Youtube Clip of the Week: Sera Solstice at Tribal Fest ’09

I got a ton out of my workshop with Asharah — she talked to me about business, artistic development, good books to read, etc. One of the little gems she dropped that weekend was that I should check out a dancer by the name of Sera Solstice. Lord, am I glad I did. Here’s why:

Seriously. SERA IS AWESOME. This video is just incredible. Here’s my thoughts:

— The story. I’m not going to share what I got from this piece, because I think it’s important to watch the video and see what story is spun for you, but honestly, I was tearing up by the end. This piece is an incredibly powerful and emotive piece, and Sera just did a fabulous job morphing her body into images that conveyed strong messages. The intensity and emotional connection resonated with me. I think we can all learn a lesson here: I think all artists should remember that our ultimate goal is share something and connect with our audience. I would much rather have someone HATE my dancing with a passion than feel indifferent, since I know then I conveyed SOMETHING to the audience. I connected with Sera Solstice in this piece. I feel like I know this woman better after seeing this piece. It’s a feeling I hope someday I am talented enough to pass on to someone watching MY dancing. Brava, Sera — I feel like you’ve accomplished the dancer’s and the artist’s ultimate goal.

— Creative fusion. If you had told me someone was going to fuse mime, lyrical, belly dance and combative imagery together, I would’ve probably been skeptical. But look at all that she fused together and how effectively it conveyed a message. I believe that this is not only a testament to Sera’s creativity and unique dancing style, it’s a testament to the variety and seriousness of her training. It’s hard to fuse things together without a deep knowledge of all the elements you are fusing — believe me, I’ve tried. And wow, what an undertaking to try and seamlessly fuse such a wide variety of elements without doing one poorly or neglecting one. Hats off, Sera. I caution dancers, however: Be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. Not many dancers could pull this off. Sometimes fusing too much can have the opposite effect — none of the elements are performed well. At that point, the piece looks amateurish, and the piece stops being a dance and just becomes a series of tricks with background music.

— Strong belly dance technique. Sera does not sacrifice her belly dance technique to her emotionality or to the elements she is fusing. Sera definitely had less belly dance in her piece than, say, Aubre’s Fosse Fusion piece (check out my review), but I didn’t mind because the belly dancing in the piece did not seem forced and I feel that the music called for any more belly dancing.

— Arm work. Do yourself a favor — watch this piece again and just watch her arms. I feel that this video is a treasure trove for dancers looking for new and creative ways to use their arms in their pieces. The lines created by her arms alone made this piece very visually interesting. I saw again some combative imagery, some Indian influences, and some theatrical elements.

— Strong interpretation of the music. The drama in this piece is heightened by how Sera moved to the music. Again, I feel this is the sign of a true artist — she interpreted this song and made it come to life. At points I felt like her body was creating the music, not vice-versa. I posted about a competition recently in which I was finally able to “turn off my brain” for the first time, and at points the music was moving my body, I wasn’t moving my body to the music. Artists like Sera show us a higher level of musical interpretation, another element I plan on working on in my own development.

I’m hoping to publish a new review of a bellydance clip on youtube every Sunday, so keep checking back!

Click here to learn more about Sera Solstice and Solstice Dance Ensemble.


6 responses to “Youtube Clip of the Week: Sera Solstice at Tribal Fest ’09

  1. Wow! Thank you for sharing, truly amazing, as you stated. Keep up the blogging gurl, I love what you have to say! x0x0x0x0 ~B~

  2. Sera is amazing. I highly recommend her Tribal DVD. She teaches the Best Warmup Ever on that thing, and I can watch the performance on it over and over. Have you seen her “Shadow” performance on the Bellydance Magic DVD? Some of the best breakdown of isolations I’ve ever seen. It’s awfully damn hard to get intermediate training as a Tribal Fusion bellydancer, especially from DVDs, so I am particularly fond of her.

  3. I love Sera! She always has interesting song selections for each of her numbers. One small thing that has always struck me is how her troupe easily transitions from group numbers to solos, so the mood is never broken and you feel like you are almost moving through different parts of a dream. Tribal Fest is an awesome place to catch how dancers are fusing and Sera definitely stands out amongst the newbies and seasoned veterans. What caught me with this video especially was the hands. One common entrance for a dance is come out and definie your space either by walking or dancing around it. I loved her originality in this point by using her hands to both establish her space and tell a story. There could have been less arms and exterior movements, but honestly, she puts on a great dance regardless. Sera’s also got an amazing stage presence, which makes just about any dance she does seem transcendant. <3's to her!

  4. This performance gave me goosebumps. Showed this piece to a couple of friends (non-dancers) and they were awestruck. Movement like this makes we want to disappear into dance training and not come out until I’m half as good as she. Stupid day job, always getting in the way!!

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