Saturday, April 29, 2006
Betty Boop in a China Shop
Improv dance is challenging---what will I do? How will I look to the audience? What if I don't know the music? What are my arms and legs doing ?!...
Yes, we tried out some dance games at Thursday night's bellydance class. It was the end of a dance session, with one favourite teacher passing the next session on to another favourite teacher due to other life committments, so we were all feeling a little bittersweet. We were sitting in a circle on the floor, discussing upcoming dance parties and recent epiphanies, and not really feeling much like dancing, when someone had the bright idea to fetch a bottle of wine from a nearby shop to toast our teacher.
Well, it's amazing how much more energy we had in us after downing a mere thimbleful of wine: we decided to play a game to practice our improv skills. We wrote a "location" or "environment" on one piece of folded-up paper, and then an "emotion" on the other. We put them in the middle and randomly drew one from each pile.
My first random dance instructions were to combine the feeling of "euphoria" with being " in a favourite childhood place (like a fort)". And then the other dancers watching me had to guess what I was trying to convey. Ah, belly-dance charades! It builds character, I'm sure.
Other class members danced being "joyful in an ocean", "overwhelmed in a greenhouse", and a very saucy portrayal of being "sultry in the kitchen".
We played a second round where we now chose a "character" as well as a location.
I guess its a good thing to challenge oneself... that's how I ended up dancing "Betty Boop in a China Shop" to a Turkish dance tune the other night. I got the Betty Boop idea across in a satisfyingly short time, but how exactly does one belly-dance being in a china-shop?
And then a third round---yes, I think any self-consciousness had dissolved by this point in the evening... we were laughing too hard.
I danced an improv duet with my teacher as my partner: she portrayed a medieval knight and I had to personify Spring Equinox--strewing flowers from an invisible basket and pretending to run my fingers through my imaginary long, flowing hair.
I also watched a dance duel between Super Woman and a sword-fighter, and a stand-off (in dance) between a female wrestler and a flamenco-dancer! Now that's something you don't see every day!