Erin Drummond

This will be Erin Drummond’s second time at the Cabaret, having performed in “Love Songs” by David DeBlieck earlier this fall as part of our recurring Kinetic Kitchen series. But her dance career stretches back much further, having begun at the tender age of eight when she took a ballet class because her best friend Laura wanted to take it. (Hey, that sounds like how I got into Doctor Who…) Her work is constantly evolving; one interest that currently drives her work is the body’s sensorial relationship to place: “there is a split second lag between the energy field around your body and the electrical activity in your brain.  We sense the world before we process it on a cerebral level, and this fascinates me.  I am interested in the forms, movements, energies, and qualities that can emerge from a sensorial exploration- even with the very air, movement of our blood, and resonance of our bones- before the thinking mind gets involved.  I nurture this connection by using an intuitive form of directing in the rehearsal process, and then refining the work from there.” Erin is also interested in how a dance formed in interaction with one place is changed when transplanted into another, as it will be this weekend when “Laoi na Mn Mora” (which grew out of reciprocity with the sea) comes to the indoor performance space of Patrick’s Cabaret. 

Erin has had the opportunity to investigate these interests in many different locations. In 2004 she was study abroad in Samoa and interviewing local Samoans about their experiences with aitu (spirits) and as the culmination of the project, she put together a performance piece integrating local legends and dance with her own performative voice, entitled “My Ancestor is a Cloud.”    In 2007, a composer friend of hers who was working for a dance/theater company in Bangkok invited her to come work on a project commissioned by the UN.  She remembers many of the UN delegates insisting that the dance performance should not be included in their ceremony, because the issues were “too important for art,” whereupon Angh, the woman largely responsible for starting  the commission, replied, “these issues are so important, we need every avenue possible to explore them!”  This was a moment that greatly inspired Erin, and after seeing the devastation of the recent tsunamis in Southeast Asia and Samoa, she says she is further impassioned in the exploration of artistic forms- esp. through relationship with place- as an invaluable way to tune into otherwise unseen possibilities for the climate, earth, and ourselves.

I think I’ll let her close this out: “As much as I may try to describe my work in words, the life of it is in the thing itself.” To see the life of the thing, head down to Patrick’s Cabaret Friday or Saturday. Have fun!

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Alexandra Owings

Another newbie! Ladies and gentlemen, welcome Alexandra Owings to the fold and to her first time at Patrick’s Cabaret! She will be treating you to a fantastic belly-dancing performance this weekend, and hopefully weekends to come.

Alexandra has been dancing since she was a child, but it wasn’t until she was sixteen that she discovered belly dance and fell in love with it. She quickly discovered its many fusions–tribal, hip-hop, Latin, etc.– and was excited by their challenges. She loved learning to feel and dance to the music itself, not eight-counts. These days her favorite thing about dancing is “the feeling you get when your body is entirely in sync with the music. I love picking out interesting beats to dance to and it is so much fun to explore how your body and your different body parts can hit the beats. I think a good song to dance to really helps a dancer to feel the music and move their body to the beat of the song. When I come across a new song I love, it is such a good feeling like you are meant to move to the song. I think that is why I love gothic fusion so much: because the songs speak to me.”

You know, I’ve really missed doing interviews. You get to find out so much interesting stuff. For instance, before this interview, I had no idea what gothic-tribal belly dance was, but now I know that this genre, which Alexandra has been exploring recently, is a fusion dance made up of gothic-style and ATS (American Tribal Style, itself derived from Middle Eastern bellydance). Alexandra describes it as incorporating “mostly ATS, hip-hop, and modern style dance…gothic in that the music, costume, and movements are very dark, sensual, yet cutting edge and dynamic.”  It has less of bellydance’s stereotypical “girly, sexy” vibe and more of “the darkness of vampires, the isolations of hip-hop, and the sensuality of traditional belly dance .”

Also a dance teacher, Alexandra loves “picking out songs that make my students move. I can see the excitement in their bones when they hear a good song. It makes them feel empowered, feminine, sexy, yet humble at the same time. Dance is so liberating and I love for my students to feel that rush of feeling throughout their bodies when they dance.”

Lastly, Alexandra would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people in her life have taught her to dance and/or shown her good music, for helping her to develop and grow as a dancer: “my mom taught me to feel music, my sister taught me that dancing is liberating, my brother taught me that music is an instrument to show how you
feel, my dance teachers have taught me technique, and my fiancé has taught me confidence and has pushed me into achieving my goals. I thank all of them for their help!”

That certainly is a lot of people, eh? Don’t let their gifts be in vain! Come see Alexandra tomorrow and Saturday and Patrick’s Cabaret.