As soon as I got home from Canada (literally the very next day), the dance company that I am affiliated with (Boheme Tribal Belly Dance) hosted their big 2-day long Halloween-themed event: Ooky Spooky 2014. I assist Sarah Schneider Koning (Boheme’s Artistic Director) with event planning and promotion, and I was in charge of getting people signed in for their workshops and helping dancers find the bathrooms, dressing rooms, etc. I am glad that I didn’t take any workshops because I was completely and utterly exhausted from my train travels!
There were some really great workshops available this year!
- Raks Incendia taught a “Character Dynamics” workshop (how to go dark without making it *too* awkward). Raks Incendia are from Traverse City, Michigan.
- Lesley Inman showed us how to use our arms, hands, and face to bring drama to your dance in her “Adding the Magic” workshop. Lesley joined us from Twin Cities, Minnesota.
- Kelley Holder taught “All of the Skirts, All of the Drama,” where she offered tips in combination to help the dancer create flow, dramatic choreographies or improvised numbers. Kelley is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
- Belladonna Boheme taught one Saturday workshop and one on Sunday as well. “Rattled Your Bones” was a challenging technique-based shimmy workshop that was full of drills. She worked everyone HARD! I was not there for her “Dancing with Ghosts” workshop, but the concept was facing your inner demons, past life experiences, and thinking about your connection to your ancestors in order to discover your true self to encourage confidence and goal setting to benefit your dance. I am told that it was beyond excellent. Belladonna was our star guest instructor and she joined us from Washington DC.
- Carrie Meyer discussed how to get great performance photos and give the audience your best in her Sunday “Picture Perfect” workshop, which I also regrettably missed due to exhaustion. I have done several photo shoots with Carrie and have also purchased performance pictures of myself from her. She definitely knows how to make belly dancers look great in photos and how to capture the best moments forever in time! Carrie is based in St. Louis, Missouri. She is the owner and photographer of The Dancers Eye – Fine Art Bellydance Photography.
On top of all of these great workshops, there was an evening showcase. I danced in three different numbers with my Boheme Tribal family and had a lot of fun watching the other performances. Belladonna closed out the night with a mesmerizing Maleficent-esque dance complete with lots of shimmies, a crow that looked quite real, and a beautiful set of purple wings.
The first number that I performed in the showcase was Kali (with Ash Boheme and Hannah Boheme). It was the first performance of the show and I think it went very well despite Ash and I being very tired. Remember…I had just returned home from Toronto via 30-hour train/bus trip around 3 pm the day before Ooky Spooky. Ash had been in Uganda for a month and had also returned home the day before. Regardless, this is one of my favorite choreographies and I always love to perform it.
The second number that I performed in the showcase was with Boheme Tribal’s improv student troupe. We danced slow ITS (Improv Tribal Style) to “Scorn” by Portishead. This is a very sexy song that all of us really connect with and I am told that we danced beautifully. Here is a picture of me leading the troupe in this performance. I am very proud of this picture because I chose not to have it photoshopped or retouched. This is how I look and it makes me feel beautiful.
(ME LEADING PIC)
Melissa Decker at Ooky Spooky 2014. Photo by Carrie Meyer of The Dancers Eye – Fine Art Bellydance Photography. All rights reserved.
Boheme’s Student Improv Troupe did a mini-session with Carrie Meyer and I LOVE the picture!
(GROUP IMPROV PIC)
Boheme Tribal Belly Dance Student Improv Troupe at Ooky Spooky 2014. From left to right: Front row- Kate, Melissa. Middle row- Bex, Rachel. Back row- Hannah, Ash, Khalima, Cristine. Photo by Carrie Meyer of The Dancers Eye – Fine Art Bellydance Photography. All rights reserved.
The final number that I danced in was “During Hast,” a skirt number choreographed by Boheme’s Artistic Director, Sarah Schneider Koning. Ash Boheme, Bex Boheme, and Hannah Boheme danced it with me and it was a lot of fun! The song was a cover of Rammstein’s original song by a Ukrainian band called Subito. Listen to the song by clicking here (it will take you to the YouTube video) and imagine us dancing around with our 25-yard skirts!
“Du Hast.” Bex, Melissa, Ash, & Hannah of Boheme Tribal Belly Dance at Ooky Spooky 2014. Photo by Carrie Meyer of The Dancers Eye – Fine Art Bellydance Photography. All rights reserved.
(OOKY SPOOKY LONG PIC)
In addition to the workshop instructors, dancers from near and far performed in the evening showcase. Other soloists and troupes included Deana, Jhessail, Jinx, Steel Lotus, Jenny of Boheme, Hipnotik Elements, Celeste, Mosaic Bellydance, Calliope and students, Revele Bellydance, and Khalima Ali.
It was a fun and successful event! In addition to all of the guest instructors, performers, my fellow troupe mates, and my Artistic Director, I would like to thank everyone that came out to watch the show. Special thanks go out to two members of the Boheme Tribal family: Thanks Kate for building the gorgeous stage backdrop and thanks Rachel for designing the awesome show poster (P.S. Rachel McGuffin is available for commissions! Check out samples of her work at her website by clicking here.):
Finally, I would like to thank the members of my family that came to the show to support me: my Grandma Peggy, my mom, my dad, Aunt Jeanne, Bud and Margie, and Tim. Special thanks to my dad for supplying the sound system and being our sound guy…you’re the best! And the biggest thanks of all to my husband Tim for all of your patience and support leading up to the event, for helping with event tear-down, and for being my number one fan. I love you, baby!
Ooky Spooky gets bigger and better every year and I can’t wait to see what Ooky Spooky 2015 and 2016 (the 10th year!!!!) will bring!