Seraka Dance Company is a professional performance troupe composed of belly dance artists from St. John’s Newfoundland. The group is known for combining their precise technical skill, creativity in movement, and beautiful costuming to create a unique and elegant experience of non-traditional belly dance.
Founded in 2010, the all-female company is inspired to learn dance movements from a variety of sources to create their own interpretation of belly dance which respects and takes inspiration from the past. Seraka blends western dance concepts with repertoire from Tribal Fusion, Eastern European, American Tribal Style, and the oriental classics. The result is a truly modern and engaging style of fusion and contemporary belly dance.
I don’t want to write about what the show is, but instead want to share some insight into how the show is developing. This show has been an absolute 180 from our usual productions in so many ways.
The first difference with AQUEOUS is that we’re incorporating an overarching thematic structure; one inspired by the ocean, waves, liquids, the ebb and flow of tides, and the marvellous mythology of sirens. We started brain storming the show with a concept, then we chose the music and merged the songs into one continuous soundscape which has a clear introduction, build, climax, and resolution. This has allowed us to breathe some continuity into the pieces to create a full-length work of art, instead of stringing pieces together and forcing them to fit, after-the-fact (which is a more common practise when designing our sets).
Secondly, we’ve taken a new approach to how we disperse choreography. We usually pick a song, then merge our ideas and hash things out in the studio together, creating the piece collectively, then dance the piece we’ve created. This process for AQUEOUS is different in that we are distributing the music selections among the 5 of us, each taking ownership of the generation of movement for that piece. For each piece, one of us is working as the choreographer, then as the director, melding our ideas onto the dancers for that piece. We are stepping back from the performance of it, allowing the piece to grow and adapt to the dancers, and enjoying our ideas unfold before us instead of on us. Some of the other pieces include a mixture of structured improvisation, and choreography developed in our usual way.
The third, and most fundamental difference is that we’re not alone. We’ve enlisted a cast comprised of ourselves as well as 11 belly dancers from the greater St. John’s area. As opposed to arranging a lineup of independent pieces from each group or dancer, we’ve merged all dancers into one group and have choreographed onto the group as a whole, to work together as one unit, to create a merged, collaborative work.
I sincerely hope that you are as please to see the work as we are to present it. We’re all hearts in, and hope it brings you on at least some of the journey it’s brought us on along the way.
Unfortunately, tonight’s classes will have to be cancelled, due to instructor illness. We will see you next week for the last class of the session!
Be well, dancers!
Vanessa, Karen & Susan are travelling to Toronto to be part of The Lavish Project 2016 – an artist in residency program directed by Audra Simmons & Heather Labonté of The Dark Side Studio. Working five 10-hour studio days with 12 dancers from across Canada to prepare and create pieces for “harmony/discord” on Sat Apr 2 at ROUND venue in Kensington Market.
Since we’re not in province, make sense that classes will be cancelled. The final classes for this session are: Mar 20, Apr 10, Apr 17 & Apr 24. See you at The Dance Centre!