Inez Ponce de Leon - Artist, Writer, Scholar, Educator

Inez's Diary: Bellyfest 2013, T -12 Days: Improv Nightmares

I don't know if you can relate to this, but have you ever had so many ideas popping up all at the same time - and were so overwhelmed that you couldn't even bring yourself to organize them? Or, have you ever had so many ideas, that you felt you were running dry? It's one thing to have the fuel of ideas - it's another thing to be able to filter out which ones will work and which ones won't.

So yes, that's the problem right now. I wouldn't exactly call it a problem - I suppose it's something that happens every time I make a solo, and the situation gets worse when it's an improvisational solo and all the ideas are crowding, wanting to be the first out the door. I've been trained by the best, though - hello there, Wendi! - to get the ideas in line, shut them up, and calm myself down. I'm going through a normal phase of preparing for a performance. It's called "MAKE ME DANCE NOW I WANT TO DANCEY DANCE NOW!"

Hence, all the ideas; and hence, my brain running on empty.

But that's ok. Again, it's normal. I've been through the Improv Cycle before. List down all the ideas -> Try them out -> see what works -> see what doesn't -> go back to the list. The problem is, back then, I had whole afternoons to myself, where I could just lock myself up in my room, play music, and dance. These days, I have to check papers, teach classes, and give lectures. I can't exactly practice my moves in front of my students (I don't know if my belly dance babies will mind, but I think the comm majors will be horrified. Or will they?).

So this blog entry is all about getting the excess energy out. This blog entry is helping me calm down. This blog entry is helping me get rid of the adrenalin that is trying to take over, that is convincing me to throw all the moves I know into the improv. The best belly dancers use only 5 moves or fewer in one song: they modify the moves a little, add their own style, add some spark and pizzazz. But real improv is about performing, not exhibiting everything I know.

Yes, this blog entry is helping. I need to concentrate on the performance, not on the steps. I need to concentrate on the muscles, not the shapes. I need to concentrate on being a vessel of the music, not a combo-making machine. I need to really breathe, calm down, and listen to the song - and let it speak through my movements.

And I need to check around 60 papers starting this weekend. Oh. Crap.

It's just a few more days until the big day at the Irwin Theater! On September 7, Inez and Ateneo's newly-formed Illuminata will be performing at the 2013 Bellyfest, where they will share the stage with other local dancers AND internationally-renowned star Kami Liddle! Come join the fun and see what we've all been working on as dancers and artists! The afternoon will be filled with workshops, and the evening will feature a grand show, so BE THERE!