Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Perfomance Evaluation for 2009

My dance teacher makes every performer do an annual performance review. Here is mine for this year.
She has to still review and give me feedback on this..so awaiting that..meanwhile..for my future reading pleasure:
PERFORMER REVIEW 2009 by Leena Wagle
Aug 11, 2009
I have been learning mid-eastern dance from Jasmine since 2006. I have been performing with Jasmine and Jasmine’s Jewels since 2007. My first performance with the Jewels was at the Olive branch Festival in May 2007. Since then, I have been an active member of the Jewels (with no long breaks). I have been taking basic technique classes every Sunday. I also attend the Adv. Choreography class every Sunday. I have also attended the Adv. Technique classes whenever they are offered by Jasmine.
I have also attended 2 dance workshops with the group so far. These workshops were taught by teachers other than Jasmine. I have learnt at the Khalichi style workshop by Amani Jabril and the Belladi workshop by Shahna of Little Rock.
I intend to keep working on my technique with Jasmine. I also would like to continue being a Jewel and make progress in recognizing dance styles in mid-east dance and learn to incorporate these styles in the choreographies I know and learn.

  • Fast Learner: I think of my self as a fast learner of dance. I can learn choreographies fast and also remember combinations well. I also pay attention to the subtle movements and emphasis on movements that teacher mentions. These help me to add more to the choreography than just the move.
  • Remember Choreographies: I think that I remember choreographies, entry and exit to dances and stage placements well. Sometimes when I do not dance a piece for more than 4 months; I have noticed that I need some brush up on a few rough points in the choreography and I can remember most of the dance.
  • Adapt to change: I adapt to change in choreography really well. I also am able to transition a combination from one side to another. I am also always open to changes made to choreography while performing at different venues. For the 2 years, that I have been a Jewel and have danced at several venues, I have not had problems adjusting to stage placements and space.
  • Team Player: I get along very well with my fellow Jewels and also with other dancers in the technique class. I think I can make my fellow dancers comfortable to dancing with me. I am willing to step back and help out and not perform on stage as and when the situation demands. I am willing to take the necessary steps to help the troupe to give a good performance and to keep DWJ in a good light. I treat all my fellow dancers and my teacher with respect. I also am attentive in class and workshops and try not to distract my fellow dancers in any way. I always try to remember instructions that Jasmine gives at the end of class or rehearsals regarding timings, costumes and such. I have always tried to follow these instructions as closely as I can.
  • Punctuality: I have not been as punctual as I would like to be to classes, workshops, rehearsals and performances. Although I have not delayed a performance or a class due to me not being punctual, I understand that being late shows the group in a bad light and makes us seem unprofessional. I appreciate Jasmine’s perseverance to make sure that we appear professional and respectful of the dance form and the audience.
    Since March 2009, after the event at Donna’s house; I have worked hard to make sure that I am present at classes, rehearsals, workshops and performances on time (at 5 to 10 mins. before the time stated). I have been late to a couple of classes due to personal problems, however, I have really worked to make sure that nothing I do shows the group in a bad light.
    I will continue to work on being punctual and making sure that I appear as respectful and as professional towards my dance as I can.
  • Taking notes: Sometimes I procrastinate about taking notes in class. This is partly due to the fact that there is not always s enough time to write everything down. I have noticed that when I do write notes about choreography, it helps me a lot when I am working on a piece alone or when practicing without Jasmine.
    I am working to write notes every Sunday after I get back from class. I am also trying to make an effort to keep my notes close by when I practice and constantly improvise them. I am trying to develop a habit in which I run the dance in my mind while listening to music and then slow dance it while referring to the notes.
  • Practice and Stretching: I do not get to practice the dance technique and the choreographies everyday. On the weekdays, I get home later than 7 pm; I do not have a lot of energy to practice entire choreographies. I have noticed that during times when the workload is less at FedEx and I get to practice more often, my dance and technique improve.
    I have a plan to make a timetable until the hafla in Sept. 2009 and set some time aside when I rehearse and practice on my own or with another dancer. I have noticed that when I practice with one or two other dancers, then the motivation and commitment to the rehearsal is better and I learn more from the practice. However, sometimes space can be an issue while organizing a practice session with 3 dancers.
    I have also been working to stretch every day in the morning for 15 mins and in the evening for 15 mins to work on my flexibility.
  • Communication: I have noticed that sometimes I have difficulty communicating my thoughts and ideas to fellow dancers. This usually happens during rehearsals when some fellow dancers might not be flexible to change the set choreography to try making a change to an entry from a different side or making changes to where stage placements are. However, there has been no conflict of any kind and we always find a way to make it work.
    I think the only way I can work on this is to listen carefully to the ideas of other dancers and then to explain my thoughts and ideas as clearly as possible.
  • Valentine’s day Ball performance: These performances were in West Memphis, during Jan 2009 and Feb. 2009. At the first performance, I was the helper for the troupe. I worked with the sound person and the event organizer to see that everything they needed from DWJ was handled properly. I also worked with the troupe to give props and was there for the troupe when they needed any assistance. I really enjoyed being helper and think that I did a good job. Also, it was really relaxing not to be thinking about the choreographies and performance for once and to cheer the Jewels and take pix.
    The second ball was where I performed. It was my first experience dancing in a very large area that was also crowded. It was a little awkward to be dancing with the people at such close proximity. I learnt how to maneuver in tight places gracefully, how to gesture and work with facial expressions as to not make the audience nervous or uncomfortable. I also got chance to work on improvisation and to leant how to keep the dance interesting. I learnt a lot by watching Jasmine and Lucie perform in the same space earlier.
  • Donna’s house party: This performance was at Donna’s house at a private party. It was my first experience dancing in at a private party in a house. The experience really boosted my confidence as a dancer. The initial nervousness was taken over by the joy of dancing for and with the people I see regularly. I really enjoyed the energy and the mood the party and had fun performing. I learnt how to interact with audience at such proximity and also to be able to change the choreography to suit the space available. This was the first performance where I had my first costume malfunction. My belt came off during Chitana. I had seen this happen to several fellow dancers before, but when it happened to me, I learnt to appreciate the courage and grace with which my fellow dancers handled themselves, their costume and the dance when this happened. Again, learnt a lot!
  • FedEx Forum: This was the first time DWJ had an opportunity to perform at FedEx Forum. There were just 3 dancers, Jasmine, Lucie and me on the court at FedEx Forum. We were the opening act for the Globe Trotters game. We had 2 weeks to learn a new choreography and to learn how to use the wings. I worked hard on the choreography and learnt to use the wings. I think I did well at this performance. I was present on time, got ready in time and learnt to work on my initial performance anxiety before beginning the dance. I learnt by observing Jasmine and looking at the video. I learnt how to emphasize moves when dancing in a large space and how to dramatize the choreography to really make movements noticeable.

Hafla 2009:
I will be involved as one of the main performers at the Hafla in 2009. I have been practicing my dances and have done a couple of workshops with Jasmine to work on the dances that need more improvement. My personal commitment as a dancer is to perform, to help fellow Jewels and to help DWJ in every possible way to make this event successful. Last year at the hafla I took longer to get ready and hence did not get a chance with mingle with the crowd a lot. My goal for this hafla is to practice getting dressed sooner so that I can mingle with the crowd before the show more. I will also be helping sell tickets, and helping Jasmine with printing flyer and tickets. I can also help with place decorations and stage decorations.
This is also the first time I will audition for a solo performance as a Jewel (and hope not to get too nervous dancing in front of Jasmine!). The dance I am auditioning is “Deli Ya Deli”, which I have found a little hard from the beginning. This choreography always intimidated me until my latest private lesson with Jasmine. The practice has become much easier after thatJ. Hopefully, it will come through in the auditions.

Improvements N Advances:
  • I think I have really improved in my punctuality to classes, rehearsals and performances. It has also helped me be less stressed before and during the performance.
  • I have begun to recognize different styles in Bellydance and to recognize the nuances of performance and style of dancing. This has come through exposure to different teachers, and by watching other dancers.
  • I have also become more comfortable to improvise to piece of music. I think this has come through learning to feel the mood of the music and just by dancing more and being comfortable with my body and dance.
Dance Goals:
  • Shimmie: My goal for this year is to work on Shimmies. I have done several workshops with Jasmine on shimmies, but have not yet reached the level of comfort that I would like. I would like to work on making my legs stronger so that I can work on making the shimmies looser and bigger. I would also like to work on my posture during shimmies. I also want to work on travelling with shimmies and layering on shimmies.
  • Belladi: Since I have learnt two Belladies - Bat Bat Shaabu and Yasmina Belladi. My goal is make the technique of these choreographies sharp and strong. My goal is also to adopt the style and the mood of the music to bring out the nuances in these choreographies. I would like to work so that I can make these choreographies my own and be able to perform them as solos.
  • Practice, Flexibility, Technique: My third goal is to develop a timetable to practice some technique everyday and to work on technique of doing arabesque, turns and spins. (Keeping the legs tight during turns and working on my pigeon toes)

    Why a Jewel:
    I want to be a Jewel because dancing with the other Jewels brings a lot of joy and satisfaction to me as a dancer. I really enjoy the company of rehearsing, performing and working with all the dancers at DWJ.
    I also respect and admire Jasmine as a teacher and a friend. I hope that I can reflect the passion she has for dance and dance form. I admire her dedication to the dance and always enjoy her explanations of combinations, breakdown of movements and her perseverance to better the dance, the dance company and the troupe.
    I learn something every time I meet the DWJ Jewels for practice, class or performance. I like being a Jewel because being a Jewel has made me grow in every way I always aspired to. All the Jewels are a source of inspiration, motivation and pride to me; and all I have to do is show up to class ON TIME :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bollywood Dance? SERIOUSLY??

Just saw "So u think you can dance?" episode 1. Saw the Bollywood routine choreographed to Jai Ho. What an old fashioned routine! G looked at me after that and said "Who dances like that in Bollywood?". I mean, SERIOUSLY! WHO DANCES LIKE THAT?
The last time I saw those moves in a Hindi film were in the 1950s when Vaijayathimala was dancing. Nothing wrong with that; but is OLD, OOLD, OOOOOOLD!
Someone needs to give the choreographer a Madhuri or Hrithik movie. Even the dances from Devdas, that were supposed to be based in a period era, were choreographed way better.
I know that the choreography was done for a western, really, American audience; but that does not mean it has to be corny. That does not mean you insist the stereotype that the americans have about Indian movies. After seeing the Jazz-done-with-genius routine for the crash dummies; I think that the bollywood routine was done by someone who has not seen a single hindi movie after Sangam and has jumped straight to Slumdog milionaire. If the person who choreographed the dance had seen even a single Amitabh Bachan (who was rightfully shown in slumdog Millionare), that person would have realised what the more contemporary dances look like in Hindi movies. I mean even Rekha in Umrao Jaan had better steps.
As a dancer and a bollywood dancer, I think the routine was a half-baked, half-researched, and stereotyped attempt to show dance from Indian films. I am not even talking about the injustice that was done to the amazing music of Rahman. Lets just leave that to another day, shall we.
Also, the costumes! OMG! What happened to all the publicity that Indian cinema and fashion is gettingnowadays. Did the producers of this show completely miss the train on this one? YEESUH, I shall say.
Neeways, I think I am going to ship some movies to the show producers and ask them if the dance today really said Bollywood, or it was an oldy-wood, done-by-side-heriones-in-BW-hindi-movies, dance done wearing costumes from the time when the world did not know what a cellphone was.
WAKE UP, CATCH UP with us INDIANS and get GROOVY like we do. IT IS TIME!