October 18, 2010 § 1 Comment
I did my very first completely improvised veil solo the other day. I performed it at a diversity convention for realtors. It was in a large conference room with tables set up with food and goods from various cultures, free henna hand painting, and diverse door prizes that were donated from shops around town.
A few of us dancers were going to perform. We were doing American Tribal Style, a couple drum solos, a sword piece and a skirt dance. My troupe director asked if I wanted to do a solo, and I said sure! I looked at the set list and thought a veil dance would round out the lineup nicely.
I have had some veil experience. I have performed veil a few times with a choreographed group of dancers. I have taken multiple veil workshops and classes and I have played around with veils a bit. This was my first time performing a veil solo. More importantly, it was my first time performing an improvised veil solo to live music. I watched some youtube videos the night before to get some ideas and get a refresher on veil options. I didn’t know what song I would be dancing to until I showed up to the run-through, so I couldn’t do a lot of practicing.
I knew I wanted to dance with the veil wrapped around the arms some to add variety and keep the veil out of the way for part of the dance. I decided to start the dance that way so I wouldn’t forget to do it. I also planned to use the veil from the end for some long veil work. But that was as much planning as I did. I danced through the song once during our run-through. Before I started, my troupe director said, “you don’t have to do all classic veil.” I said, “I don’t know what I’ll do, I have no idea what my veil style is.”
I think the piece turned out well. I love the song the musician played on the accordion, Imate Li Vino. The version he played is slow, pretty and expressive. It’s one of my favorites, even though I’ve only heard it a few times before, but that really helped. I was “in the zone.”
My entrance felt a little rough. I wasn’t flowing with the music yet, but after the first half a minute or so, I was only really aware of the veil and the music. Total flow. Especially after I completely unraveled the veil and went into full veil work. I twirled and spun and tossed and moved the veil with the rises and falls in the melody. I was just feeling the music and danced until I felt done. I’m not sure what all I did, I just danced.
After, I asked my fellow dancers how long I had danced for and they said about 3 minutes which is, in my opinion, a perfect length for a solo. I was lucky that the song is very cyclical so the musician could add however many verses I needed him to. I entered after the song started and left before it finished. I had pictured myself as a figment of the imagination, as if the musician dreamed me. An apparition. A consequence of the melody.