by Gabrielle Nomura ///
It took three rehearsals in a dance studio, (two in my living room) and many long hours of listening to my music of choice, but finally, it's done. My piece, that is.
Titled "Paradigm Shift" this sassy jazz dance is a collaboration with recent Seattle transplants and music men, The Bad Tenants. With an innovative sound that's Beastie boys meets blues, soul and jazz (trust me, it works), I have watched these boys, dear friends of mine, grow from a small-town Bellingham band to touring recording artists starting to make a name for themselves in the Northwest.
And when I say "collaboration" I mean it. The "B-Tennies" have been involved every step of the way. I very much look forward to sharing the stage with them in August when we perform at Dance Fremont! There is nothing better for a dancer than performing to live music. And there is nothing better for young men than having cute girls in leotards parading around.
The group is made up of Good Matters (Matthew Goodwin, far left in the photo) Casey G. (Casey Gainor who is center), and DJ Idlhnds (Gabriel Ghirardini). Each of the boys raps. Additionally, C-Spot plays trombone, Good Matters plays the saxophone and DJ Idlhnds ... well, surprisingly enough, he DJ's.
I have performed with them as a "Bad Tennette" backup dancer at Nectar Lounge, toured with them as their Tour Manager for their Southeast Alaska run, (where I was responsible for them almost missing their ferry, sorry boys!) my love of their music has grown and grown. Yes, it's true. Three foul-mouthed rappers are my muses.
The piece is set to a medley of bluesy, jazzy, hip-hop tunes that DJ Idlhnds flawlessly transitions from one song to the next. Working with DJ Idlhnds, I selected a handful of their songs that I felt showcased a dynamic range, from the mellow, tender R&B refrain of "Sweet Talk" to the banger "Stay Classy," Idl took my choices and arranged them in a way that I feel, almost tells a story, or at least, possess a strong dynamic arc.
From the musical arrangement, I had the challenge of showcasing five dancers whose strengths range from beatboxing and twerking, to ballet, and classical modern dance. I knew I wanted this piece to be popish, urban and hip-hop. But I also wanted my work to allow each woman to embrace her femininity, sensuality, and confidence in the way her body likes to move. If you look closely at my moves, you will see a little bit of all these dance styles inside a package that comes out as a little Beyonce-music-video around the edges. Mostly sassy and almost show-girl-like, the piece does (intend) to leave a little food for thought in typical modern-dance fashion.
Important tidbits! Stay tuned...