October 4, 2004

The Hubble Bubble

Before you read this, you should visit www.hubblebubble.net...

The installment of Hubble Bubble held at the N1 Center in Islington is called Grand Bazaar IV. After waiting in the ticket office pick-up line for our tickets, my friend Melissa and I passed two small tables selling the Oojami CD's, hip scarves, and jewelry. We entered the big room with the stage at the far end. It was early, probably 7:45. We hung out and chatted. I bumped into my friend Helen, who is in the know about bellydance in London. The DJ Phil Meadley played global beats (from his Mac laptop, I think!) while the floor filled with an excited audience. There was a slideshow of past Hubble Bubble posters and other imagery on the screen behind the stage. It was like going to a rock concert.

Three bellydancers arrived on the stage (with instruments and microphones on the stage for the later performers) at around 9:30. All three dressed differently. One girl was in a plain red choli and red coin scarf. Another in a black beaded and coined choli and silver coined belt and scarf. The third was in a modern bra and skirt, black and white (leopard) costume. The latter two danced gracefully, but there was no energy in their movement. They were dancing more like to put the sultan to sleep than getting the crowd ready for a big show. The first girl was plain in her appearance, so she tried to make up for it in her flashy movements... she was trying too hard. The latter two girls were gorgeous, so I guess it didn't really matter that they were doing the same moves with the same consistency. The three improved to "Entrance of the Stars" from Bellydance Superstars Vol.2.

I've seen many dance performances in my life time. Let me just say, never put girls with totally different outfits and different dance styles on stage. If they had been dancing around the room, that would be different, but these three were center stage. They should atleast have the same outfits or something similar or complimentary, or they should have a choregraphy. The placement of the girls was awkward as well. The first girl was shorter than latter two. She should have been in the middle. I actually recognized and have met the second girl. She dances at a Persian restaurant that I've been to several times. She had told me that she was starting to be an agent, but later when I phoned her, she just told me to go find any restaurant on Edgware Road.

The first music group was Swarmi. Basically, it was three Desi boys trying to do hip-hop/rap. One guy in the middle sang a bit, but he sang over the DJ'd music which already had a lady singing. This was their first live performance in London.

Next was Oojami with a sufi dancer. The guy in white would spin for the entire song. Behind him, on the screen was some faint footage of other sufi troupe dancers in performance.

After the sufi dancer, Oojami jammed with the lead vocalist, violinist, drummers, dhumbek drummer, and guitarist, playing songs from their new album. They had a couple of individual belly dancers on stage with them for certain songs.

Then there was a trapeze artist who wowed the crowd as she twirled and slid on the rope, accompanied by music.

As the stage was setting up, an announcer plugged the Bellydance Superstars show this weekend and some of the other upcoming world music shows.

Finally, the Transglobal Underground and Natascha Atlas appeared on stage. They also had with them a sitar player who was absolutely magnificent. Natascha's sultry voice was lovely, but I wish she would smile. She wore a nice bellydance Pharonics dress with a hip scarf and danced a little, but no shimmy. There was a man who started to sing rastafarian songs, but we had to leave early to catch the tube home.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten that on Sundays, the tubes close earlier, so I ended up taking a bus to Euston station and taking a taxi from the taxi queue there. It was fun but tiring because we were standing the whole time. There were no sheeshas, Turkish food stall, or Bazaar stalls. This was a great night, but I hope the next one is even better!

Posted by oneray at 8:55 AM