Press Release for “Mosaic” Bellydance Fusion Show – “Evoking Otherworldly Beings”

October 24, 2016Purple Mosaic Poster-01

“Mosaic” Bellydance Fusion Show: “Evoking Otherworldly Beings”

On November 12th, 2016 at 8 p.m., Ishra and Invoketress Dance will be presenting their 11th “Mosaic” Bellydance Fusion Show at the River Run Centre’s Co-operators Hall. This unique production, performed biennially, is a tribute to the ancient Middle Eastern art form – Bellydance – as well as an exploration of the artistry created when Bellydance is combined with other dance traditions.

Bellydance takes many different forms depending on the country and region of origin, and is often performed at celebrations and social gatherings. Ishra & Invoketress Dance strive to respect, learn, and perform traditional styles of Bellydance as well as pushing the envelope by innovating choreographies that fuse Bellydance with other dance genres.

This show, with the theme of “Evoking Otherworldly Beings”, will present pieces that merge Middle Eastern movement with tribal fusion, American Tribal Style, Kandyan, Irish, Dancehall, urban, folkloric, and contemporary dance styles while exploring the theme of transcending our worldly existence. The line-up of special guests performers include some of the best innovators in the Bellydance fusion community including internationally-acclaimed Shades of Araby, award-winning Raqs Mahasti, Irish dance innovators Rinceoiri Celtica, Royal Academy of Dance TCP and Canadian Dance Teachers Associate Crystal Reia, celebrated Middle-Eastern dance artist and musician Roula Said, modern dancer Georgia Simms from Dancetheatre David Earle, and live music from some of the best of Guelph’s local scene including Andrew McPherson and Brent Rowan from twice Juno-nominated Eccodek collaborating with expressive arts therapist and instructor Gary Diggins. Of course, the show will also feature new and innovative performances by Ishra and the Invoketress Dance Troupe.

Come see for yourself on November 12th and enjoy a feast for your eyes and ears. Prepare to be mesmerized. Tickets are available through the River Run box office or through Ishra or any Invoketress Dance troupe member. Limited complimentary tickets available for media. Please contact Ishra by November 4th to have tickets reserved: ishrablanco@yahoo.ca | 519-362-2036.

View the trailer:

 

 

2015 Year in Review

Another year is coming to a close, and again we’d like to pause to take a moment and reflect on some of our highlights from 2015:

  • Troupe dancer Eleanor giving birth to a beautiful baby girl, Emelia Louise on April 30th!
  • Being featured instructors and performers at all 3 events for Flying Dance Festival held by our friend Nico with Flying Dance Company. 3 dates and 3 different locations offering a variety of workshops and performances in a multitude of dance styles. Ishra and Mary taught workshops in traditional Bellydance and Ishra also taught Flamenco.
  • Performing at our troupe dancer Nicole’s wedding on July 3rd. It was a perfect summer’s day. Nicole and Brent wed at a small civil ceremony at city hall and then invited their family and friends back to their new home for a reception. It was a joyous occasion with a delicious potluck spread, live music, and of course, performances by Invoketress. We even surprised the bride with individual solos where each dancer chose a piece of music specifically for the bride, then pulled her up to dance with us which then started the dance party. We love performing at weddings, and it was even more special that it was for one of our own.
  • Participating once again at the Pirate Festival. Invoketress’ other song and dance act, Morveno and the Mermaids Three, performed daily shows while Invoketress provided fun entertainment at the Captain’s Keg.
  • Introducing InvokeTribe! This project was announced with a performance at the Belly Blush Student Recital and Mary started her first regular session of Improvisational Tribal Style Bellydance classes in September. Classes are going strong and we are excited about the growth of this new tribe within the Invoketress umbrella!
  • The final culmination and production of the Guelph Whole ShebangIshra was one of two dance artists chosen to be a part of this first ever artists’ residency at the River Run Centre. September 26th saw the final production of 3 years worth of artistic collaboration.
  • Performing live with Eccodek at the Guelph Jazz Festival on September 19th. It was a night of intense jams with undeniable electricity between the Invoketress dancers, the musicians, and the crowd. Check out the videos of these amazing performances: “Voices Have Eyes”, “Red, White and Mali”, “Bizuru“.
  • Being invited to perform at the Shades of Araby 10th Anniversary Show in November. We have been good friends with Valizan and Shades over the years, inviting them as regular guest performers at our Bellydance fusion shows and even at this year’s Belly Blush. This was a doubly special occasion as it is one of the very rare times the ENTIRE Invoketress troupe performed at once (this usually only happens once a year at the Belly Blush). We were thrilled and honoured to be part of their stellar line-up and to celebrate their milestone!
  • Ishra obtaining her Kelani Dance instructor certification in November! Ishra can now teach this Polynesian-inspired dance form certified under Canfit Pro.
  • Ishra going to Sri Lanka for some much needed and deserved R&R and of course, some additional dance training and inspiration!
  • Other notable gigs: United Way’s 75th Anniversary Gala, Relay for Life University of Guelph, Brantford International Villages, Spooky Souk, Guelph Multicultural Festival, Sarnia Greek Festival and London Greek nights, weddings, Diwali Festival, the 2 Rivers Festival, Hope House Night Street Fair, Caribbean Dreams just to name a few.
  • In typical fashion, Mary and Ishra will be closing off the year and ringing in the new while performing at a New Year’s Eve party!

We want to thank everyone who we have been a part of our dance journey: students, teachers, dance colleagues, audience members, supporters, and appreciators. It is more than a hobby for us, but rather a sisterhood bound deeply for our love for this art form with this dance ingrained in our daily lives. Wishing everyone an artistic, creative, and fruitful year in 2016!

Yours in dance.

The whole Invoketress troupe at Shades of Araby 10th Anniversary show.
The whole Invoketress troupe at Shades of Araby 10th Anniversary show.
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The white swan and her flock: Nicole and Brent’s wedding.
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Morveno and the Mermaids Three, another Invoketress project, performed daily at the Pirate Festival.

 

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Invoketress captivates live with Eccodek at the Guelph Jazz Festival.
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Invoketress (minus Minerva and Natalie) at Nicole and Brent’s wedding.
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Mary’s new ITS classes launched in September.
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Ishra performs at Caribbean Dreams.
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Nicole, Siyobin, Mary, and Diana at the United Way 75th Anniversary Gala.
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Siyobin, Ishra, and Mary at Flying Dance Festival – Royal City Park, Guelph.
Ishra and her signature notebook in Sri Lanka. Undoubtedly jotting down big plans for 2016!
Ishra and her signature notebook in Sri Lanka. Undoubtedly jotting down big plans for 2016!

 

 

 

Belly Blush 2016-01

Belly Blush Student Recital 2015 – Press Release

Ishra & Invoketress Dance’s Annual “Belly Blush” Student Recital

There’s no such thing as down time for Ishra & Invoketress Dance. In the midst of a busy performance season, they are hosting their annual “Belly Blush” Student Recital. This year marks some significant expansion in the Ishra & Invoketress Dance brand. Ishra will be presenting performances from 6 levels of classes – her most ever; a new Children’s Bellydance class taught by Ishra’s daughter, Siyobin; and the unveiling of a new arm of Invoketress called “InvokeTribe” which will be led by senior troupe dancer Mary and will focus on Improvisational Tribal Style Bellydance.

The Belly Blush will take place on Saturday, June 20th at 7:30pm at the Guelph Curling Club (816 Woolwich Street Guelph). Tickets are $13 advanced/$16 at the door/Children $6 and can be purchased at Wild Rose Consignment (23 Macdonnell Street). The event will also include a silent auction with an array of goods and services donated from our generous community, as well as a cash bar.

For over 10 years, this annual Bellydance recital has been a celebration of the female soul and a tribute to this ancient art form. Bellydance is a dance which takes many different forms dependent on the country and region, often performed at celebrations and social gatherings. Ishra & Invoketress Dance strive to respect and perform traditional styles of Middle Eastern Bellydance while creating innovative choreographies that fuse Bellydance with other dance genres.

Want to learn more about this dance form? Come out on June 20th and enjoy an evening of enchantment featuring all of Ishra’s beautiful, blushing students, Ishra, Invoketress Dance, as well as special guest performers! Prepare to be mesmerized.

Complimentary tickets available for all media. Please contact Ishra to have tickets reserved: ishrablanco@yahoo.ca.

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InvokeTribe Announcement!

InvokeTribe promo V.2

InvokeTribe is an exciting new project under the Invoketress umbrella. This is a group of dancers who will come together through a shared love of Improvisational Tribal Style (ITS)* bellydance. This group will be led by Invoketress senior troupe dancer and choreographer Mary Wyga who has had years studying American Tribal Style (ATS) as well as being a member of the ITS/Tribal Fusion troupe Tribe Aurealis. InvokeTribe will combine existing ATS and ITS vocabulary and formations while developing their own unique versions, creating a fresh new style in the genre of group improvisational tribal style dance. Over time, InvokeTribe dancers will embody a shared vocabulary which will enable them to create spontaneous dance creations – art on the spot.

InvokeTribe will be unveiled with a performance at the Belly Blush Student Recital on June 20, 2015. Classes are intended to commence in September, 2015.

For Mary’s dance biography, please visit the Biographies section.

For more information, please contact Mary: mary.wyga@gmail.com.

*Improvisational Tribal Style (ITS) belly dance, or ITS, is a combination-based form of Improvisational Tribal Fusion dance. It relies on a shared vocabulary of movements, each initiated by a distinct cue movement. The leader initiates the cue movement, then a short, choreographed combination, or Combo, is performed. These Combos can be done in any order, and none of the dancers know ahead of time what moves the leader will cue next. Improvisational Tribal Style is a specific style or school of Tribal bellydance. The term was first coined in 2006 by Amy Sigil of UNMATA to describe her Improv vocabulary, as it evolved away from ATS American Tribal Style. (Similar styles include American Tribal Style, Synchronized Group Improv, Tribal Group Improv, American Improv Tribal, Group Improv Tribal.) – Wikipedia

Invoketress Logo & Title Tribe copy

Audrea & Nageeb’s Wedding

We absolutely love performing at weddings. On April 5th, 2014, we were so proud and honoured to perform at one of our own at Invoketress Dance Apprentice Audrea and her now-husband, Nageeb’s wedding.

Audrea’s history with Ishra goes way back…back to 2003 when she decided to take up bellydance classes with now-Invoketress dancer Mary for “funsies.” Who knew that that was the beginning of a long-term love affair with the dance form for both girls. After a few years of Audrea and Mary taking classes together and progressing up the levels, Audrea ended up moving to Hamilton for work. Sad for the girls, but it did lead to the development of her relationship with Nageeb. Audrea continued taking bellydance classes with other teachers over the years, keeping up with her technique and expanding her horizons with new instructors, but ultimately, Ishra and the Guelph girls felt like dance-home. In 2013, she made the decision that driving to Guelph for lessons from Hamilton was worth it.  Now, she’s back with Mary and Ishra and some of her other former dance-mates and getting to know some of the newer girls in the Invoketress Apprentice program.

So, when Audrea wanted some bellydancers to perform at her wedding, the girls were quick to say, “Of course!!” Ishra and Invoketress have performed at a number of weddings, but nothing compared to the high energy and pumped up crowd as this one. After the wedding party was introduced, the dancers led the bride and groom in a Zaffe to a house on its feet, waving their napkins, full of cheering and zaghareets. The energy was electrifying. Soon, the dance floor was full of friends and family, dancing and cheering and lifting Audrea and Nageeb up in the air. This lasted for about 4 or 5 songs before dinner commenced and the official performances occurred.

The girls were in agreement that this was the most lively and dance-friendly wedding ever. Nothing is better than performing for an engaged and appreciative crowd, one where we are able to connect culturally and musically , sharing smiles and shimmies alike with guests. At one point, a boy came out carrying and playing a dombek! The dance floor was never empty and there was a great mix of Middle Eastern and Western music for all the guests.

We were thrilled to be part of such a joyous occasion for one of our very special dancers. The day was full of love and happiness and it was such a treat to serve one of the purposes of Bellydance: Celebration.

Minerva and Ishra at the wedding ceremony.

Invoketress’ Minerva and Ishra at the wedding ceremony.

Natalie enters during the Zeffe.
Natalie enters during the Zeffe.

These ladies know how to start a party!
Ishra, Mary and Minerva sure know how to start a party!
Photo by Livingface Photography.
Photo by Livingface Photography.
With the beautiful bride!
With the beautiful bride!

Happy 40th, Ishra!

On July 31st, Ishra celebrated her 40th birthday! The Invoketress ladies planned a surprise birthday party and performance in Cindy’s lush backyard garden. Blindfolded, Ishra was led to her special chair of honour as the ladies emerged one by one to deliver a special solo just for her. Last to perform with Ishra’s daughter, Sisi. The ladies also gifted Ishra with a beautiful hardcover book of dance memoirs from the the beginning of her dance journey. A lovely, summer evening filled with music, laughter, and food was had. View more photos from the magical evening here.

~ M.W.

Ishra and the Invoketress ladies (and some mini-ladies!).
Ishra and the Invoketress ladies (and some mini-ladies!).

Ishra’s “Top 40 Under 40!” Luncheon and Article!

Congratulations to our teacher and fearless leader, Ishra, for being honoured as one of the Guelph Mercury’s “Top 40 Under 40.” There was a lovely luncheon for all the winners on June 19th at the Guelph Youth Music Centre to celebrate all of the amazing achievements of the nominees.

Mary and Ishra at the luncheon.
Mary and Ishra at the luncheon.
Ishra with all the other amazing nominees.
Ishra with all the other amazing nominees.
Special insert in the Guelph Mercury.
Special insert in the Guelph Mercury.
Ishra's profile at the event.
Ishra’s profile at the event.

We are so blessed to have such a talented and ground-breaking instructor right here in Guelph.  Ishra, here’s to another 40 years!!

~ M.W.

 

 

 

 

Spring Fever

If you’ve been following our Blog or our Facebook Page, you’ll know that this spring has been chock full of performances! They all lead up to our highlight of the season – our Belly Blush Student Recital!  Do you have your ticket, yet? You can purchase them in advance from the Blue Ribbon in downtown Guelph or from any one of our lovely Invoketress ladies!

On Friday, June 7th, Natalie, Minerva, Mary and Ishra had the lovely opportunity to provide some entertainment to the Relay for Life, Cambridge walkers. Relays for Life are held all over to raise money for much needed cancer research.

On Saturday, June 8th, the ladies were blessed with a rain-free Guelph Multicultural Festival for the first time in years!  We were also honoured to be the Saturday night show-closers.  What a wonderful, receptive audience we had.  Be sure to catch some video highlights from our performance here.

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The lovely ladies at the Guelph Multicultural Festival: Paula, Nicole, Cindy, Mary, Ishra, Minerva, Tova, Natalie.

This Saturday, June 15, catch some of the Invoketress ladies as they participate in a celebration of the Speed and Eramosa Rivers at Guelph’s 2 Rivers Festival celebration! They will be accompanying a drumming procession down the river so you don’t want to miss this! Catch them at The Boathouse, 5pm.

Also, this Friday and Saturday, Mary and Natalie will be attending some workshops from some of Ontario’s finest instructors at Rakfest, hosted by Guelph’s Hiba. They will also be performing at the Saturday night hafla. Check out the amazing offering of workshops! You can still register before noon, Friday, June 14th!

Lots still to come this summer….so stay tuned!

~ M.W.