a mixed audience, and they were great. Two of them were very enthusuastic, breaking into applause at a moments notice and really enjoying themselves.

Maryfer and I traded off, alternating doing three songs each. DAMN that girl is amazing! She is so incredibly expressive and her dance was full of joy, playfulness, and a wonderful variety of movement and feeling. We ended it all off with a drum solo "dance-off" style number, and then we taught the residents a little lesson which was mostly for the entertainment of the other guests. It was a blast, really!

I gave my card out to a bunch of the workers who requested it for other shows they had in mind, and then we got dressed and headed out for a delicious Thai dinner before parting ways. It was so great working with Maryfer, and i think our energy and styles really compliment each other in a performance. I hope to do it again sometime soon!

Monday, June 4, 2007

'besque-y weekend

Friday: Rehersal

Saturday: Student Gala and Najwa's wedding!
Braved the madness of the student gala and had a fun time dancing Milaya (cheeky Alexandrian folk-ish dance). We then bolted out the door and into a cab to Najwa's wedding. Najwa is the wonderful female voice behind ASALA's Inte Omri. We were all dressed up in our bestest and then performed Nawaem (big shiny veil number), Yasmina danced a solo, then we performed the end of Inte Omri which was very intense and quite emotional. Yasmina then did a zeffah, and we all joined her to pull the audience up. It was great! Najwa was incredibley generous and had arranged for us all to have the full dinner. It was wonderful to sit down with all the girls and guys all dressed up and just have a nice evening. We then danced the night away with Sulimen on drums adding to the DJ's music. I don't think the men there knew what to do with us...there was a bit of hovering around nervously as well as some staring from afar, and a lot of impromptu dance lessons! Hehe.

Sunday: Teaching and performing in Queen's Park, and the Triple Arabxx Stagette party!
There were no students for my class this day as it was the recovery day from the gala. So Lisa, Maryfer, Yasmina and I all trapsed over to Queen's Park for the drum festival and performed Majnun drum solo to a great crowd. One of the organizers came back and started to talk to us about the possibility of performing in a festival in Tobago! EEeee!

That night was the triple stagette party for Mary, Suzanne and Christina D. We started at Vivance (Joanne's studio) with a wicked potluck smorgasboard, the girls got their makeup done, and then we got some chair/pole dancing lessons which was inevitably hilarious. We all then headed down to Myth for the official party, watched the gorrrgeous Samara dance and got amazing henna done. The best part of this evening was when Emese brought out her "perfect man" costume to perform "Candy Man" and suprised the brides to be with a dance which had them all screaming in laughter. Samara did an adorrrrable Milaya for the second set, having the stagette girls pull three garter's off her upper upper upper thigh.

All in all it was a hilarious and fun evening, the best part being part of an incredible group of wonderful and stunning women, most of Toronto's top bellydancers, all in one room!