Saturday, June 23, 2007


Trading Licks

There's something that dancers and musicians can do that actors can't. They can trade licks. These photos I just received of my belly dance sisters reminded me of this. (This was my teacher's graduation brunch. Standing you have me and Lois, sitting below me is Charlene and giddy graduate Fancy.)

At the infomercial shoot, there were salsa champions and West Coast swing champions. One of the infomercial hosts is Cris Judd, dancer and choreographer. Between shots, the champions and Cris traded licks. They'd show some move to one another and mimic, sometimes trying to one-up the other. It was fun to watch. What an incredible way to broaden your dance "vocabulary."

My oldest brother is a guitarist. When I was a youth, our neighbor was also a guitarist and he had the same taste in music as Brett. There was more mentoring than lick trading, but I'm sure Brett still uses some of the tricks he learned. There's no equivalent in acting. What, am I going to show someone how I just cry and they're going to mimic me before they show me something even cooler? Not with 99.5% of the actors I meet. Most people are confused when I tell them I just cry.

Before the ol' Dar Maghreb recital in May, we got together each week to rehearse our troupe numbers. Some weeks we'd show one another our solos. Heck, some weeks we even taped them so we could watch what we were doing and make it prettier. I remember the first two or three times that we traded licks. Okay, I didn't have many licks to trade (my licks were all strippy licks) but I learned lots of little tricks from the girls to incorporate in my solo. I remember watching Lois and Charlene trading licks and helping each other through transitions for their solos. I'm working on learning some new belly dance licks to trade when we get back together. I think it's part of the dancer bond.

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