Every artist has inspirations, ones that makes them excited and want to start creating their own art work. Being a duckling of a professional dancer – a Japanese expression for a person aspiring to become something – I always find it interesting to learn what inspires dancers, musicians, painters, writers, and anyone who does creative work. So today I want to share artists that inspire me to dance and create new pieces. Some are belly dancers, and others are not related to belly dancing at all. I hope you may find ones here interesting and even get inspired by these artists as well!
First, belly dance related inspiration
I watch a lot of belly dance videos on YouTube and try to watch it live as well. It is difficult to pick specific ones since many different dancers inspire me at different times, but here are a few that always get me excited.
Our proud local professional troupe. I admire them even just for the fact that these ladies have danced together for over a decade. That’s a long time. And there is very unique, beautiful energy that these dancers create together, thanks to their experience performing together for so long. When I watch them dance, I feel so comfortable and relaxed, and I can just enjoy what they are doing. You know, audience can feel what performers are feeling? So when there isn’t good vibe between dancers, chances are, the audience can detect it too. These ladies are always fun and happy together, and I believe that’s what creates their beautiful pieces.
And another local professional dancer. Vancouver has a lot of talented dancers, but her choreography always impresses and inspires me. So clean and beautiful. I’d love to study with her one day.
Belly Dance Superstars and other famous belly dancers
I’ve heard various opinions about Belly Dance Superstars shows, but I am all for it! I also watch videos of famous belly dancers like Jillina, Bozenka and Ranya Renee a lot. I tend to like North American belly dancers, probably because I have seen this style the most. To have a balanced diet, I also watch non-North American dancers such as Mecerdes Nieto and other, more traditional or folkloric types of dancers as well, but I tend to come back to this style.
Here is my favourite Ranya Renee video.
She is such a captivating performer! I love how she is in a character as soon as she enters the stage.
As I was writing, I realized all of these dancers tend to be in big shows with big audience, and the video quality tends to be good, so this might be one of the reasons why I tend to be inspired by these dancers. But because they have a big audience, likely of mixed demographic and interests, their pieces tend to be very entertaining both for belly dancers and non-belly dancers. I personally think this is very important when I am dancing in front of a mixed crowd. I want my toes to be pointed and want to use correct muscles, but most importantly, I want to be in the moment and entertaining people.
Non-Belly Dance Inspiration
Belly dance, for me, is a means of expression of who I am. So inspiration can come from all kinds of sources, not just other belly dancers. In fact, I think it is important that we get inspiration from different music and dancers, because that is what makes our pieces unique and diverse. So here are a few works and artists that I love and admire.
I love musicals in general, and whenever I go see one, I get so excited that I start breaking into tears as soon as the opening number starts. Hairspray never fails to make me happy. Fun dance numbers of the 60s, big shiny costumes, and upbeat songs. This one makes me want to dance, for sure. A movie version (I love it as much as a live musical!) is here.
Langley Ukulele Ensemble
I first saw these kids at the Vancouver Christmas Market in 2011, and fell in love with them. Such amazingly talented kids! And the conductor is so funny and animated. He reminds us of Alan from Two and a Half Men, but he is no Alan! He was very good at interacting with the audience during and outside of performance. I really enjoy pieces like the one below where they have a little choreography while playing their ukuleles. Super entertaining.
So cute, crazy backbend and beautiful Violin playing. She is awesome. This is entertainment!
Golden Bomber is a Japanese band, and they became famous in the last few years. They are a rock band, but they are also an “air band” – they don’t play music. Or more like, they can’t play music. The main singer is the only one that understands and writes music, and he actually sings, but the other guys are pretending to play music or dancing or just entertaining the audience. This whole idea blew my mind, and their creative and really comical performances totally got me curious. It’s not that I want to be all funny and do crazy things on the stage like these guys do, but I really respect their creativity and the fact that they took a huge risk of being musicians that don’t play music but commit to entertaining people. I mean, they are all famous now, so the risk was worth taking, but before they became successful… what motivated them to do a complete opposite of what other successful musicians were doing and kept going their way, especially in a society where there is so much expectation and pressure for every profession, age, gender… again, it just blows my mind.
Phew! Writing this article and researching all these videos got me all excited, and I think I’m going to have to dance around now! Now I want to ask you: Who inspires you to do what you love doing? Please share in the comment section!
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