Добавлено: Пт Май 27, 2011 9:59 am Заголовок сообщения: Рэйчел Брайс
Как Рэйчел сама указывает на своём официальном сайте, танцует она "unusual beelly dance" (необыкновенный беллиданс). Но мы привыкли связывать её имя с tribal fusion.
Не буду изображать из себя крайне неординарного человека и отмечу, что Рэйчел, как и для многих, является для меня самой любимой танцовщицей. Она вдохновляет меня, являясь путеводной звездой. Именно её выступления перевернули моё представление о танце и заставили копнуть глубже в поисках самой себя.
Бабочкофф Андрей АДМИНИСТРАТОР ФОРУМА пишите смс/в личку
Зарегистрирован: 17.01.2008 Сообщения: 896 Откуда: Москва, Россия
Добавлено: Вс Май 29, 2011 1:20 pm Заголовок сообщения:
ИНТЕРВЬЮ С РЭЙЧЕЛ БРАЙС
Интервьюер: Каджира Джумана
Перевод вольный, by Agenda!
26 апреля 2004 года
Интервью было взято дома у Рейчел в присутствии ее мамы Джулии и бойфренда Кейли.
Первое, что меня поразило в Рейчел во время разговора – ее скромность. Она удивительна скромна для звезды такого уровня. Она застенчиво говорит: «Так интересно, люди хотят знать, что я думаю!». Она объясняет свой успех тем, что ей все время помогали друзья. Уму непостижимо, что Рейчел ничего не делала, чтобы продвинуться до такого уровня, ее успех – вещь случайная.
Рейчел начала заниматься йогой и танцем живота одновременно, когда ей было 16-17 лет. Она хотела узнать больше о медитации, и ее друзья хотели попробовать йогу. Рейчел повредила шею во время занятия танцами и попала к хиропрактику, который дал ей флайер для занятий йогой.
«Я долго не могла решиться пойти на занятие, потому что я не знала, что это такое, но слышала о том, что йога увиличивает прилив крови к внутренним органам и способствует развитию гибкости. Я помню, что удивлялась, как можно увеличить прилив крови к органам, это меня поразило. Так что в конце концов я пошла на занятие и спрашивала людей: «Это ваш первый раз? Что мы будем делать?». Но занятие было удивительным и расслабляющий, мы много тянулись и сосредотачивались на дыхании, инструктор ходила и совала эвкалиптовое масло нам под нос, так чтобы открыть носовые пазухи во время медитации. Мне очень понравилось. Она вдохновила меня, Сильвана Балсимелли. Ей было всего 24, и я влюбилась в нее, потому что она была такая клевая! Я немедленно окунулась в йогу и ее культуру. Я покинула второе занятие, чувствуя себя хорошо, как никогда!
У меня был период использования наркотиков, когда мне было 15-16. Но у меня наступило прозрение, я стала мыслить здраво, стала веганом, начала заниматься йогой, танцем и духовной дисциплиной. Это был большой сдвиг, и все в 16 лет. Мне нелегко приходилось в школе, потому что я была постоянно на наркотиках и ненавидела всех и вся. Я думала, что все знаю, но на самом деле была такой глупой. Моя лучшая подруга прошла через все это со мной, и настал день, когда я взглянула на нее и сказала: «Что это мы делаем? Нам нужно собраться, хотя бы на пару недель!». В тот год я исправила свои отметки».
K: Первое беллиданс выступление, которое ты видела, было от Hahbi ‘Ru.
R: На самом деле, мама рассказывает, что мне было 5, когда я увидела беллидэнсершу. Мы были на вечеринке у друзей, и я следовала за танцовщицей весь вечер, загипнотизированная. Я думала, что это «волшебная женщина». Но первыми танцорами, которых я хорошо помню, были Hahbi ‘Ru. Это было на Renaissance Pleasure Faire в Северной Калифорнии в 1988 году, когда мне было около 16. Я подумала, что я тоже должна научитьсяI Там была одна женщина, довольна плотная, не с такой красивой фигурой по южно-калифорнийским стандартам. Она выступала сольно и просто поразила меня! У нее была невероятная манера, движения, грация. Я не видела ничего красивее! Я готова заплакать, когда вспоминаю об этом. Она делаю невероятные, огромные движения бедрами, и все просто тряслось. Был момент, когда она повернулась и посмотрела на зрителей через плечо, как будто хотела сказать: «Я знаю, что вам нравится!». У меня открылись глаза, я раньше думала, что ты можешь чувствовать себя красивой только будучи в определенной физической форме! У меня были проблемы с этим, не то чтобы я была анорексичной, но проблемы были. Я была так тронута, у меня слезы по щекам покатились.Я вернулась домой и стала искать возможность заниматься танцами. Но я была так шокирована, когда увидела, что я должна носить во время выступлений! Я думала, что все одеваются как Hahbi ‘Ru! Я полагала, что буду носить нормальную одежду, а моя учительница дала мне крохотные золотые панталоны с разрезами по бокам и малюсенький золотой лиф с жемчугом, сказав мне сделать макияж и прическу как у «красотки».
K: Ты выступала в Южной Калифорнии совсем недолго. Почему?
R: Мне не нравились вечеринки, на которых я выступала. Я работала в ресторанах, сольно, в кабаре-стиле. Мне исполнился 21 год. Со зрителями было трудно работать. Я не понимаю, почему люди так воспринимают беллиданс: это такой красивый вид искусства, а мне приходилось танцевать в клубе, где ко мне относились как к шлюхе. В Сан-Франциско все иначе.
K: Пожалуйста, расскажи об этой разнице.
R: Большая часть аудитории в Южной Калифорнии относится к танцовщицам как к девушкам легкого поведения. Там только два типа девушек: хорошие девочки или развратные девчонки. Там нет места сильной, чувственной женщине, которая наслаждается тем, что она делает, и чувствует себя независимо. В Северной Калифорнии больше интерпретаций, больше интересных ролей для женщины, и ожидания аудитории иные.
K: Ты работала ассистентом хиропрактика… Когда и где?
R: Да, я перестала танцевать и работала в приемной хиропрактика (Джека Эбнера), которому было трудно удержать массажистов на работе. Однажды он предложил мне стать терапевтом, потому что я была надежным человеком и появлялась вовремя. Он также предложил мне давать уроки. Я занималась йогой несколько лет, и Джек спрорсил меня, почему я не учу. Я сказала, что не готова, но он ответил, что уже отвел мне время в расписании. Саначал я протестовала, но она настоял на своем. Так что я давала уроки некоторое время, но почувствала, что мне нужно подучиться. Я истратила небольшое наследство дедушки, занимаясь с Эриком Шиффманом. Также я работала массажисткой и преподавала йогу, а через пару лет переехала в Санта Круз.
K: Почему в Санта Круз?
R: У меня туда переехала подруга, я навещала ее и подумала: «Вау! Где же есть еще такое место?». Там я работала у другого хиропрактика. Но в Санта Круз было очень много танцовщиц, и это разожгло мой интерес. Я распаковала свои старые костюмы – Мадам Аблы – и решила танцевать. Я нашла работу в ресторане, и поворотным моментом, когда моя подруга предложила мне танцевать ритуальный беллиданс. Я выступала в нижнем белье, это было мощно!
Я репетировала без зеркала, и даже не знала, как выгляжу со стороны, пока не увидела себя на видео. Но вское ко мне подошли 6 девушек и наперебой спрашивали, где я преподаю, я отвечала, что нигде. Но моя подруга Джулия Голстейн записала их и открыла класс. Я преподавала йогу и танец, и оба раз меня просто вынудили это делать!
Я не чувствовала себя готовой, не знала, как делать постановки, названий движений… Я использовала элементы из йоги, и все было успешно, к моему удивлению. Джулия меня очень подбадривала и многому научила.
А вот газета на стене – я сохраню ее навсегда, потому что так я нашла свой путь. В ней биографии мужчины, у которого есть степень в этнологии танца. Я подумала: «Ух ты! Это значит, что можно изучать этнические танцы и получить степень?», я нашла единственный университет, который предлагал такую программу – в штате Сан-Франциско.
Это следующий шаг и то, что я собираюсь делать лет 10-15. Я хочу вернуться к занятиям, стать доктором наук и работать профессором. Для этого я хочу сейчас научиться многому, больше заниматься, брать мастер-классов и работать над хореографией. Я мечтаю преподавать танец в колледже или университете.
K: На твоем сайте написала, что ты практиковалась по видео Сухайлы Салимпур «Танец для султана»…
R: Это изумительное видео! Я нашла его, когда мне было 17. Она так красиво танцует, я выучила хореографию, но не знала, насколько я правильно делаю движения. Я работала в ресторанах, чтобы практиковаться, но хотела учиться дальше.
K: Когда ты продолжила учиться?
R: Переехав в Сан-Франциско, я танцвала в ресторанах, занималась и преподавала йогу. В Санта-Круз я увидела Ultra Gypsy. Джилл вдохновила меня. Я и не знала, что живот может так двигаться, или что люди могут так отгибаться назад! Я захотела учиться у нее, увешала всю комнату ее фотографиями. Я стала заниматься у Джилл, посещала их групповые выступления. Джилл думала, что я хочу выступать сольно, так что никогда не спрашивала меня, хочу ли я присоединиться к группе. Но однажды меня пригласили, так что я была очень и очень занята. Я выступала с Ultra Gypsy очень недолго, потому что была слишком занята. Я начала сольную карьеру. В Ultra Gypsy я встетила Джанис Солимено, и, когда начала давать уроки, Джанис покинула Ultra Gypsy, и стала заниматься у меня. Джанис хотела, чтобы мы танцевали вместе, но у меня не было компании. Двумя днями позже, когда пришли только Ариелла и Мишель, мы поставили кое-что, и пока они танцевали, я подумала: «Да они великолепны вместе». И в конце занятия я предложила им заниматься со мной и Джанис, так зародилось The Indigo.
Выступления труппы: tribaret.net/video/rachel-brice/
K: Как тебе удалось добиться такого успеха так быстро?
R: Мне помогли друзья… Мое первое соло на фестивале - Tribal Fest 2 или возможно на Rakkasah, с Тобиасом. Я была удивлена, как тепло меня принимали, в ресторанах аудитория совсем иная.
K: Ты занимаешься у Каролины и FatChanceBellyDance?
R: Когда есть возможность. Я также хочу взять уроки по классическому индийскому танцу.
Рейчел много рассказывает о туре BellyDance SuperStars и вообще о жизни. Интервью очень большое, советую почитать его, если вы владеете английским! _________________
Бабочкофф Андрей АДМИНИСТРАТОР ФОРУМА пишите смс/в личку
Зарегистрирован: 17.01.2008 Сообщения: 896 Откуда: Москва, Россия
Добавлено: Вс Май 29, 2011 1:23 pm Заголовок сообщения:
WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS
an interview with RACHEL BRICE, BELLYDANCE SUPERSTAR
conducted by Kajira Djoumahna, all rights reserved, 2004
This interview was conducted on April 26, 2004 at Rachel's home in the vibrant Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Her mother, Julie, and her boyfriend, Keili, are present as well.
The first thing that struck me about Rachel while interviewing her is her modesty. For a star in our field, she’s refreshingly modest and approachable. She says humbly, "It's so interesting people wanna know my thoughts!" She attributes her rise to fame to “a little help from her friends” along the way. I agree, and once you read her story, you will too. It’s mind-boggling that she has done nothing to promote herself to get where she is, her success is pure Universe-in-Action in the sense that it all simply has happened to her... as if her life was planned by a power greater than herself. Read on to see what I mean.
K: Was yoga your first form of physical expression?
R: I can't remember, but I think yoga and dance happened at about the
same time. I started yoga and bellydance when I was 16 or 17.
K: What drew you to those first classes?
R: I wanted to learn about meditation and had friends who wanted to go
try yoga. I had recently hurt my neck at a youth dance club and went to
a chiropractor who gave me a flyer for a yoga class. I kept it on my
fridge for quite some time as I didn't know what it was, but it said it
increased circulation to your internal organs and increased
flexibility. I remember wondering what would increase circulation to
internal organs, it fascinated me. So finally I went to my first class,
and I remember asking the people, "Is this your first class? What are
we gonna do?"
But the first class was amazing and relaxing, we did lots of stretches
and breath work, she came around and put eucalyptus oil under our noses
so it would open our nasal passages during the meditation. I really
loved it. She was inspirational, one of my first mentors. Her name is
Silvana Balsimelli and she is also a chiropractor.
She was only 24 and I was in love with her ‘cause she was just so cool.
I was immediately enamored with yoga culture. The second class I took
with her, I walked out feeling good for the first time in my life. I
never even knew I hadn't before that! I was very hyperactive as a kid
and didn't know anything else. I had lots of energy. So this yoga thing
was a big discovery for me!
K: How did your mom feel about you pursuing all these alternative forms?
Rachel's mom, Julie: I dress much more conservatively than I am! So it
was perfectly fine with me.
R: Except for the minor problem...
K: What do you mean?R: I went through a period of drug use when I was 15 and 16. But
I had a moment of clarity and got sober, became vegan, started yoga and
dance and my spiritual discipline. It was big shift, all at 16 years
old. I decided I wanted to go for a 4.0 in high school that year. It
was one of those look in the mirror things, ‘cause I was doing drugs
constantly and hated everything and was so angry. I thought I knew
everything, but really I was just being stupid. My best friend was
right along with me, and one day I just looked at her and said, "What
are we doing? We need to get sober for a couple weeks," and cleaned up
my act. I did get almost a 4.0 that year!
K: The first bellydancers you saw were Hahbi ‘Ru. Please tell us about
R: Actually, mom tells a story about me when I was five.
Julie: We went to a friend's party where there was a bellydancer, and
Rachel wouldn't stop following her the whole evening after her show!
She was mesmerized! She thought of her as "the magic woman."
R: I remember the carpet she had to dance on. I went as close as I
could to the edge and looked up at her. Everything about it was so
beautiful, I loved it all! I remember the feeling, if not the actual
vision. But the first dancers I really remember well were Hahbi ‘Ru. I
went to the Northen California Renaissance Pleasure Faire when I was
about 16, in 1988, and saw them. I thought immediately "I have to do
that!" There was one woman in particular that I will never forget. John
(Compton) remembers her name, but I don't. She was a substantial woman,
not of the conventionally beautiful figure I was used to, by Southern
California standards. She did a solo and blew me away. She had such
incredible posture, movements, grace. It was the most beautiful thing I
had ever seen. It still makes me cry when I think about it (Rachel's
eyes are teary as she speaks). I mean, she would do these incredible,
huge hip locks and everything just shook! There was a moment when she
turned around and looked over her shoulder at the audience as if to
say, "I know you like what you see, ‘cause what I got goin' on is damn
good!" This was eye-opening for me, as I thought you could only feel
beautiful when you fit the conventional mold. I'd bought that idea up
to that point, and had some body-image problems, not an actual
disorder, I didn't throw up or purge or binge or anything, and I wasn't
anorexic, but I bordered on a problem, tripping on what I was eating. I
knew it was not healthy, and to see this woman that others do not think
of as "classically beautiful," strutting like a supermodel, was
amazing. I didn't know what was going on, I was so moved, tears were
just streaming down my cheeks. And then John came out and he's so
gorgeous with his blue eyes and kohl, and his dancing! I went home and
looked up bellydance immediately. But I was so shocked when I first saw
what I was supposed to wear to perform! I thought everyone dressed like Hahbi ‘Ru! I thought I would get to wear "the goods," but (my first
teacher) gave me these little gold lame` pants split up the sides and a
tiny gold bra with pearls, and wanted me to do my hair and makeup all
K: Your first teacher was Atesh. Was that Lynn Zalot, the first editor
R: No, her first name is Diane.
K: You bellydanced there (Southern California) only for a little while. Why?
R: I didn't feel comfortable in the venues where I was performing. I
was working in restaurants in Orange County performing cabaret style
solos. I had just turned 21. But the audience was difficult to dance
for. I didn't understand the way people viewed bellydance. I thought it
was such a beautiful art form, but I'd go dance in a club and be
treated like a hooker. It's very different from San Francisco and
K: Please share how it's different in SoCal from NorCal.
R: In my experience, much of the audience in Southern California
treated the dancers as though they want to be flirted with sexually.
There's only two types of women there: the "good" girls or the slutty,
sexy girls. They didn't have a place for a strong, sensual woman who
loved what she was doing and was independent. The dancing seemed to be
about entertaining men. In NorCal there are more dimensions in the
dance, and more interesting roles for women, and the audience's
expectations are different because of that.
K: You were also a chiropractic assistant for a while. When and where?
R: I was still in OC for about 2 years after I quit dancing. I was
working as a receptionist with a chiropractor (Jack Ebner) who had
trouble keeping massage therapists in the office (where I'd taken my
first yoga classes: Omadawn Health Care Center). One day he suggested
he pay for my massage training so I could I become the next therapist
for his office, since I was reliable and always showed up on time. I
took him up on the offer. He's also the reason I'm teaching. I had been
taking yoga for several years when he asked "Why aren't you teaching?"
I told him I wasn't ready to teach, but he replied he had scheduled a
new class to start on Saturday mornings in January at 8:00 am. At first
I protested, but he said, "No, just go in and show them what you do."
So after teaching for awhile I felt I needed formal yoga teacher
training, and I used a small inheritance from my grandfather to do so.
I trained with Erich Schiffman.
It's not in a particular style, though he studied Iyengar a lot, his is
more from a place of "practice a lot, and what you learn in your practice, pass that on." My favorite quote of his: "A teacher is
someone so filled with yoga that it overflows.” Of course you need a
knowledge of various asanas and safety, and anatomy and physiology, but
teaching should come from the heart. I also took an Iyengar teacher
training, but am not certified in that style. It's one of my goals to
complete an Iyengar training after I finish my B.A..
So I became one of Omadawn's massage therapists after massage school,
and was also teaching yoga there, for about two years before I moved to
K: Why did you choose Santa Cruz?
R: I had a friend who moved there and I went to visit and thought, "WOW!
There's places like this out there?" and knew I had to move.
Julie: She told me that and I'd always loved Santa Cruz, too, so I told
her "let's go" and I packed up and moved. But she didn't follow at
first! Not for five years.
R: There I worked at another chiropractor's office, as the therapist who
does the preliminary soft-tissue work that prepares the patient before
the adjustment. I really preferred this to regular massage therapy, as
I only had to do each patient for about 15 minutes and wasn't obligated
to try to diagnose. In my own massage practice I was always asked by
patients about diagnoses, and of course you can't diagnose as a CMT, so
it was great to work in an office where there was a doctor to do that.
There's an incredible amount of bellydance in Santa Cruz, and it
started to rekindle my interest. I broke out my old costumes - Madame
Ablas - and decided to dance. I got a job in a restaurant, but the big
turning point for me was when a friend put on a show called "What is
Erotica?" (It was held) in this great performance space there, and she asked me to do a
ritual bellydance. I did it, in lingerie! It was so powerful. I
practiced without a mirror ‘cause I didn't have one, so I didn't even
know what I looked like until I saw the video. But afterwards, about 6
girls came up to me, asking, "Where are you teaching? Where are you
teaching?" and I kept saying "I'm not," but my friend Julie Goldstein,
the business woman, said "No, get their names and start a class!"
So both times I taught something, either yoga or dance, it was because
someone pushed me to do it! I didn't feel ready as I didn't know how to
construct choreographies, or names for moves. I decided to call it a
Bellydance Conditioning class. It became the basis for the drills I do
in my classes today. I used some yoga, too. It became a very successful
class, to my surprise. My friend Julie has a bachelor's in dance and
was very encouraging, and taught me a lot. It inspired me.
And this paper here, that I've kept on my wall forever because it got
me going on my current path (showing me a memorial flyer) has a bio of a man who had a degree in Dance Ethnology. I thought, "Wow! You mean
you can study ethnic dance and get a degree?" so I found the only
university that offers this besides Hawaii, which is SF State.
K: So you have your degree now?
R: This is a sad story. I went back to school there in 2000 and thought
I'd finished everything required. I applied for graduation and they
said, "You're missing 6 units and a world history class. Your upper
division units you can finish in the field (I was dancing a lot again
then, performing) and just get them signed off. But the world history
you need!" So this was disappointing! But my dad is a history teacher,
and with his help I hope to just challenge the test. I need to call the
school to make sure, but that's what I hope to do. Now I'm not home
long enough to take a full course because of the tours.
K: What will you do once you get the degree? How will it change things
R: It's the next step to what I wanna do in about 10 or 15 years. I
want to go back to school and get a doctorate and work as a professor.
For now I want to be in the field, learn more, take more classes and
workshops and work on choreography, then I will feel prepared to teach
dance in a college or university setting. That's my dream.
K: On your Web Site it mentions that you practiced over and over to
Suhaila Salimpour's "Dances for the Sultan" video. Tell us more!
R: That's the only video I will not loan out! It's so amazing. I found
it when I was 17 in Southern California. Her dancing is so beautiful. I
taught myself the choreographies but didn't know whether I was doing
them correctly. I had some restaurant jobs to keep in practice and
wanted to learn more. This video was very significant for me, it was
basically my teacher, and it was incredible to see all that a dancer
can do and how well it can be done.
K: When did you start teaching bellydance again?
R: Once I had moved to San Francisco to go to SF State, I was dancing
in restaurants, going to school and teaching some yoga as well. I first
started teaching at Pixar Animation Studio in Emeryville, the company
that does the movies "A Bug's Life," "Toy Story," "Finding Nemo" and
others. This was probably in 2002. This came about when a small group
came to Amira (the restaurant where Rachel was dancing), and I almost
didn't dance because it was so slow, there was only one table, that
group. After I decided to dance, we talked, they were great and really
open. One of the women asked if I would teach at "Pixar University,"
which is a program for employees of Pixar with various types of classes
for them, such as sculpting, yoga, acting, film making, hip hop, writing, clowning, acting - all kinds of great things.
I was a beginning teacher, and the students really helped me. Pixar
has a fabulous group of people working there, they're all very positive
and say "we can do this" - which is of course, needed for the type of
work they do. They never criticized me for my shortcomings - they gave
me feedback. Like, "This is great, and you know what else I'd really
like?" It was sort of mutual admiration for us all. I always felt
supported, they were so patient with me! They gave me the confidence to
go out and start teaching elsewhere. Since I was already teaching yoga
in a few places, I asked the yoga studios if they'd like to try bellydance,
because the dance studios in the Bay Area were all full.
K: Tell us about your time with Ultra Gypsy.
R: I saw them in Santa Cruz and was blown away. Jill inspired me. I
never knew the abdomen could move like that, or people could do
backbends like that! I wanted to study with her, and I was hanging out
with Tobias (Roberson) who was doing various projects, including
3Spell, the band who played and composed for Ultra Gypsy. He introduced
me to Jill, and I started taking class. It was funny, I had pictures of
her all over my room, but was afraid to go to class. But I finally did
and loved it, and went to see their shows and became a full blown
groupie. Jill thought I wanted to be just a soloist, so she didn't ask
if I were interested in joining the company. One day Tobias told her I
wanted to join Ultra Gypsy and she called and invited me to breakfast
and I freaked out. I was so nervous, I bought a new shirt to look
presentable. I became part of the Ultra Gypsy social circle, every day
I was at a class or hanging out, while still going to school, teaching
yoga, teaching at Pixar - I was very, very busy. I was with the company
for only a short period of time when I realized the combination of
being that busy and artistic differences would require that I leave. I
wrote Jill a letter that I needed some time off.
That's when I really started working on my solo career. I realized I
could focus on school because I didn't have rehearsals, and could still
perform at least once a week.
While in Ultra Gypsy, I met Janice (Solimeno). When I started teaching
dance in the yoga studios, she'd left Ultra Gypsy and was taking classes with me.
By now I was out of school and had a little more time. She wanted to dance
together, but I didn't have a company, so she strongly encouraged me to start one
and said, "If you don't do it I will." Two days later in class, only
Ariellah (Aflalo) and Michelle (Campbell) showed up, so I thought
"Let's do something different" as they were ready for more.
We choreographed some stuff and while they were I dancing I thought "God, they look gorgeous together." At the end of class I asked them if they'd like to do an
invitation-only advanced class at my house with Janice, and that's how
The Indigo began, those classes became rehearsal. We've been together about one and a half years now.
K: How did you burst onto the scene, from a relative unknown to
literally superstar status, seemingly overnight? From just 2 years ago
when no one knew of you, you were dancing at Amira's and taking classes
with Jill.... then suddenly, everyone was talking about Rachel Brice!
How did it happen?
R: It was with a little help from my friends, again...I hadn't felt ready to
put myself out there in the bellydance community for a long time (about
twelve years). My first solo at a festival show for the bellydance
community was at Tribal Fest 2 or maybe at Rakkasah, with Tobias.
He had been doing festivals, and we've worked together for
years. He and Riqq Shah and I performed together, and Tobias showed me
the ropes. I was so surprised that the audience responded so well. I
wasn't ready for that because I was used to the restaurants with
indifferent audiences. Then last year at Tribal Fest (2003), the
crowd's reaction made me start laughing and crying at the same time.
K: Tell us more about Tobias. Did you take drum lessons with him?
R: I did, off and on for two years.
K: Are you taking class now with Carolena and FatChanceBellyDance?
R: When I'm in town and can. I also hope to take more Classical Indian
Dance. I miss that, I was taking Kathak with Chitresh Das at SFSU and
Odissi with Vishnu Tattva Das for a short time. It’s such a challenging dance
form. I'd like to study further. It's amazing.
K: OK, now it's time to talk about "The Tour.” The Bellydance
Superstars! How did you become involved? Did you send a demo to Ark 21,
R: Again, help from my friends! Miles Copeland is making a documentary
called "American Bellydancer," and was interviewing one of the
musicians from Amira, the well-known doumbec player, Mary Ellen Donald.
I had worked with her quite a lot. Miles asked her if there was anyone
he should see, and when Mary Ellen recommended me, he went to Rakkasah
to see my performance. I can't thank her enough for that. He came up to
me after the performance and told me about Lollapalooza and the
Bellydance Superstars. They wanted to interview me right on the spot,
and I thought, "Well, that's a big camera, so it must be legit!" and
talked to them, but I still didn't believe him totally. I mean, you
hear stuff constantly about so-and-so will be at some bellydance event
scouting talent, but nothing becomes of it. He later called me and then
I looked it up online and saw it looked legit so I decided to go on the
road with Lollapalooza. This was the Rakkasah in March 2003.
K: So you hadn't heard of Miles before then?
R: No, but when I went to Pixar to teach, one of the students told me
about his managing The Police and many other artists. She said, "He's
huge! He's Stewart Copeland's brother and works with Cheb Mami and
Khaled.” At first I was afraid of being the only Tribal (fusion)
style dancer on the tour, and of meeting all the cabaret dancers. I was
terrified to get on the bus. I wondered if they'd be really different
types of women than me, and I wondered what they'd expect of me. Miles
and I made it clear before I left that I would only do my own stuff. We
did a ten minute piece for the main stage that was choreographed by
Jillina, with a little solo choreographed my me, in the middle. It did
end up being fun, but it was also a little weird, as it was so
different from a performance that I'd choose to be in back in those
days, so it was kind of bittersweet. I did get to hang out with Incubus
and Jane's Addiction, though, so it was fine! I thought, "Well, OK, so
I'm doing a cabaret choreography, but there's Dave Navarro! So how bad
can it be?" (Much laughter from both of us!)
K: And the audience, I bet, was huge.
R: Thousands saw that tour. I was proud that they could see Tribal
(fusion) - many for their first time. I called Carolena (Nericcio, of FatChanceBellyDance)
from the road to check in with her and to ask her opinion about what I was doing and
what was happening on the tour, as her opinion is very important to me.
Even though I wasn't representing American Tribal Style, I was the first Tribal-anything
dancer many had seen, and though I was on stage doing a cabaret
choreography in tribal garb, I still felt like I was representing her
in a way. I wanted to respect what she created as I was inspired by
her. I didn't want to misrepresent the form.
K: That was thoughtful of you, as it probably hasn't happened often
enough for her from her progeny. I know Carolena craves that type of
interaction as she's said in my interview in the Tribal Bible. But at
the same time, she makes it difficult for those who have left to stay
close, in my opinion. But let's talk now about The Bellydance
Stupidstars, I mean Superstars!
R: Yup, that's what we call ourselves! The "Stupidstars!" (Much
laughing and rolling on the floor from all present!) And our favorite
title is the SmellyPants PooperStars. We came up with those on the bus
to entertain ourselves. You can tell we're all madly in love with the
At first I didn't think I was gonna go on that tour after
Loolapalooza. I had been conflicted by some of the commercialism I'd
seen, and we were doing promos in places that I'd boycotted, like
Border's Books and Capezio stores. We'd play clubs between our stadium show gigs, and in the "down time" we'd go do an appearance at
a Border's or Capezio's (Border's because they're selling the CD and
Capezio because they supplied the shoes). I felt conflicted about
supporting those establishments, it was not the direction I wanted to
go. In addition, Miles seemed like he really wanted a can-can girl show
and I didn't want to be a part of that. It was my first impression of
the show. I still feel that way about the commercialism, though, and am
still kind of wrestling with that. My two greatest inspirations as far
as people who are holding to their values and still making it in their
chosen fields are Johnny Depp and Ani DiFranco.
And they did it in two completely different ways: Ani refused to sign
with a record company, she started her own label at age 18 or
something. She has many albums and tours and is a successful musician.
And Johnny Depp obviously is a successful actor who does commercial
mainstream stuff but somehow keeps his own integrity, his own
personality in check. I mean, you don't think of him as a "sell-out."
So, yes, I was concerned. I don't want to lose my soul, I don't want to
be Vanilla Ice. I don't want to go out there and do only what the
producers want me to do to collect a check. That refusing to be
obsessed with money has always been a part of my personal life.
But after this last tour I see it differently: even though the tour is
the promoter, it's also the dancers. And the dancers are amazing! And,
Miles has shown himself to be cool. He's a madman in every sense of the
word, with all the positive and negative associations with the word.
He's a genius, he generates ideas like no one I've ever seen, he's
honest and works harder than anyone I've ever met. And because he's
like a savant, he's not the most organized. It's not that they don't
care (at the office), but he's such an idea mill, he's shouting things
out and people are writing it down as fast as they can and then he
changes his mind. But I realized that it's good to have someone like
that backing you up, as he knows everyone in the business and he knows
how to handle it. He yells at people, "What do you mean they can't have
lights? We need stage lights! And a dressing room! You have to take
care of this NOW! " If left to me, I'd be like, "OK, I'll dress in the
bathroom and dance in the dark. This flashlight will be alright."
K: So you weren't sure you wanted to go on this tour. What persuaded
R: Jillina. She said after Lollapalooza, "So, you're going on the U.S.
tour, right?" She really encouraged me, but it was hard because I don't
like being away from my company, The Indigo, and I had to leave them
all the first year. But I wanted to perform more so this was the
answer. At home I taught more than I performed, and this isn't ideal
for me. So even though it's not the same type of show I'd put on,
because I have a completely different aesthetic, I have learned to respect other styles and ways of doing things. And I have grown close
to the people behind the dancer as well. So often we're judged only on
our stage persona.
We were all very sad to end the tour. It was a hard beginning, but in
the end the company has learned. That's another thing: they (the tour
producers) listen to the dancers. That helps so much to know you're
being heard. It gives me hope for working with Miles, to be heard. He
started out doing rock shows and this is very different. We have
different requirements. They took our suggestions to heart and midway
through the tour it stared getting easier. W got better gigs, better
situations and felt more positive. We do need better written press
releases, though! Too much of those "slithering, gyrating" types of
adjectives used. But it's getting better and better. We're starting to
feel more like a troupe and less like the bellydance version of N'Sync
(an artificially formed group).
K: That fact I think is pretty historical. It's the first time in
America - maybe anywhere - that a bellydance troupe has been put
together like this solely for a tour. I think people would have to
agree with that no matter how else they may feel about the show, that
this aspect of it is historical. And that in itself is positive for our dance.
R: Yes, it is. And it's not perfect, but we're working on it!
K: Tell us about the actual travel part of the tour. Did you travel via
buses and planes? I know there have already been details on the web
site and in Dondi's journals and articles, but for those who may not have
read them, let's talk a bit. I must say it all sounded grueling! Folks,
they were not on one of those actual tour buses with the windows
blacked out. This was a tiny bus, a van actually. OK, the windows did seem dark....
R: They were when you saw them but they weren't blacked out the first
tour! There were more flights this time, and a few limousines.
K: And I hear there will be a separate bus next time for the roadies
and gear so the dancers can have one to themselves.
R: Yes! We'll have more room and it'll be bigger so we can sleep. It's
good that the gear will be traveling separately, as we had to wait
sometimes for two hours after a show for them to pack it all up before
we could go. So next time, we can be on the road while they're still
packing and get a head start to our next destination. This way we can
get to the next hotel and get some rest, and they can sleep in as they
don't have to put on makeup and costume, and we can meet up at the next
K: What is happening next for the tour?
R: We're going to Belgium, Holland, Germany, the UK, Italy, France and possibly Greece in September/October (2004). (Currently the Bellydance
Superstars are in Barcelona, Spain for a two-week run, as I transcribe in July
K: Will you have a bus in Europe?
R: Miles says he'll have a coach bus for us there, an actual tour bus,
with sleeper bunks.
(Both of us yell, "Yay! There's hope!")
R: It's weird talking to the press about this, but people look at all
the dancers involved in the project and probably think that because
we're in it we're backing it up 100% and we don't have any views that
oppose the views of the management of the Bellydance Superstars. But
most of us are just working. We got a job and we're going to work. But
many people on the outside see it like ‘‘we're a member of the
Bellydance Superstars".... on tour I remember having a conversation with
Dondi about this on the bus. We had a long conversation once about the
average weight of the dancers on the bus, as Dondi's the curviest one
of all... if you read any of her earlier articles (in Middle Eastern dance
publications, and on the Bellydance Superstars Web Site) you knew she
was struggling with that. And some of the dancers ended up feeling a
little attacked, as they couldn't do anything about it. It wasn't along
the lines of the "don't hate me because I'm beautiful" thing, but more like
"This is how we are, and why can't we just be ourselves, whether skinny
or not?" And I thought, why does any of this matter?
K: Because it matters to Miles.
R: Yes, it matters to Miles. Exactly.
Julie, Rachel's mom: And it matters to our society at large.
R: I'm trying to get Miles to watch a hip hop video on MTV or VH1
today. He'll see lots of larger women, a real cross section. I
suggested, "You need more different sized women representing the show
because this isn't a fair cross section."
K: That is the main complaint I hear. And it's not that we (the
complainers) are snubbing the thin girls on the tour, but we're
snubbing Miles's choice of only hiring the thin girls. True, it's not
(always) their fault they're thin, just as it’s not (always) heavy women’s fault they’re fat.
But it is his fault if he doesn't hire other dancers with other body types.
R: He is trying to sell a product. But what I think he needs to believe
is that if he wants to sell an exciting product it has to be on the
cutting edge. And what is cutting edge in music and video right now is
all kinds of different-sized, talented women. There's even songs like,
"I like big butts and I cannot lie!" you know? So I think the faster he
steps on that bandwagon the more it's gonna serve him. One day we had a conversation in a parking lot and he told me, "I don't care what size
anybody is, they have to look good and have talent." So I'd like him to
see some gorgeous voluptuous women and see what he says. All this
remains to be seen. He was into age for a while, but he abandoned
K: I’m not so sure... I was told by Barbara Bolan of Ark 21 that they were specifically
looking for dancers "who appeal to the 18-to-24-year-old-white-male-audience."
R: Yes, which was for Lollapalooza. But that's not true now, as our
audiences are primarily women!
K: Good point! This last tour was completely different than
Lollapalooza. You didn't have any rock bands with you, right? Just you
guys? So you probably had totally different venues and totally
different audiences. And different experiences, too, I'd imagine.
R: We did. It was all women, and women dancers! I did enjoy
Lollapalooza, though, too. I'm from that age group where I love being
at alternative music concerts and the bands that were on the tour with
us were all my heroes, so that part was good. I enjoyed dancing on the
second stage most because the audience would want to see us. On the
main stage we were in between Incubus and Audio Slave, during the break
while they switched bands, and so half the audience would leave to go
to the bathroom. I used to joke, "We can't go out yet because there's
too much audience!" But on the other stage we'd have great crowds who
were into the show.
K: And on the actual Bellydance Superstars tour the whole audience was
there to see you, there was no other reason for them to be there.
R: Exactly. And that's pretty cool!
K: What would you say was the largest crowd you've ever danced for?
R: At Lollapalooza on a sold out night I heard there were 20,000 people
K: Tell us about your best experience performing on either of the two
R: It was in a town with a funny name I can't remember - oh, it was Shank Hall, Wisconsin!
This might sound totally cheesy, but I felt so much support, so much love
from everybody there. I loved what I was doing, they loved what they
were watching. It was one of those times where I felt I could do
anything and they'd "get" it. I came off the stage and just cried, it
was so intoxicating and beautiful. It was a fairly small crowd, only
about 150 women. We didn't get any of the "So you're the Bellydance
Superstars. Show us what you got," like we did from some of our other
shows on the tour from the crowd. It was more like, "Thank you so much for coming here!" It was a dance of rapture. I felt so grateful for the
space and the opportunity. It was overflowing. A spiritual experience!
K: Did any of the other dancers notice this about the audience as well?
R: Yes, it wasn't just me. It was across the board for each dancer. In
fact, most places where we danced we felt similarly.
K: Which brings me to my next question: What was the hardest/ worst
R: It was a dining hall at a golf club. This amazing tribal bellydance
company danced there. There were two tables of people who looked like
they wanted to be there, but they just sat around laughing and talking
loudly through the whole show. It was obvious they do this when they go
to see dancers at nightclubs, too, and they just didn't know any
better. They were very rude and we couldn't figure out why they even
bought tickets to the show. At some point they weren't even watching us
anymore, just drinking and guffawing. I was trying to do this slow,
intense solo and they were just hooting back there. It's the same venue
that Dondi wrote about in her diary where while she was announcing, she
waited for them to be quiet, but no one even noticed!
K: Well, on scale of many things, that's not too bad of an experience
to have lived through.
R: True! No one called us names or anything, they just didn't watch the
show. New York felt like: "Show me the money! Show us why you're The
Superstars." But afterwards they were really cool and open!
K: Is that the show Morocco and Tarik Sultan opened for you guys?
R: Yes. And it was great to hear her reactions to parts of the show as
we watched. I have a lot of respect for her opinion. I told her I got
good grades in college thanks to her research! At one point she said,
"I can't believe it! This actually works!"
K: She wouldn't have said so if she didn't mean it!
R: She liked the bagpipe piece.
K: I loved that piece, too! But it's the one "controversial piece" I
told you about that divided my troupe in half in opinion. Half of us
loved it and half of us hated it, and I thought, "Well, he should keep
that one as we're still talking about it!" To me, that's art if we're
still talking about it and still disagreeing.
R: I love it because it's the first piece I've ever seen where there's
cabaret and tribal dancers on the stage at the same time.
K: So, how did you make it through this tour? I mean, what kinds of things did you guys do to help retain your sanity? Did you decorate your bus spaces to feel more at home?
R: Melodia did. She had a rad space with flowers and images and all kinds of stuff. Some people did, but most just did what I did: their best. At one point I got really motivated and thought, “I’m gonna start taking care of myself and really focus,” but lapsed back into the regular rhythm. But right about then, the tour got fun! They started canceling dates and giving us days off in gorgeous cities like Seattle and New York.
K: You told us how you were discovered by Miles and crew, how about the other dancers on the Superstars tour? It’s not like they were superstars before Miles called them that, in fact, most were virtually unknown (another complaint from the dance community bandied about frequently).
R: Which is one reason why we hate the name! We agree. Anyway, Jillina and Ansuya he knew from the Los Angeles club scene, and they were stars before the tour. Others auditioned at “star searches” and some we picked up from the first time around when they were guest dancers in certain cities, like Petite Jamilla and Yasmine.
K: Can dancers look forward to more audition opportunities during the next American tour? When will that be, by the way?
R: It starts the middle or end of October, when we return from Europe. We get a few weeks off in between, which will be nice.
K: What’s new for you in the future outside the Ark 21 machine?
R: Well, my company doesn’t need me anymore! I talked to Ariellah from the road and she told me they (The Indigo) had 5 gigs in 8 days, so they’re working really hard on their own. They’ll be teaching me the choreographies when I get back!
K: That just means you’ve done a good job.
R: Yes, I guess so. Since they don’t need me! (Mock tears and sniffling.)
K: From Dondi’s diaries on the Superstars Web Site we read that your boyfriend, Keili, accompanied you for part of the tour. That must have made things easier. How did you meet?
R: He was a waiter in a restaurant in SoCal that I went to before we left on Lollapalooza. We just hit it off so well! He came on a couple dates for Lollapalooza, and out to the Superstars tour just to surprise me. At that time New Orleans and Mardi Gras was just two weeks away, so I talked him into staying with us for that. He worked in order to stay on the tour and made himself indispensable, so we kept him on. He started practicing drum with Issam (the drummer on the Bellydance Superstars tour) on the bus, and later in the tour he’d back him up in the shows.
K: It was great to see you both playing with Issam in the show I saw in San Francisco. Did you play with him the whole tour?
R: Yes, and on Lollapalooza. It was sad he didn’t have a back-up drummer for the drum solos as it helps when you have someone holding the beat. I told him I drummed a little and he asked me to sit with him. I got much better while working with him, as he’s amazing and very generous with his compliments. But working with someone like him has made both Keili and myself practice a lot more, so that in the fall we’ll both be even stronger musicians.
K: Many people look up to you, Rachel. I know they’d be interested to find out how you keep balance in your life. I don’t mean on tour necessarily, when things are off kilter, but in your normal everyday life. After all, you’re a dancer and yogini who smokes cigarettes and drinks some wine now and then and a vegan who eats fish and dairy on rare occasion. That’s kind of out of character for what people think of for those professions and lifestyle choices.
R: Actually, it’s been my experience that more yoga teachers smoke than you can even imagine!
(Roars of laughter from all present!) I hate to tell you this, but we’ve talked about it and this one Ashtanga Yoga teacher told me, “When I go into the liquor store, I feel so naughty I have to cover my face!”
Julie, laughing: I’m so disillusioned!
R: Not all of them are like that, of course. For me, I feel like I have not committed to the path of health like I’d like to. But one thing Keili has really helped me with is not judging myself as harshly. I used to be, “Well, I’m on The Path or I’m not.” Then I’d be hard on myself if I thought I wasn’t. He was raised in the circus and says, “Are you kidding? Circus people work harder than anyone you’ve ever seen and they’re completely debaucherous.” You don’t have to choose and be either good or bad all the time. You can be both. It doesn’t mean you’re then a fake doing yoga. If I’m doing yoga, I’m doing yoga. I’m committed to the practice. It doesn’t mean that when I’m debaucherous I’m canceling out all the good I’ve done. Since we’re talking about balance, accepting the fact that I love to party - gee, that sounds really stupid -
K: No, I think there’s a lot of us with you on that...
R: - I love going out drinking beers, hanging out, getting loud and raucous, listening to music ’til all hours of the morning smoking cigarettes. And I love getting up at six a.m. and having a quiet cup of tea, doing my yoga practice, cooking some organic food and staying home. Over time I’ve learned that I can do these things simultaneously and one doesn’t mean I have to forget the other. I can do both, I can eat well, get enough sleep, practice when I can and take care of myself and yet I have this habit that I’d eventually like to let go of. After all, I am not a supporter of smoking or think that it’s a good idea. I tried to quit on January 1, 2004 but couldn’t yet. So I plan to quit, but until I do, I don’t want to add fuel to the fire by condemning myself for it.
K: I think those insights regarding balance can apply to other aspects of our lives as well.
R: I remember a quote but can’t remember which Swami said it: “It’s not what you’re eating, but what’s eating you that matters.”
K: Thank you for those words of wisdom! (More chuckles and giggling fill the tape.)
Rachel will be one of 23 instructors teaching 28 subjects at Tribal Fest 5, May 12, 13, 14 and 15, 2005. Rachel will be one of the teachers teaching two different classes this year. When I asked her to make sure she wouldn’t be on tour during The Fest, she said, “No! They know Tribal Fest is my most important event and so they’re even putting it on the Bellydance Superstars calendar!” Wow! As producer, that makes me happy, too!
She will also be my first guest teacher in Maui, Hawaii, for my new annual Tribal Intensives I will hold there. This new happening will feature myself and a guest teacher in four-or-five-day American Tribal Style (ATS) and Tribal Fusion “total immersion” events. Watch my site for details, as I relocate to Maui in September 2004 - in fact I’ll be there when you read this. I will start finding the right place to hold the event as soon as I can.
To learn about Tribal Fest, Maui Tribal Intensives, The Tribal Bible, Kajira Djoumahna and BlackSheep BellyDance, visit: www.blacksheepbellydance.com
Добавлено: Пт Сен 07, 2012 2:15 pm Заголовок сообщения:
Рейчел Брайс у себя в фейсбуке написала:
"Будьте открытыми! В некоторых частях света зависть и соревновательность по-прежнему являются частью культуры беллиданса. Вне зависимости от того, учитель вы или ученик, как можно больше посещайте занятия и мероприятия друг у друга, поддерживайте сообщество. Оставайтесь учеником, смотрите, чему можете научиться, ведь всегда можно почерпнуть что-то новое. Умение поддержать других и скромность порождают сильных танцоров, зависть разрушает создаваемые беллиданс-сообщества. В мире, где женщин учат соревноваться друг с другом, делайте все возможное для создания открытости и поддержки танцоров в своем окружении, в своем танцзале. Это полезно для сердца!" _________________ Azalais в Минске и Витебске.
Трайбл-студия Lilas, Meerkats
рук. шоу-проекта "Малибу"
Белорусский АТС-коллектив "Вiра".
Записи в группы, а также по вопросам организации мероприятий, чемпионата по трайбл +375 (29) 513-92-96