September 19, 2013
7 years of Shimmilicious moves
7 years of Exceptional teaching
7 years of Vivacious vibes
7 years of Effervescent energy
7 years of Nurturing love and light
Celebrating all this and more
What started out as a gentle passing by thought has now blossomed into a mesmerizing, dream-catching, soul-searching and all encompassing journey of 7 wondrous years!
On the 9th of June, 2013, we celebrated the 7th year milestone of sailing through this huge ocean of love and light, extended by each and every one of our students, business partners, family, friends and acquaintances. We accorded a warm welcome all our students old and new (and for the first time ever; dear members of family, friends and acquaintances) to come and celebrate with us this momentous occasion; as we took a trip down the memory lane, to glimpse back at the good times and also to look ahead and surge forward towards the years to come, as we live this dream together.
The most awaited day arrived with great surprises, bringing with it loads and plenty some of heavy downpour. On the day 9th of June, Mumbai received one of the heaviest rains of the season, disrupting the roadway and railway lines and bringing the fast paced city into a slow crawl.
But overcoming, many ups and downs because of the rains which included the end moment changing of Venue on account of the previously fixed Venue being flooded, the final venue for the Hafla was Lager bay, Bandra.
It is said that, sometimes, when you are not even looking for it or are expectant of the same, life comes in a full circle. 7 years ago, our Director had started the first branch of our Dance Company – Veve Dance, in the self same place with just 2 students. Now after 7 years, we were back from where our roots still stretched out strong, with a strong family of 2000 plus students.
Earlier what was called as Zenzi has now been transformed into Lagerbay. But for Veronica and all the old students who have had the wonderful opportunity to learn this beautiful dance form at Zenzi, it was like something the Universe conspired to bring about. It was one of the brightest points of the wet rainy evening.
To banish the rainy gloom and color the evening with the dazzling colors of the orient, a plethora of events had been arranged. Many belly dance games like the Slow Shimmy Sting, Arabic Whisper, Akhlakh Ghazal, Meena Bazaar etc. had been arranged for the students to participate in and win prizes.
For the first time ever, we had a Belly Mela launching ‘Veve Dance Fashion Line’ with loads of accessories, clothing and belts on display.
To make the event more interesting and to add layers to the evening, along with the performance by students, there was a showcase of performances of 7 different genres of Belly Dance by 7 different instructors of Veve Dance. The event was hosted by our beloved Director, the supremely talented Veronica Simas de Souza.
We kick started the event with the very first performance of the evening; a group performance by our Intermediate level students.
The girls performed a very graceful and elegant Classic Egyptian piece. The rhythm of the song was very crisp and purposeful one second but mischievously nebulous and fanciful the next. The girls matched the delightfully circuitous beats of the music with harmonized & lively steps, playful combinations and an individualized style. They executed each and every move with loads of attitude and charm.
They had an instant connection with the audience with their eloquent expressions demonstrating richness of natural emotions and care-free smiles. With their brilliant posture, innate poise, beautiful formations and a simple yet attractive choreography, they packed a huge punch.
Next in line was the first solo performance of the event. Our Instructor in training, Gayatri Nerurkar presented a Kathak – Belly fusion dance.
Just as the breeze that gently creates ripples on the surface of water, Gayatri’s performance was a rhythmic and graceful synthesis of Kathak abhinayas, arms and tatkaar with graceful classical egyptian belly dance moves. Her dance was a glimpse of ‘Ananda Tandava’ which is danced by Lord Shiva to express joy and happiness. It evoked the oneness of God and creation. The word Kathak has been derived from the word Katha which means a story. Gayatri skillfully fused the elements of Kathak and Belly dance to narrate to the audience the story of her deep devotion to Lord Shiva and her worship of him.
Towards the end of her performance, she took 16 devastatingly fabulous Chakkars/Spins completing two rounds across the room marking the beats of the music. Through her spins she was invoking all the elements of the nature and universe in her praise of the Lord. She ended her performance with a flourish assuming the pose of Natraja as an obeisance to Shiva's characteristics such as protection, upliftment, and liberation.
The next performance was by Instructor Aakriti Prasad. She presented a very graceful & delicate, Odissi – Tribal belly dance fusion performance. Fluidity being the core of her performance, one could see fluidity in her interpretation of the music and fusion of the arts and fluidity of her exuberant movements yet tranquil expressions. Through the pathway of her performance, she and her audience entered a deep entranced state where divine beauty and vibrant aliveness encapsulates the heart with warmth.
She amalgamated spectacularly the sensuous expressiveness, graceful agility and rhythmic footwork of Odissi with the fluid serpentine arms and undulating moves of the solemn and meditative tribal belly dance. The portrayal of the exquisite beauty of the sacred feminine through Odissi and the grace and power of the tribal belly dance had the audience asking for more.
In her performance, Aakriti not only managed to preserve the devotional roots and spiritual depth of the Odissi dance form but also managed to infuse it with the earthy grounded movements of tribal belly dance.
Layering intricate mudras with shimmies and dramatic expressions, she wove an intricate realm of deep emotion and divine inspiration to ignite the spirit of all present.
Descending upon the floor, wrapped in a black cloak was Instructor Megha. She presented a gothic belly dance piece. Fusing the liquid flow of belly dancing together with the sharp and jagged movements of contemporary dance, she conveyed the conflicting psychological states and deep despodential conflicts of her character.
Using her emotions and mood to dictate the steps of the performance, she narrated the story of a tortured spirit struck in an eternal dream of unrelenting and unmerciful gloom where the hysterical cries and moans of invisible daemons kept on resounding all around her. Thrust deep into the abysses, of the night she stood in grief, fearing and doubting her being. Using a variety of gestures from both belly dance and contemporary, she revealed her inner turmoil while exploring emotions of repression, denial, private longing, and frustration.
But there comes a point when one has to stand up and shake off the fear and try to put out the black fire that burns the heart and the soul. In the second half of her performance she stood looking the cold and malevolent daemons in their glittering eyes and fought with them to be liberated from the spell cast upon her soul.
Utilizing movements which were forceful and angular, Megha exposed the rawness of her heart and by making deep piercing eye contact with every member of the audience; she shared and narrated her story of liberation to them.
Taking a break from the hosting, our Director Veronica, performed an impromptu jig to the Darbuka beats. The Darbuka was played by a very close friend of Veronica’s, Mr. Jeremie Sabbagh who is a Darbuka player from Paris and whose grandfather is of egyptian origin. Many students, who had not heard the Darbuka being played Live before, were awe-struck by the mastery of Mr. Jeremie’s rendition. He got a resounding applause for his exuberant playing of the Darbuka.
Whenever Veve performs, she creates her own universe with her dance and lets artistic creation happen through her while dancing. Her performances have the power to transform her own reality and touch her audience. It is always an absolute pleasure to watch her dance.
A very close friend of our Director Veronica’s, Ms. Hajar, who happens to be an Oriental Dancer from Paris-Morrocan origin; graced our Hafla with her presence. To give all those present a glimpse of how belly dancing is enjoyed while meeting up with friends at the tea-shops of Morocco, without the embellishments and glitz of costume, accessories and heavy make-up, Veronica requested Ms. Hajar to do a small improvisational jig to the Darbuka beats. The darbuka was played by Mr. Jeremie.
Using her scarf and tying it up as a hip-belt she executed a very earthy, fresh and full of energy sequence complete with crisp and isolated movements. She received a resounding applause from one and all present and had everyone wishing for more.
When time came for our advanced level girls to take the stage, they boogied out with very energetic hip twists, their arms flung high in the air. The level of vigor of this high-octane kick off didn’t drop until the song ended and the energy that the girls gave out to the audience was returned many fold to them with crazy claps and cheers!
Sashaying to the beats of a very sexy song, the girls tousled their hair and swayed their way from one cheery combination to another, their sassy moves reminiscent of a crazy girls’ night out. They brought to life a performance that was eclectic, exciting and full of joie de vivre. A very well choreographed performance, with synchronized hip swings and several head tosses. But the cherry on the top was the authentic feel it had to it. The girls looked like they were having the time of their lives and the audience couldn’t help but be drawn into this fun and rollick.
In all a very smooth and intensely power-packed performance, that had the audience hollering for more.
Shrouded in a dark veil of mystery and exquisitely layered instrumental music, Senior Instructor Dipika presented a Tribal Fusion Belly dance performance.
Her spine as erect as a rod of tenacious platinum and arms held in long curves framing her body, she conveyed strength, pride and resilience. A dark nymph of the shadows, her trinkets tinkling like the distant echo of shooting stars, she awakened within us a long forgotten flurry of memories and yearnings. Her moves struck a chord within the deepest recesses of the soul and resounded in every part of our being.
Blending technical vocabulary of Belly dancing with the stylistic elements of Break dance, she created splendid combinations with sharp and fast actions like popping, locking and breaking moves, mixing it with surges of body waves and alternating it with moments of freeze creating a robotic effect. Addressing all the elements of these two diverse dance forms, she then layered them together using delicate shimmies and transformed them into a complete & intricate whole.
She radiated blasts of psychic energy, into the hearts of her audience and kept them connected to her by a tenuous and gossamer thin thread, but in all its power alive and vibrating. Weaving a translucent fabric of esoteric rules, she cast a spell, capturing all hearts.
Adding a modern twist to the tale of the Lady of the Lake, Senior Instructor Sanjana, presented a Modern fantasy oriental belly dance piece.
Akin to a Mermaid, she was dressed in a sparkling costume intricate with aquamarine gemstones and golden overtones. She epitomized the Lady of the Lake who, with her long & lustrous tresses flowing like curtains of silk, dwells on the Isle of Avalon; the mysterious and otherworldly Paradise which lies across the waters and beyond the mists.
Dancing on instrumental music, with an underwater undercurrent to it, she supplemented her unique combinations with a motley of layerings and shimmies. Her sinuous & rhythmic hip movements and undulating arms were redolent with mystery and radiated energy all through the gathering. In all her majesty and glory, she was the Princess of light and also of darkness, the one who reigns in the space between the worlds. But like an apparition, she shimmied and swayed just a breath away, never reachable to the outstretched arms of the mortal; a shift in consciousness, an opening glimpsed through a Veil into another dimension of reality.
The jugalbandi between our Director Veronica Simas de Souza and the world renowned celebrity Yoga trainer and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yogini Deepika Mehta was the high point of the evening. Their performance can only be described as the rhythmical creation of beauty through the skillful flow of energy from one to the other. By challenging the finite path of human limitations and by overcoming it, they reached on towards infinity by bringing about a great balance and control of their movements.
On the soulful beats of electronica music, they both glided solemnly from one intricate and highly advanced yoga pose to another with such mastery, that, it created around them a divine halo of transcendental energy. Their moves were so brilliantly complimentary to each other, that it went beyond the artistic mastery of a performance and synergized into something much more ethereal and spiritual. The innate chemistry between both Veronica and Deepika was so sparklingly invigorating that they looked like soul sisters soaring relentlessly through the hurdles of life.
Reflected in dozens of pairs of eyes, they had cast a spell on their audience and held them spell-bound with their creation of sublime splendor.