Middle-Eastern Night at the Grog

 There’s a definite feeling of spring in the air. Temps and precipitation to the contrary, the air is softer, there’s more mud than snow, and the trees are starting to bud. I no longer feel like hibernating under a fleece blanket...in fact, I feel like getting out and doing things! And what better way to ease out of hibernation than with "Middle-Eastern Night at the Grog"? This afternoon’s show was just the ticket for me to start feeling like I’m part of society again.

Organized by Maria O’Connor, of Ancient Fire Henna, this is a twice-yearly fundraiser held at the Grog Restaurant in Newburyport, MA (today’s proceeds benefit Greenpeace). The show takes place in the downstairs bar, which has a nice tile floor and wide stage, and draws dancers from as far away as Rhode Island.

Many of New England’s finest dancers donated their time, energy, and talent for the cause, and all styles were represented today - from American cabaret and American Tribal Style to fusion to folklore. I truly enjoyed them all. But I have to say that the highlights for me personally were Laura Blake and Kaylin, respectively tribal fusion and American Cabaret dancers - vastly different styles, yet their performances had so much in common. Both interpreted their music flawlessly (respectively, “I Could Have Danced All Night” and an Egyptian song whose name escapes me*) with emotion and presence. Both wore simple elegant costumes, with no props. It was fascinating to watch. Perhaps the two will collaborate one day.

Kudos and zaghareets to Maria O’Connor for pulling this together, and thanks to all the performers for their great shows. If you missed today’s event, it sounds like you will have another opportunity in the fall. Watch the BDNE calendar for details.

*One minor gripe - I would have loved a program. Several dancers used music I would have liked to have, or at least tracked down on iTunes. And then I would have Kaylin's music choice. While Maria did an excellent job MC'ing, providing the audience with great information about the dancers, including web sites, it would have been nice to have that info on a piece of paper I could take home, because I have a mind like a sieve and, in the words of the great Nora Ephron, I remember nothing.