Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dancing the Roots

My first appearance in a musical theater piece was offered by African Holiday, produced courageously off-broadway in New York. Coming at a time when the ethnic African Ballet  made a splash on Broadway, no doubt the show attempted to cash in on the popularity of supple, scantily clad, African dancers and singers doing their thing in public. Don't get me wrong, the African Ballet show was fabulous!

African Holiday gathered Manhattan's outstanding dancers of what came to be known as "primitive" dancing. Is that word a derivative of the dancer, Pearl Primus's name or did it really suggest that it was primitive as in savage? Oh ho, Primus noted dance steps seen in Africa and then taught them to an elite group of dancers back in the States. Something got lost in the translation though, like women taking on the male stance, doing steps usually performed by males. None the less her gift became the foundation of a style of dancing we in the States knew nothing about at the time.

Fledgling dancer that I was, AH auditions left me behind. However, I wound up as part of the special group performing with Cuban percussionist, Mongo Santamaria .

Dressing room tension peeked when the Cubans sat beside the back to Africa exponents who wore no makeup, dressed in Dashikis and sported Angela Davis type afros.

One day as I began dressing, the dancer next to me met my eyes in the mirror and said in a menacing tone, "Girl, I feel like snatching those rollers off of your nappy head!"
Luckily, she became distracted because ouch, those rollers were enormous. Enormous and pink. Pink with ridges, held in by a shorter version of chopsticks, also pink with one black rubber tip.

The show put forth life in an African village with rituals like the fire dance, fertility dance, and praying for a good harvest naming a few.

In the market scene, dancers entered onstage one by one, laughing and chatting happily. It's true that when laughter starts in a group, it becomes infectuous. More often than not, I found myself laughing hysterically once we got going and once, more seriously, I woke up rolling around the stage.Those drum beats hypnotized me. Possession adds to the drama but imagine getting possessed during every performance. A dancer's performing life is short enough without that added tension. At any rate, from then on I concentrated on the choreography and not the drums. So went my first venture in a musical show. There was no holiday like African Holiday.

La Table de Mindy

Into cooking or not, once you've met dynamic Chef Mindy Horiuchi: you'll be tempted to take one of her cooking courses. Chef Mindy specializes in both French and Japanese cuisine. Don't scream when you check out her site 'cause for the moment it's only in Japanese, just check back with me:  or Bernadette Martin, branding expert at: . Bernadette and daughter, Natalie, took a sushi class with the chef who invited me to taste the results of their efforts. Even if I don't eat sushi (I'm a sashimi fan) I benifitted from the homestyle Japanese dinner of squid salad,  broccoli florets with a delicious sauce and  squid lightly sauteed. Hubby, Raphael, joined us for dessert of fruit sherbet and mixed berries cocktail. As an added attraction, we tried on wigs I brought along sparking laughs aplenty. Hey, guys, that was fun. We should do it again sometime.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Escapade Américaine

Champagne, live music and jamm session, in which I participated, made the vernissage a "happening event" Wednesday, August 18th at Le 59 Rivoli in Paris. Natalie, student and fan, asked me how does one jamm with musicians just met? The answer is in my book of top tips for singers now in the works.  
See vernissage info below:   
“Escapade Américaine”
Kristin Eager KILLION l Françoise EVRARD l Michel de MARMONT

Exposition du 17 Août au 5 Septembre 2010

le vendredi 3 septembre 2010 à partir de 18 heures


59, rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris
Ouvert du mardi au dimanche de 13h à 20h, le samedi de 11h à 20h (fermé le lundi)

If you miss the exposition, catch up with Kristin Eager Killion of Keager Design-sustainable art: at and check out Kristen's  recycled art creations like earrings from champagne bottle caps.


Monday, August 16, 2010

For a laugh

Laughter is good for your soul, your relationship, your business, your life. If you find you're not laughing a lot then try laughing on cue.

It's true, I know it works. You can try out laughter yoga, now all the rage in the States. Go ahead, just for a laugh...: