Grinding, hustling, dreaming big, organizing, promoting, dancing… rather well, Nadira Serenity Tribal is dedicated to bringing American Tribal Style belly dance before your eyes in Hampton Roads.
Article & Photography by Joshua Fitzwater
Nadira approached me a bit over a month ago and wanted to discuss performance art. It was a freeze your naughty bits off kind of night immediately following a Gutter Gloss/ Inside Jupiter/ Nerdlucks gig at the Iguana in Norfolk and about five minutes into the conversation we went from talking about Marina Abramovic and Matthew Barney into very personal details concerning my personal llfe. Nadira, as she will say when our conversations get so heavy that I stammer, doesn’t do small talk well.
Towards the end of our conversation that should have been accompanied by multiple pints of Aventinus or some other strong elixir to help wash my inhibitions away, she invited me to one of her Seven Cities Tribal Café performances at Sassi Cakes in Ghent. She had accomplished her mission. I would be attending her show. She had me spilling my guts about those close to my heart, my fears, my dreams, within minutes of meeting her in person for the first time. How could I not be curious to learn more about this woman. I arrived at Nadira’s Sassi Cakes show just as a young dancer in blue and purple was concluding a number. Sassi Cakes is without a stage. It is a combination bar and pastry shop. I went to the back corner of the bar and ordered a diet coke. I’m watching my figure these days for personal reasons. Nadira could now tell you all about those reasons if she chose to. As I waited on my date to arrive, a dancer, and as I would later find out, fellow Richmond based dance promoter Madame Onca started to perform. I could tell from the onset of her number that Onca was a pro.
It was interesting to see a performer of Onca’s caliber letting loose between rounded tables and a relatively tight space of floor between the back windows and bar. Memorable for me was the tongue and cheek playfulness in both the movement of Onca’s dancing and her multiple engagements with those in attendance. Her impromtu physical banter with individuals and then seemless return to rythmic hip sways and fairy like floating gallops through the air reminded me a bit of Hampton Roads drag performer, India Raquel.
With my date having now arrived we migrated from the bar over to the side tables having seen a couple relinquish their seats. Nadira, previously in festive promoter gear, emerged from the back ready to perform with scarfs in hand and wearing embellished linens. With a radiant ear to ear smile, Nadira gave to the audience two freeform numbers highlighted by table top twists and dance improvisations reacting seamlessly to the labyrinthine environment created by the tables and couches and between the bar and back wall. The physical power in her dance was impressive and from later conversations I’ve had with Nadira, is one of the traits stressed to students at her Seven Cities Dance studio in Hampton. I met again with Nadira a few days later at her studio to further interview her, again when not somehow eased by her into exchanges about love and loss. She’s a woman building a brand and trying to find a balance between the business end, mainly promoting, and still finding time to dance. It’s my hope that she finds time. Her gift for dance is one that should be shared often with Hampton Roads.
FOR MORE INFO ON NADIRA & SEVEN CITIES TRIBAL DANCE STUDIO VISIT: sevencitiesdance.com
757E Zine is a bi-monthly music, arts, and culture magazine dedicated to local musicians and artists who are not afraid to push boundaries. 757E Zine doesn't strive to be "safe" but rather in touch with what is new and unique in Hampton Roads music and art.
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