more from the Etnosfera Festival in Milan

My dance workshop at this festival was so well received, some new tribal dancers, some who have studied with me before. We worked on steps and technique, with new ideas and formations. We sweated and laughed. But it was about the connection we can achieve through our dance, in this situation of course it was tribal bellydance. You can’t teach someone how to dance from their soul, but I am always trying and searching for ways to get dancers to feel and express themselves from their heart, both within and without our structured format. Because we had six glorious hours together, I taught them how to truly watch and dance each other, and by the end of our workshop, the dancers were ecstatic with the passion of tribal and the experience of that intimate connection. After six hours, I could see the glazed eyes, as everyone’s brains were bursting with new information, and the bodies were tired after the full-on weekend of workshops, shows, and traveling. But when we finished, our circle was aglow with hearts and souls on fire. There were tears being shed, and the dancers would not stop applauding me, we all cried together with the joy and the release of the dance and the connection we felt. And I don’t speak Italian!


            During the Etnosfera festival’s Saturday night teacher’s show, I so enjoyed seeing all of the teacher’s perform. This show took place in an old building with floors of marble and the feeling was of an ancient library. While I was waiting off stage for my time to perform, I saw a dance of peaceful beauty, from Les Soeurs Tribales. The three dancers came out, costumed in white, to a long, intoxicating song by Niyaz. They appeared to me as sirens, or the three muses, or Greek statuary. I almost expected to see a garden surround them and a fountain of water bubbling out over their heads. The scene was so beautiful. And they moved slowly, sometimes in sync with each other, sometimes on their own. The lighting was simple, but highlighted them just so. The sound filled the space, as the audience was silent in awe of the movement of the statues on the platform. They slid with slow grace, dignity, and evident technical precision and expertise. I was captivated by their deliberate movement and came away ecstatic and inspired. And so proud of my three friends. To see their art come through their bodies on their quest for beauty in dance.

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