What happens when you collate belly dancing and theatre together? You get Safar-e-Raqs, a dance theatre production that charts the evolution of belly dance. The team is all set to debut for the very first time in Alliance Francaise on January 21. This show is one of a kind as it showcases the brief history of the dance form in a play claims to the first one its kind in Bengaluru.
Debapriya Das, the producer of the show, also leads the Bangalore- based performance house Nrityakosh. She has been working on this act for many months now and originally started this as a part of her research on the Dance History in context to Belly dancing. She feels that many people might not be aware of how the word ‘Belly Dance’ even came about in the world and the fact that the dance form is perceived in a wrong way.
“The idea behind the show is based on historical timelines and certain notions and incidences that influenced the dance and how it came about. The actors in the show will be talking about the journey and the history whilst the performers will be enacting it at the back. I really hope that through this we are able to change people’s perception of belly dance.”
Aswati Anand, who is a belly dancer and also who wrote the scripts for this show gives us the deets on how they got started with the show, “I knew early August that Debapriya wanted to do a historical production, Safar-e-Raqs. She wanted me to do the script — and as it was a history that needs to be translated into a simple, flowing conversation between two friends, I had to research a lot. I read Orientalism, Before There were belly dancers and essays on political cultural development of belly dance in the Middle East and America. Debapriya gave me a concept note on what should be the main idea of each scene. And I worked with that.”
Nivetha Shree, a business analyst who will be performing a tribal fusion and uses a sword as a prop in her piece. She has been practicing for this act for about three months now and performing tribal fusion dance for almost five years now. She says, “I will be playing three very important characters in the history — Badawiyya, Rachel Brice and Jill Parker who are icons in the Tribal Style belly dance. One of the most challenging parts of putting this piece together would be performing with swords, as this will be my first time. It is overwhelming and scary but I’m ready for the challenge!”...