In the Garden of Allah
At each class we will work on various performance exercises to stretch the artists creative muscles. During this session each dancer will pick an aroma or a taste as her muse. She will investigate it’s properties; scent, healing use, history, symbolism, color and texture. . . She will pick music, dance design, figure out costuming, and perhaps props that will be used to compliment in a dance inspired by it. This is a performance of her making, but it is worked on in class under the guidance of Delilah and the constructive feedback from other class members. Each dancer is then invited to perform it in our annual "In the Garden of Allah"
Review and thoughts from Dahlia April 2009
I wandered up the sidewalk into a warm embrace and greetings with friends and then into an even warmer atmosphere where the stage was set. I sat cozy on the floor pillows amongst students and strangers, awaiting the commencement.
Delilah gave one of the most thoughtful yet casual introductions I've ever seen her deliver. The room filled with joy and anticipation as she explained the process through which the students came to create and share this production, which, truly was The Kitchen of Allah's Mom!
The beautiful narrator, dressed in spring green and white toga, spoke with grace and strength; orating each performer's taste of the night.
The congregation delighted in the history, lore and flavors of champagne, almond, ginger, burbon, backlava, spicy cashew, caramel, anise chocolate, tequila, rose/pistachio and more, including a delicious coffee break and after dinner mint dance.
I was sporadically and unexpectedly brought to tears from the first performance to the last. I felt silly, having to choke back emotion while watching these ladies - some of whom I know a little, some a little more - step beyond their comfort zones and express a side of themselves that I had never witnessed. Or perhaps, they created the new persona in the process of self-discovery. I ought to come to expect such dedication from these women at VDP nowadays, rather than be struck so deeply!
Delilah delivered a performance unlike anything I had ever seen her or anyone do before. I was fascinated by her ability to maintain a chocolate obsession for over 7 minutes. And I even felt something deeper... like again, I was seeing something secret, private... someone deep and dark who's only "let out" on special occasions. ;) I felt honored to be present for such a performance. And I only hesitated for a moment before asking her if she would PLEASE do the same piece for the UNMATA fUsiUN UNfUrNo showcase this summer (July 25th). ;)
Although I was exhausted when I arrived (having partied waaayyyy too long the night before and then doing the Shimmython all day), at the end I felt satisfied, refreshed and inspired by these wonderful women who created this event. It reminded me of why I love Visionary Dance Productions Studio: We are visionaries. We do want we do because it feels good - all the way down to our pinky toes! And that feeling spreads like wildfire to whoever is present.
It is truly a joy and an honor to witness the courage instilled in these women, not just by Delilah, but by themselves. They capture it, cultivate it and share it.
Next time you have an opportunity to check out a recital at VDP, it comes highly recommended by me (and NOT just cuz I work there!)!!!
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