It’s the Friday of Belly Fusions an event I’m very familiar with and I’m off to Kings Cross St Pancreas to meet my friend and Team Darkstar member Brenny for what feels more like a girlie weekend in Paris than work for me. Trolley cases in hand, sunnies on and capachinos to go we breeze through on on the Eurostar and before we can take a breath from catching up we are already arriving in Paris and checking in the hotel.
I love Belly Fusions having been previously (see article Belly Fusions 2013), this year I’m lucky enough to be performing and teaching two workshops over the weekend. Lucky me! But Friday is a travel and chill day over all.
In the hotel, bags down, beds claimed and kettle on we are patting ourselves on the back about what good timing we made the journey in and how we have plenty of time before the workshop we have both booked onto with Pinie. We are half way down a brew you could stand your tea spoon up in and contemplating another when it dawns on us that the we went forward in time and have lost an hour! Bloody Ell!! Brenny exclaimed, we’ve got seven minutes to get to our workshop. The rest of our tea is gone in one gulp, bags slung on our back and we embark on a self imposed warm up as we frog march up the road relieved I booked the hotel so close to the workshops. Get in! 😉
Thankfully we are only five minutes late and for 2 hours we get a crash course in a variety of street dance styles from Waccking and Voguing to Gliding and Popping, styles that you can often see Pinie and her group using in their performances. Pinie makes everyone feel very relaxed, she is clearly very knowledgable in her dance and by the end I am in need of a hot shower and yes more tea. Shattered its a quiet night in for me going over my lesson plans for the morning with Chinese and a screw top bottle of wine, classy 😉
It’s Saturday morning and we decide to start the day right in a lovely caffe and order the breakfast of champions! Followed by a strole around before heading to the studio ready in plenty of time for my first workshop Slinky and Serpentine Darkstar Stylee. It’s a sold out workshop which is great! All the dancers worked hard with warm up, drills, chan turns followed by a choreography demonstrating my style of slow and slinky and they all seemed to grasp my concept of adding in fast moments for contrast in your dance, turns and sharp hits alongside the muscular slink and powerful poses to draw the audience in. It doesn’t really matter to me if they did or didn’t get the routine, it’s remembering the concept that’s beneficial for their dance. The class flowed well and they were very kind to me laughing at all my rubbish jokes (well most of them,heh!) and before I knew it it’s time for a quick photo and I am running to the theatre to make my rehearsal slot for the Belly Fusions 2014 show.
I manage to make my rehearsal, lighting sorted its time to chill and get myself performance ready. There is a buzz backstage and I love the mix of performers for this years show. Awesome groups and incredible soloists from ATS to tribal fusion, street dance to Locking, contemporary, burlesque and all things theatrical, you name it this show has it in spades! The French audience is awesome, I can hear the rapturous applause backstage getting louder and louder with each performance.It’s well into the second half and I’m in the wings waiting my turn as Pinie and her crew Orchidea finish up. Quite an act to follow! The lights change and I hear the beginnings of silent film music and that’s my que.
My piece is all about obsession and the darker side of love. My character is the Queen of Death who falls in love only to be hurt, desperate and enraged when it is not reciprocated. The theatre is beautiful and the audience are awesome, you can’t ask for more as a dancer. Job done it’s a quick dash back to the stage for the finale were all the artists take their bow and have some fun, backstage it’s picture time, high fives and celebrations! Then a quick change and it’s off down to a lovely local bar with a few of the other artists and fellow dance friends for a wind down and decompress.
Next day myself and Brenny follow a similar pattern and head off for a hearty breakfast, stroll about town and it’s time for me to be back at the studio ready to teach my intermediate / advanced class Belly Poppers. I love this workshop it’s high energy, fun and cool to pounding beats. With my training in Popping (a form of street dance) I have been developing this over the last few years fusing it into my belly dance to create Belly Popping. In the workshop the dancers embrace trying something new, they give it all the energy they have and by the end of the class they not only have the routine down but they have found their inner swag! Class over, pictures taken and it’s back to the hotel before heading out to the artists closing dinner. This is chill time, taking in the weekends events and celebrating with the Belly Fusions team on a job well done with good food and wine, sitting next to me was the warm and beautiful Irina and I learnt that not only is she really cool but she is one well traveled lady who was coming to the end of a three month tour. If you don’t know her go check her out, she is a stunning dancer with her own style and has real grace and poise on stage.
Good byes said it’s another successful Belly Fusions Festival over and whether I’m teaching and performing or simply going for the training and social I hope that my schedule allows me to return to Belly Fusions another year for I know that at this event I will always be inspired by the creativity of the artists and learn brand new skills at a warm and friendly event. #gotobellyfusions
Author – Darkstar Dance
Copywright of Darkstar Dance