I have been taking a few workshops at the relaxing, organized, gorgeously thought-out Sahara Dance Studio when I get the chance. Lucky for me, there are some great tribal dance teachers there like Ebony & Na'la, and they hosted Mardi Love there last weekend too. But the studio is primarily cabaret/egyptian in background/taste/feel. Thus when I went to their hafla on Saturday night, it was not particularly surprising that I felt a little...out of my element. It was held at a dance club that they had rented out just for us dancers (Pasha Lounge). Unfortunately, the air conditioning was not functioning and the sound quality was pretty bad. Also, the DJ was not good at helping dancers dance (changing up rhythm constantly. Slow! Fast! Sl-ast!). Watching the beginner dancers show their stuff was sweet. I'm glad to support the new dancers--they're clearly having fun. But in all, there was a lot more pink and chincy coin hip scarves than I'm used to. Just not really...my scene...is all.
This was my favorite moment of the night: Na'la w/ her dance crew.
Sunday night, I ventured out to Adams Morgan, for DC Tribal Cafe's last event at Asylum. I was immediately greeted with hugs from Mavi and her husband Michael, Na'la, and friendly welcomes from everyone else. The bar itself is clearly in Goth (dungeon?) mode--dungeon stone painted on the wall, plastic skeleton parts ensconced in frames, draping blood red cloth and chandeliers...you get the picture. This backdrop didn't speak to me, persay, but the people did. There were a lot more piercings, dredlocks, tattoos, and, most importantly, wide-as-hell grins. These were the smiles of people 100% comfortable in their skin. Not the timid, polite smiles of many of the hafla-goers from the night before. THIS made me feel right at home. The evening followed: live sitar and whirling by Ever After (and some dancing on the bar!)
mesmerizing ATS (echoing in my head, Mardi saying, "the dance stands on its own, it's so lovely")
and Belladonna's raucous and intense renditions of Alien (?) and some Rage Against the Machine (FUCK YOU I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!). Her swordwork was enviable and her costume perfect for the Extra-Terrestrial song.
I had an excellent time. It's so amazing to know I have people (these are my people!) wherever there are tribal dancers. Glee. And next month I'll be dancing at their new venue with Mavi and Na'la. Sweet.
[sorry for the crappy phone photos. I got my camera out so I wouldn't forget it, and then left it on the sink before I left the house.]