Kami Liddle Weekend RAQ’D!

CN 2014 Group

“Elegant Creature Feature” show with Kami Liddle, photo by Casey Allen

Over the weekend, we hosted the amazing Kami Liddle here in Cincinnati.  There were 8 hours of workshops, and we wrapped up Saturday with our “Elegant Creature Feature” and performances by many of our area’s best belly dancers.  Kami’s performance was fluid and elegant, with controlled snaps and pops highlighting the accents in her beautiful music.  It was inspiring to see her performance so up-close, and I actually enjoyed the fact that we didn’t have a stage separating her from us!

CN 2014 Kami & gang

Elegant Creature Feature, photo by Jenna Torres. (L to R) Jenna Torres, Adrienne Sedgwick, Kami Liddle, Kat Diedrich & Leyla Billman

I learned a lot during her workshops and over the course of the weekend, which I will highlight below.  My troupe and I will be concentrating on performances for the rest of 2014, and then I’ll turn my attention to the next workshop weekend featuring Ariellah and the “Elegant Creature Feature’s Monster Show” in mid-April 2015.

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Zahara’s Tangled Web, action shot by Casey Allen

1.  Unexpected Things Happen – Something bizarre always happens when I sponsor a workshop weekend, and Kami’s was no exception.  She had planned to leave on the first flight out Friday morning, so she’d arrive in plenty of time to rest and visit before teaching the next morning.  Instead, she got out of bed at 4:00AM on Friday, checked herself and her luggage into the airport… and spent ten hours that day in the terminal, due to a fire at the Chicago airport!  And there were more flight delays on Saturday morning, which meant our workshops would be starting later than planned.  This was, by far, the most challenging scenario my instructor and I have had to navigate, but we managed to come up with a plan and calmly worked together to get everything in place for the rest of the weekend.  While rescheduling the workshops, I discovered…

2.  People Can Be Very Understanding:  I was prepared to hear some concerns and complaints when I arrived at the venue Saturday, but I was relieved to see all the dancers stretching and excited about dancing and learning!  I believe a lot of this was due to the fact that (a) what happened was completely out of our control, (b) we had communicated what was happening on Friday evening via text messages and tags on Facebook, and (c) my calm/cool/collected volunteer, Catherine, was at the venue Saturday morning to keep everybody updated.  I am truly thankful for everyone’s patience and understanding that day.

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Anaya Belly Dance takes the stage! (Photo by Casey Allen)

3.  There’s No Such Thing as a “One-Woman Show”:  These weekends are a collaboration between the guest instructor, the sponsor, the students… AND the venue, volunteers, A/V personnel, vendors and many more.  I know there were several important contributors helping to put on the event.  And when everybody pulls together and pitches in, these weekends can be amazing!  And yet… at the end of the day…

4.  I am Solely Responsible for Maintaining My Vision:  I had something special in mind for this year’s show, but ultimately had to drop them due to circumstances that could have been avoided if I had maintained a little more control.  So, if I have a certain vision or elements in mind for the show (or any other larger dance project), then I have to find a way to make that happen on my own.  It was a valuable lesson, and plans are already under way to bring these ideas to life in the April show.

CN 2014 Carenza's Caravan

This number, by Carenza’s Caravan, was definitely part of my spooky vision! (Photo by Casey Allen)

5.  Great Belly Dancing IS… :  More than just flawless technique.  One of the many things I learned during Kami’s workshop is that you can have a smooth, fluid choreography that is full of spins and poses… AND has brief moments of pop-and-lock isolations… and it STILL makes for a lovely belly dance piece!  Her choreography class on Sunday was just the inspiration I needed to push myself as a dancer and troupe leader.  I had found myself caught in the trap of mastering isolations and layers, while forgetting about the sweeping movements of graceful “dancing”.

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Kami WOW-ing us during her performance (photo by Ro’Ahnna)

6.  Community is Important:  A workshop weekend is pointless without students, and a show is nothing without an audience, so I was excited to see several members of our local belly dance community in the audience, cheering and supporting their teachers, friends, and students.  They even brought non-dancer friends and family members along, too!  Belly dance enthusiasts especially come in handy when…

CN 2014 Ti Harpy

Should have sent Ti the Harpy after the NBDDW’s!! (photo by Ro’Ahnna)

7.  No Matter What You Do, Some People Just Won’t “Get It”:  When you have an event at a place like a club or hotel, you will undoubtedly encounter NBDF (non-belly-dance-folks).  I’ve found that most NBDF are respectful, polite and genuinely curious about the art form.  There have been several who asked if they could watch the belly dance show, paid for tickets and told me how much they enjoyed it.  But this time, we had some NBDDW’s (non-belly-dance, drunken weenies) who obviously didn’t “get it”.  They interrupted our performance by opening doors and trying to sneak in, argued with my door volunteer about having to “pay to watch dumb ol’ belly dance?!” and insulted some of our performers by calling them “weird” when they were in the hall during intermission.  Luckily for them, I didn’t have to use my sparkly “jaguar brass-knuckle ring” from Calico Garden!

Jaguar Brass Knuckle Ring

The only way to maintain control… is to rely on Jaguar Brass Knuckle Ring!!

8.  Thank You Notes DO Matter:  A little acknowledgement goes a long way, and I know I had a ton of help this weekend.  Volunteers (Cat & Natasha), Carenza’s Caravan (vending), Guy (sound), Loren (emcee), our audience (too many fabulous folks to name individually!), Kami, and all of our performers made this weekend a huge success… so thank you all very much!

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Loren the Black, Emcee (Photo by Jenna Torres)

AND… thanks to all the folks who shared their pictures of the performances!  :)

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Amy Gibson with her gorgeous fans (photo by Casey Allen)

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Devon in all her lacey finery! (photo by Ro’Ahnna)

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Fiery Ericka during her “Paint it Black” piece (photo by Ro’Ahnna)

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Seraphina of El Hamsa Belly Dance & her swords (photo by Ro’Ahnna)

CN 2014 Kim B

Zyzzyva dances her Air Elemental vision (photo by Ro’Ahnna)

So, save the date… The Elegant Creature Feature MONSTER SHOW will be on April 18, 2015!

CN 2015 Michella YEAH!

HOORAY for the SHOW! photo by Casey Allen, featuring Michella and her daughter (on the right) after Michella’s performance


  1. Michella says:

    Hey, there’s my #1 fan! If you had something in mind that was even MORE spectacular than this Carnival Noir, then I CANNOT WAIT FOR ARIELLAH WEEKEND!!! GO MONSTERS!
    Thank you for organizing such a wonderful weekend :)

  2. Hear, hear! Can’t wait to be there..,for the CarNoir Monster Show! Elegant Creature Feature was one of my favorite Carnival Noir collaborations YET!!! I loved incorporating each dancer/troupe’s personae into the Elemental emcee scheme of your always awesome rhymes. Meeting with dancers and audience after is such a blessing. I enjoyed enlightening and charming some of the friendlier NBDF. I agree “dancefloor theater” really links you with the crowd…Next year will be MONSTROUSly good!

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