Friday, December 18, 2009

Sacred Circles Producers and dancers!

Ayse Cerami
Elizabeth Mahina
Khani Zulu

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pictures of some of our cast!!

TabuLuminaPolitti Ashcraft


Around the World in 80 days!

We are preparing our second Sacred Circles' Production show, it's going to be Around the World in 80 days! Mythical Creatures was such a great fun and learning experience that hopefully will make the next show even better!

This time around we are doing the show as a fundraiser for Midnight Mission-family housing unit. It's another awesome charity that primarily helps women and children in need of a home-without proselytizing.

Our story line is already written, obviously, but we hope to include some new and exciting twists and surprises. AND there will be lots of beautiful dancers of course!

Lee Ali
Politti Ashcraft
Mandala Tribal
Wild Routes
and Jeremy Hahn

After the holidays Paul of Tribal Bazaar our vending coordinator will be contacting our vendors and setting all that up. Michaella will be redesigning our website and we'll keep updating here and on Tribe, Facebook, and Twitter!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Looking Back

I want to thank everyone for their hard work.  I know I thank God for all of your amazing improvisational ability (especially that of Zulu, Ayse, Erika, Sooz, Marjhani, Sherri, Heather and all those who "fought" *soloed* in the Faerie War).  

Because of the talent of the volunteers back stage and the dancers onstage, we pulled off something close to a miracle.

I think we all owe Elizabeth, Ayse & Khani an enormous debt of gratitude for giving us all the opportunity to shine.  

It was a pleasure dusting off my director's cap.  I figure, since I'm still paying off the student loans, I may as well use the talent I received from all those years of study (at least from time to time).  Though, I have to admit, I was dreading the tech. rehearsal (I had no idea how we were going to pull it off), in the end I had a lot of fun!

Until next time,

Monday, March 30, 2009

And now for the ridiculously exuberant after-the-show post!!!

Why? Because it was just that kind of show!!! And because I'm a tiny, bouncy, little faerie! :D

So, this is what I posted on my facebook the day after the show:

I can talk about it now, yes?


It was so much more than just a showcase of great dancers. It was a full on stage-show production with a story (about being transported to the faerie realm by the powers of absinthe and our Green Fairy, Ayse). It was a chance to see phenomenal dancers and talent explore whole new characters.

Where else could you get the amazing Sooz going from psychotic to sad with a little opera and a lot of creepy? Or Steven Eggers being a regal centaur? Sherri Wheatley freezing the entire ensemble to stone? Or her fighting Heather Shoopman, our unicorn and savior? No where else!

Oh yeah, and that being turned to stone/saved by bit? Lots of "acting" there. :) I love that the faeries "had" to cluster around the front of the stage to gaze adoringly at the unicorn and then follow her off-stage. It meant I had the best seat in the house to watch Heather dance!!

I had unbelievable amounts of fun in the show!! It was a lot of work but it looked SO AMAZING!!! I can't wait until I can see the whole thing! Elizabeth, Ayse, Khani, and Nisan did such a great job with the show!! And the dancers were so fabulous! It was really such an honor to be in the show!! I was watching Sooz, Marjhani, Karma, and Elizabeth and just thinking "HOLY CRAP!!! I PERFORMED with them [at Gothla]. How did I get that lucky?!?!"

The performances were great, too! I had a LOT of fun in my faerie numbers and really enjoyed connecting up on stage during the mermaid piece!! I had some issues in the first show and just getting to make eye contact with Michaella across the stage totally re-centered me to finish out the piece. It's such a different experience dancing on a true stage with stage lighting, I'm so glad I could make eye contact with my troupe members during our numbers (and curtsy for our regal and majestic Faerie Queen!!!).

And then we had our after-party. There was SO MUCH chaos going on with that and everyone was so wonderfully patient and flexible, which I appreciated so much. We had amazing dancers (I don't think I'm the only one who would be happy watching Olu dance for HOURS her crazy shimmy-layering that went on for, like, three minutes was phenomenal technically and then to throw her amazing stage presence into her whole piece... she's just gorgeous and amazing and I cannot gush enough!!!). I loved having ourselves some FCBD ATS courtesy of Sooz and Soy and some modern dance fusion from the Nautch Project!!! Amazing show and I got to be in that, too!!!

That performance was SO MUCH FUN for me! I didn't have time/place to costume change, so I was still a faerie and just had Amar spinning up whatever he felt like. Having that many friends all around me was so great! I found as many people as I could to connect with, it was such a perfect way for me to end the day. :)

And not to worry, anyone who was worried about me blowing my back out with the whatever-the-hell craziness the music drove me to do! Not even a twinge today. :)

Doesn't mean I don't have a full docket of knitting on the futon while catching up on Lost and Netflix. :)

HUGE THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!! to the people who came out to watch, photograph, share the moment, etc. It was awesome meeting Perri for the first time off Facebook (and introducing Steven to some more huge fans of his - and he remembered me "fangirling" him in the parking lot at TCLA - hee! He's just that kind of dancer). I had my Uncle Craig and his family come out, which was great! I love having family come out. :) I even had a friend from work come watch the show! Hopefully, everyone really enjoyed it. It was just TOO MUCH FUN!!!

YAY!!!! Happy faerie dance now! :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's tomorrow!!!

We've all been working so hard these past months that I can hardly believe the show is tomorrow!  I'm really excited though.  I've gotten to see bits and pieces of what's coming together at a couple rehearsals this past week and it's going to be AWESOME.  I feel so lucky to be a part of this great event!

So, there's the day and night show and then an after-party with the wonderful DJ Amar from San Francisco!  So, please come out and join us to smoke some hookah and watch some awesome bellydancers at the after-party as well!

Hope to see a lot of people there!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This is the REAL t-shirt art

ok well I must say living in a family of artists can be exciting at realize Dad is an animator and his art style is very Disney-esq daughter Jilly just completed her BFA in illustration, is trying to get into comics and has different aesthetic naturally! So when he prepared her art for the t-shirt, which was really cool too, it just didn't fly! And all is here is the REAL t shirt art front & back, done by Jillian Souza.
They will be beater t-shirts because there is more size variety you can pre-order S M L XL XXL for $15 off of the website.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Website is up!

Michaella did an absolutely gorgeous job on the Mythical Creatures website!  Go check it out.  :)

I'm really looking forward to the event.  Nataraja's starting to get everything together and polish everything up.  We are now missing Gigi, who is on a trip to Australia with her husband (I am SO jealous).  Before he left, Lee finished putting details on some photos of me.  Is it horribly vain if I post a little picture?  He did such an amazing job!  He's going to be doing vending at the event, so go check him out, or really, just contact him on his website to schedule a shoot!

I've also been working on planning out the after-party.  Looks like I'll be making some location scouting visits on Tuesday.  I'm meeting up with Heather Shoopman to do a little dance, so I'll be in the area already (well, kind of.  I'm in Palmdale, so "in the area" has a different meaning for me).

But yes, go check out the webpage, buy tickets and workshops (hey,  I should do that!) and stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Lee Corkett owner of Weathervane Images made us these promotional materials!

The first is a poster we will be selling some high quality prints of these at the event...

The second pictures are the front and back of our postcard! Let me know if you want some to spread all over the place! The more people who know about the show the more money we can collect for BTTF!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

So the website is active though still being built. All the performer's bios & pictures need to be posted etc. And Michaella is working hard getting that done for us. She has taken Jilly's illustration and added some of her own design work. Isn't it beautiful?

So for now you can actually go to the site and see something and go to the store from the site to order tickets, workshops & t-shirts.

We went ahead and added a workshop w/ Tabu since I thought it would be a good thing for the local dance community. They live all the way in Vegas and it's a rare opportunity. So that is on the website too!

I'm looking for some good magical vendors for everyone's shopping pleasure. Anyone interested please contact me! : )

here are the links for now...
shopping cart w/ information

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Here is the t-shirt art

I love it! What do you think? I think we should have some camisoles in olive green and some in black...or just black or just green...
it is a faerie after all...
Well...everything is going slowly...
I have not finished writing the website content, the dinners appear to be an issue, I have to finish writing something for the poster...
I have to get Ayse's list of volunteer positions...I have to BEG people to volunteer, I have to BEG for money from possible sponsors! We've had to replace a few performers which turned out fine I believe. We'll have Sherri Wheatly instead of Sayaadina, and Heather Shoopman instead of Sabrina, all ladies are lovely dancers so it's good. I'm a bit overloaded, but damn it! I know it will all work out in the end, it always does!
: ) E

Friday, January 30, 2009

outta town but still thinkin' about MC-LA

I am in Washington, taking a bit of a break from home things...but I happen to also be with my daughter Jillian and she has made us the most lovely Muchaesque (I made that word up), logo for our t-shirts etc!
I can't wait to wear it! hmmm what color would people like? And really tribal girls do you want another black tank top? What about green this time???

Preview at Gothla!

Mythical Creatures is going to be teased at Gothla in a little over a month.  Go out to Cal Poly Pomona on March 7th and see a little preview of the show at 11:28 (I'm also performing solo right after, so it's a perfect time for a bathroom/snack break!).  Info over at the Gothla website.

I'm really excited about the show.  There's a whole lot of creativity and new ideas flowing about.  I'm so glad I get to be a part of it all!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Self-introduction, the Script & Moving Forward

My name is Nisan.  Yes, it's pronounced like the car.  No, I wasn't conceived in the back of a Datsun (at least I don't think so).  Nisan means April in Turkish.  

For those of you who don't know, I'm Ayse's sister.  I sometimes dance in her student troupe.  My own background is in theatre.

Ayse and Elizabeth asked me to come aboard and help with the script as well as take up the role of director... though for this show, creatively, its a collaborative process.

The thing about every production I've ever directed is this: it's a journey.  I often sit down at the very beginning and worry that no ideas will come.... that this time, this one time, none of that accidental magic will happen, but inevitably I (or someone near me) manage to spark one idea which leads to another and another...

When I signed on board, Elizabeth and Ayse had a vague story-line based on a poem they liked.  They had a list of characters, some varying ideas, and that was all.  The challenge for Ayse and I was how to keep a cohesive story moving whilst keeping as much of the original character list (and the few stipulations that went with it) as we could.  (We knew people were already working on their pieces.)

Some people love the story.  Some people haven't commented on it.  Some seem less than pleased.  I suppose that's to be expected, but everyone should remember that this is a process.  From here, we need to work together so that the entire production only gets better.

A couple people have commented, for instance, on the role of the dark characters.  I never imagined them as beastly or ugly or anything undesirable.  I mean, this is a bellydance show after all.  We don't want hags!  We want powerful vibrant necessary women who are dangerous to our Dreamer as much in their allure as in their "darkness" (whatever that might be).  These characters must be captivating.

Originally, we didn't want to script to be too wordy.  We wanted to use the narrator to set mood--not to explain every scene.  In doing this, however, we seem to have written only a very basic conflict between light and dark.  The assumption being that the complexity would be brought in by the various performers.  Frankly, we didn't know how much direction we should give people on their pieces.

Then again, perhaps we should address this assumption that comes up time again that witches and harpies... and Medusa herself... must constitute something grotesque and haggish.  I created my online persona years ago as the Untamed Shrew.  Shrewish is hardly a flattering term for a woman, but it seems to me that any woman of interest or appeal usually winds up with some horrid title or another.  Here's our chance to take these characters back and redefine them!!! 

Now that I've spoken with a few of you, I have a better sense of play and especially of the role of the dark characters.  I'll look at the script again to see what I might do to highlight these performances with the actions of the Dreamer and the voice of the narrator.

Like I said, every production is a process.  I look forward to more processing... so please keep writing me your opinions!!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

pushing our creative limits

Over the last few days I have been asked by several performers what my vision was for their part. And really I didn't write the actual script... Nisan and Ayse did.

I created the show concept.

I made a list of characters w/ Ayse, going through many of my myth, folklore & faerie books.

I wanted something that would explore some of my thoughts and feelings about the sacred feminine. About going into the darkness, the cave, confronting our dark sides, asking the question why is it dark and is the dark really bad or is it just misunderstood?

For some of our lovely dancers being a character that they perceive as unflattering through our societies' patriarchal view point is the first place to go...but I'm asking them to go beyond the place where there character may have been revered.

here are some edited communications I've had with people...

"We are practitioners of the art of belly dance, an ancient feminine art form right? So whether we realize it or not this is already challenging conventional thinking and modern ideology. I wish all of these women were required to read the Red Tent before dancing in the show!!! OR maybe that will be our next production...
There is so much of interest here, Persephone, Alice, Zulu all going into the dark places, exploring what our dark sides are, the feminine side, how they have been demonized, how shine a light onto our being and look at those places inside of us to come back stronger.
Do I make too much of it? That was my vision of the project, even though I keep it personal.."

"BUT I ask you to think outside the box...
There was a time when the world was more balanced, female beings were more revered. Then midwives and healers came to be thought of as witches and symbols of feminine power became misunderstood and purposely demonized to promote a new ideology. Maybe that is where you need to take this character...back before the patriarchal perceptions and use it as an opportunity to explore your divine creative feminine power...

This is the fun part! Trying to take a character and make it real right? This is the creative work! I'm not exactly the character I intended to be and I find it challenging and fun to try and be someone who is so small she can only have one feeling at a time!
Talking this through is part of the process!"

Friday, January 23, 2009

Breast Treatment Task Force

So with all the hullabaloo, I can't believe I forgot to say the most important thing about the Mythical Creatures-LA show! It is a fundraiser!!!!

For The Breast Treatment Task Force...
I was so thrilled by the response from most of the performers, it really adds dimension to what we are all doing. It's not just about us wanting to be in a show and having cool lights and people watch us.

This organization actually helps individual women who are unable to pay for their medical treatments, including in many cases transportation, living expenses. It is a way for us to help an actual individual who wouldn't have care if it weren't for what we are doing. It feels more personal to me because of this and I'm really thrilled that my friend Khani Jo suggested it.

Here is the website for more information...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Joining the troupe

I figured I'd take Elizabeth up on her invitation and make a post on my experiences with Mythical Creatures.  I'd heard about the events ages ago, when it was first being teased.  The more I've learned, the more excited I've been.  It's really going to be a fantastic event and I'm happy to be a part of it.

MC has also taken on an extra element for me though.  I joined Nataraja at the end of last year.  I've performed with them and will do so between now and the end of March but Mythical Creatures is really the event that's bringing me in to the troupe.  It's been really great working with Elizabeth, Michaella, Khani, Gigi, and Nancy on music, costuming, combos, choreography and everything else.  I've been so welcomed by the troupe and that's really meant a lot to me.

I'm really excited about what we're putting together for the show, too!  It's going to be a pretty awesome collaboration.  I'm very proud of my troupe and am so lucky to dance with them.  And I can't wait to see what everyone else is working on!  There are so many fantastic dancers in this show and a whole lot of creativity going into it.  It's going to be an amazing show of mythical proportions.  :D

I realized I could add another Nataraja (mostly) picture (hee!).  It's from my first performance with Nataraja at Donavon's studio.

proof of faeries

This is an email I got from a friend and dance student Jeniffer about a book she read called,
"The Rough Guide to Unexplained Phenomena" written by John F. Michell

Hey Elizabeth!

I finally got that book from the library. According to the book, the fairy shoe was found in south-west Ireland in 1835.
"It is black, worn at the heel and styled like the shoe of an eighteenth-century gentleman. But it is only two and seven-eighths inches long, and seven eighths of an inch at its widest -- too long and narrow even for a doll's shoe. If it were an apprentice-piece, say, how did it come to be found on a remote sheep track? Why is it such an odd shape? How did it come to be worn? Who would possess tools fine enough to make such a curiosity?
"The man who found the shoe assumed it belonged to the 'little people' and gave it to the local doctor, from whom it passed to the Somerville family of Castletownshend, Co Cork. On a lecture tour of America, the author Dr Edith Somerville gave the shoe to Harvard University scientists, who examined it minutely. The shoe had tiny hand-stitches and well-crafted eyelets (but no laces), and was thought to be of mouse skin.
"Other shoes, equally odd, have been found in Ireland, not to mention other items of clothing, such as the coat found in a fairy ring by John Abraham Ffolliott in 1868. It was only six-and-a-half inches long and one and a three quarter inches across the shoulder. Fully lined and with cloth-covered buttons, its high, velvet-trimmed collar was greased and shiny from, presumably, long wear, while other parts were frayed and '...the pockets holed and scorched as if from a tiny pipe.'
"The reference above to an 'apprentice-piece' brings in the conventional explanation for all such items: that they were made by craft apprentices to demonstrate their skill and to serve as easily carried trade samples. This, of course, does not account for the fairy shoe and coat being so well used, as if they had been discarded by wearers no more than a foot or so tall."

The book also cites another book, from which this information is all supposedly taken.
Daimonic Reality (1994) by Patrick Harpur

There is a photo of the shoe next to a thimble, but not the coat. They also shoe a few other "fairy" items, none of which are as interesting.

our blog!

The purpose of this blog is to document the daily preparations of our upcoming show....

To begin I will explain...

My friend, Ayse and I have been talking for years and years about how we wanted to do a big stage show...AND I'm impatient... or maybe NOT because after about 5 years of talk I decided it was time to do something.

Every year at one of the places I teach dance, the Agoura Hills Calabasas Community Center (known from now on as the AHCCC) puts on a St.Patrick's Day show. I always try to bring my friends and students to perform at the show and last year, I asked my dance troupe She'enedra to perform in the show dressed as faeries (ha! I feel like this story may require footnotes and an MLA format!). We had done a piece back in 2005 where we were dressed as Faeries (yes it was my idea) and we passed out chocolates to the audience at the Blood Moon Regale After Party produced by Unmata in Sacramento. Loving any excuse to wear my ears I wanted to reuse the choreo & costume and yes St. Patrick's day was the perfect excuse for this. So there we were ALL dressed up! AND our good friend Richard Lowe Jr (who loves to photograph belly dancers) was there too, so we went out to Malibu Creek State park and did this photo shoot.
After having the pictures I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to do a stage show where we could dress up as faeries. I made a postcard that I circulated at Tribal Caravan and other events with a target date of January 2009.
At first I thought it would just be a recital for my students and Ayse's with some starring guest quickly became a much more elaborate endeavor.

We now have an amazing list of acts signed up to perform in the show! here it is...try not to faint or is amazing:
Steven Eggers
Heather Shoopman
Ayse Cerami
Elizabeth Mahina (that's me)
Desert Lotus Tribal
Wild Roots
and Zulu (of Zulu Tattoo)

I'm going to invite our participants to blog their adventures and feelings here...if they can do it without revealing the special secrets of the show...
I will make them spit & pinkie swear!