Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dance crazy

Drumming and dancing go hand in hand.

On Fridays, I have been going to AfroSonic at Black Rep to listen to my teacher and friends play drums to the amazing deep house played by the DJs. Often, during the first set, I am the only one dancing. Tonight I was having a hard time hearing the drums, so I just waltzed out to the middle of the dance floor, closed my eyes and let go. I was completely alone out there and I didn't give a shit.

I don't care if I look like a goofball. When I close my eyes and listen, really listen, to the rhythm, I am transported to another world. My body responds to the beat of the drums and the thud of the DJs. I feel the music in my bones, in my soul, in my body and just let go.

I try and listen for the subtle underlying beats, I sing along with the rhythm, I mouth drum accompaniments and feel it all flow through.

I think, as a drummer, it is good to dance to music.


Spinning said...

Rachel, is there any chance you could do a bit of accompaniment for dance classes (African)? IKWYM about the way things start falling into place when you get a chance to stick with just one part for an extended period of time... This has been such a help to me! (along with taking time to be back with the dunduns, because it's literally easier to hear how the djembe parts work when you're a few feet away from them, not right in the middle of everything.)

Just a thought...

Rachel Nguyen said...

Hey e,

To be honest, Sidy doesn't think I am ready to play for dance classes because the pace is so fast at the ones he does. He knows I would like to do it at some point, but I really feel like I have a way to go before I can keep that kind of tempo for a whole hour.

I just wrote a post about playing the accompaniment for my classes this week, though... and I tell you, it was great. I will do that again periodically, I think.

Spinning said...

Hmm... they don't do any medium-tempo dances? I know what he's saying about the really fast tempos, but dancers need breathers, too. ;-)

Switching off between accompaniment and solos is probably going to help you realize that you've absorbed more than you think you have... and I think it also helps to have that change of pace, where you can just relax into a groove and not have to be concerned about what phrases you need to be playing next. What I'm finding is that I'm beginning to think (a bit) in phrases - and that comes from doing accompaniment and getting to listen to the various layers of sounds.

Shawna said...

Hi Rachel,
One of the things I have learned in belly dancing is that dance is not for Performance... it's for You. Dance to those drums! Doesn't matter what you think you might look like.

One of my fellow belly-dance ladies is also a drummer, and sometimes she plays for us instead of dancing. It's wonderful to dance to a drum rather than the prerecorded music we usually use.

My percussion is zills, which I am still lousy at. Are finger-cymbals played in African music?

I saw a mutual f/Friend on Sunday for worship. Something very good happened that I wanted to tell you about, but I don't have your email. Mine is

Keep on dancing to those drums. It's good for the soul.

Rachel Nguyen said...

Hey Shawna,

I emailed you offline with my email address! Thanks for stopping by the Big Bang!

Hey E,

I am sure the tempo for the classes must vary somewhat, LOL. I think Sidy just feels like I am not ready to do it yet... and I have to say, I really trust his opinion of my abilities. He pushes me just beyond my comfort zone, but not so far that I get discouraged. So, when I am ready, he'll invite me to come along.

In the mean time, working back and forth with the accompaniment is a great way to get that 'big picture' kind of effect. I felt GREAT after the last couple of classes.

e said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Spinning said...

Just curious - have you been to one of the classes? Might be fun to see and hear what's happening!