Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Life since the PhD

So I'm settling in to a new routine during my first month after the submission of the PhD dissertation. So much has been happening! 

Firstly, a huge congratulations to wonderful friend Iana Komarnytska for winning the Star Bellydancer Canada soloist award. Knowing Iana for over a year now, I know that she is wonderfully versatile and an extremely dedicated dancer, and truly deserving. I was not personally able to attend this competition, which was held at Toronto's Mod Club, but from what I gather from the beautiful photographs of the whole event, I find that all the performances that evening were wonderful, and I'm proud and honoured to share such a wonderful dancing space in this city with so many talented and passionate artists.

It has been a generally busy time for me, and a time full of transitions, both exciting and filled with anxiety about what the future holds. In general, I've been engaged in a housing search, for a new apartment, since I'll be moving out of the York campus soon. I have also been pursuing a Dance Education Internship at George Brown College Dance Department/Ballet Jörgen, while continuing my usual work as a dance teacher, soloist and performer with a few different troupes. 

March will be a busy month for dancing and dance-related activities! Here's what I have going on in March:

March 1: Dance Film workshop with Alan Kaeja: Amber from Ekakshara Dance Creations and I are taking this workshop together. This is probably the first time in the last few years that I've actually been free on the date of the workshop, and look forward to this one! I find Dance Film/Dance on Camera an exciting medium which combines both of my interests.

March 9: Performance with Dilan Dance Company: One of the exciting new dance languages that I've been introduced to since the PhD has been Turkish and Kurdish traditional dances, and choreographies by Fethi Karakecili. I had first met Fethi on the first day of attending York for the Master's degree in the Dance Department. Since then, we've remained good friends, classmates, and now also creative collaborators. I'm honoured to be part of his company and learn these beautiful and rich dance traditions from him. I had first danced as part of Dilan Dance Company in October 2011, at the world premiere of Kurdish epic love story "Mem u Zin." The performance was staged at Toronto's Isabel Bader Theatre. I had returned to Toronto from a summer of being away from the city and one day got a phone call from Fethi asking if I could join the performance. Ofcourse I said yes! It was an enriching experience, and I was deeply honoured to be part of this historic and memorable event. Joe Fiorito from the Toronto Star wrote about this performance and its significance in his article:

In May 2014, Dilan Dance Company returns to Toronto's Isabel Bader Theatre with another large-cast production titled "Dance of Colours." It has been great fun to work with the company again, and to work with the fabulous and fun set of dancers in the production. Through the work with Dilan and Fethi, I also learned a very fun and festive Turkish dance from the Silifke region in which the dancers play wooden spoons as they dance. The summer workshops I had with Chelydra in Newport News in Zilling have come in handy here! I had first seen Fethi perform this dance at the York Dance Department's grad showcase in 2007, and at a performance in February, I joined him in a duet performance of this dance. It has been truly enjoyable to work with him and his dancers. On March 9, we perform again at an event, as an ensemble. 

March 16: This is the second workshop that the Ekakshara dancers and I are taking together in March- and greatly looking forward to it! We're taking it at Bellyup Studios in Oakville, and this will be my first time visiting this wonderful studio which I have heard wonderful things about. Needless to say, we're excited!

March 18: Guest Lecture in Music Department's world music class. Last year, I had done one of these in the world music traditions class. I lectured on the traditions of classical Indian Odissi dance, and on the traditions of the gotipua and mahari and the sabdaswarapata traditions which inform modern day Odissi dance and its aesthetics. In addition, I also spoke a little about Khalbeliya dance performed by the women of the khalbeliya tribe in Rajasthan in western India. Finally, I speak about Bollywood and its history of dance involvement, and the influences of world dance and music traditions today on the music/dance in Bollywood cinema. I am doing this lecture again on this date.

March 29: The girls at Ekakshara and I are performing together at another private event.

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