Monday, August 18, 2008

Talk to me about your restaurant sets....

This summer, my intermediate students have been working on the elements of an American Cabaret show. We've gone over the basic parts - entrance, veil work, audience participation, prop and/or chiftetelli, drum solo, finale (of course while zilling all the while).

I know this is the old school AmCab way of doing things, but this is how I've always structured my sets, and I'm the first to admit that I'm an AmCab girl all the way (veil wrapping and all!). But what are the other ways to structure a set?

How do you do it? What style of bellydance do you do? Does your style affect your set structure? I know that the NYC scene is very AmCab with heavy turkish influence, and most of the sets I've seen follow my format, or they just do a bunch of pop songs to get the crowd up and dancing (no real "set"). But I'm curious to know what else is out there! Talk to me about your set, please!


Naima said...

We have a quarterly "Greek Night" held at a small pub & grill. I have been dancing at it for almost 4yrs now with another dancer (who has varied over the years). We do 2 short (15-20min) sets. The first set is usually a dinner crowd and the second set is usually a party crowd.
The tables are a REALLY tight squeeze so we end up dancing mainly on the dance floor. Many times there is standing room only and we dance in-the-round with people standing around the dance floor eye level with us.
We always start with the same opening song in which we come out and dance together (the attention getter). Then we alternate songs to give the other dancer a breather. I dance a solo, she dances a solo, I dance a tabla, she dances a tabla, etc. Then we have the DJ pick an exit song where we get everyone on the floor and have "a plant" pick up our tips. In the confusion, we sneak out leaving everyone else dancing.
Our audience is primarily Mid-West American, so a lot of times they just sit and watch, particularly during the early dinner crowd. Our music is primarily Greek but neither my current dance partner nor I are Greek. We dance to some of the Greek favorites over and over since it is hard for us to make sure we have appropriate music and not any political folk tunes. Sometimes we sneak in a good Oriental classic if it has a similar sound.
We've done a little of everything in these sets from veil, tray/fire, wine glasses, zills, to dancing only. We almost never do choreography considering there is constant movement and when people are standing in a complete circle around you, you change your orientation a lot to include everyone and not just dance with your back to them.
It is definitely a unique dance situation.

Nepenthe said...

I used to do AmCab style so I'm familiar with what your standard set is. Now I usually do an Egyptian entrance piece, then a baladi or a saidi piece, a drum solo, then pop or sha'abi. sometimes a taxim in there.