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Belly Dance Behind the Scenes: Choreography


Sometimes a choreography is just a choreography--sometimes it's a creation inspired by something beyond the music and the dance.


This weekend, eleven of us are dancing in a memorial art show for a friend who died from cancer in 2020.


Allison was the first woman I taught when I moved to SC to escape an abusive marriage and felt lost and terrified with a new baby and a lot of hurt.


Her consistent kindness encouraged me to continue teaching through the divorce, job loss, and financial uncertainty.


Eventually I moved again and she danced at another studio, but we kept in touch. She also taught middle school, did hula hoop, created beautiful art, and touched everyone with her kindness.


Allison's dance instructor in 2020 organized this memorial event, and I planned a simple choreography for our group to dance.


Then, one of my dancers who is also a close friend of Allison's asked to create a choreography in memory of Allison. This dancer is also a cancer survivor, and wanted to do a dance to "Fight Song." This is how we collaborated:


1. Decided on the style

"Fight Song" isn't a belly dance song which is fine, but the rhythm doesn't necessarily lend itself to belly dance moves. We decided on lyrical as the main genre with belly dance nods.


2. Decided on the look

To celebrate Allison's life of color and joy, we chose to use 25 yard skirts with lots of color and movement and expression.


3. Decided on the moves

Because lyrical has a focus on the lyrics and because "Fight Song" is so popular, we worked on what Nancy was visualizing in her mind and put certain moves in that are her favorite. We did this through a series of private lessons, and then I worked on putting the whole choreo together.


When we presented the idea to the dance group, everyone wanted to learn the "Fight Song" choreo and perform it!


The emotional intention is to express power, determination, and fierce joy. This process has helped make sure all three are fully present in the dance.

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8 Comments


As a survivor of an almost 20-year journey to leave my abusive marriage, I understand the grace, grit, and perseverance of your friend. What a beautiful soul and gift she gave to others. 💝

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Amy Bright
Amy Bright
Jan 07, 2022
Replying to

Kindness is so important when we're in a vulnerable position!

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Guest
Jan 05, 2022

Just beautiful! I'm sure Allison was watching form above and loving it! Tamara https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2022/01/20-days-of-chill-ultimate-blog_01678511226.html

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Amy Bright
Amy Bright
Jan 07, 2022
Replying to

Absolutely

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Guest
Jan 05, 2022

What a beautiful heartfelt tribute, Amy. I found it especially poignant how you welcomed collaboration and helped your friends express their love. Thank you for a touching post.

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Amy Bright
Amy Bright
Jan 05, 2022
Replying to

Thank you for the encouragement. This has been one of the most meaningful dance experiences I've had.

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What a lovely tribute to your friend! I am sure it was cathartic for the dancers!

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Amy Bright
Amy Bright
Jan 05, 2022
Replying to

I believe so too.

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