Friday, November 10, 2017

And now...Nina!

Nina Brewton has been dancing with MDTC since our first production in 2003.  Here she performs a Turkish Rom dance. (Photo by Gary Heller.)

As far as I can remember as a young child I was very drawn to old movie musicals of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. I would watch TV with the volume very low so my parents wouldn't know I was up past my bedtime. I don't remember going to elementary school or doing my homework, but I do remember doing a school talent show, tap dancing to "There's No Business Like Show Business" in my sequined costume, with feathers in my hair like a Ziegfeld Follies show girl. (I also sang “Silent Night” in Spanish!) My mother used to say (jokingly), "I'll bet you she'll be in show business when she grow up!" She was right! Right after my two-year full time dance scholarship studying ballet, jazz, modern, and African, I performed professionally in music videos and an Actors' Equity production of the King and I.  I also performed with several Polynesian dance companies touring the east coast from Maine to South Carolina, performing Hawaiian, Tahitian, Maori, and Samoan dances.
  One day Adriana Rosa asked me if I would like to see her Middle Eastern dance instructor perform. I went and I enjoyed the show.  When a beautiful dancer performed a solo, I turned to Adriana and said, “I want to dance just like her.” Adriana replied, “That's Samara, my teacher!” And so began my involvement with Middle Eastern dance.
  What surprised me about studying and performing Middle Eastern dance was being able to use my previous dance training. I was able to use Ballet for my posture and keeping centered through my core; Jazz for isolation, and even Hawaiian for hip figure-eights and hand ripples.
  It's hard for me to say what folklore of Middle East I'm most drawn to -- they each have a different feel and personality. I like Khaleegi for its relaxed sultriness, Saidi for its fun and playfulness, and Gypsy for its fire and sassiness.
  For me, the challenge of being a performing artist at this point is getting enough sleep. Besides my job and personal life, it is hard rehearsing until late night and waking up early the next morning to go do a show. It's easy to get injured when you're tired.
   Mosaic has enhanced my experience as a dancer through the stories in our repertory. I love being able to use my expression and emotions to portray different characters.
  On a final note, I also loved watching and play-acting scenes from old classic black and white movies. I don't know why, but when I think of old movies, Bette Davis comes to my mind: "Peetah, where is the lettah!"

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