Get ready for expanding your boundaries and creating new ways of expression with Houston belly dancers Alesha Herrera and Silvia Salamanca. The duo, who go by the names Sahira and Silvia, recently launched their first DVD project together, Spanish Gypsy Passion: A Skirt Choreography for Solo or Duet, with a launch party at Café Byblos.
Known as the "gypsy sisters," Silvia and Sahira have both released several other dance DVDs of their own.
“When we began working together as a duo, about three years ago, we did not have a joint DVD project in mind. But students requested DVDs from us all the time and they are a great learning tool for dancers,” explains Sahira, who performs at a number of restaurants every week and teaches classes. “Silvia has been teaching Spanish-style partner dances for several years now, and it just made sense to release a partner DVD together."
An engineer by qualification and a belly dancer by profession, Sahira takes the stage, putting her hands together in a "namaskar," a movement that has been incorporated in belly dancing by her Indian friend. Belly dancing, one of the oldest forms of dance, with roots in the Middle East, is now being revived by women in the West.
An engineer by qualification and a belly dancer by profession, Sahira takes the stage, putting her hands together in a "namaskar," a movement that has been incorporated in belly dancing by her Indian friend. Belly dancing, one of the oldest forms of dance, with roots in the Middle East, is now being revived by women in the West. She has been studying dance since 2000, focusing mostly on Egyptian as well as American tribal styles (both belly dance).
Silvia graduated from the Conservatory of Mallorca (Spain) with a major in ballet and performed professionally as a featured modern dance soloist in major European festivals and events with the Contemporary Dance Company of the University of Barcelona. She discovered tribal fusion in the USA and developed a unique style through research into her very own Spanish Gypsy and Arabic roots. Her love for belly dance blended with her passion for flamenco fired her up to create a DVD that could reach out to this multicultural city.
“What is exciting about the DVD is that there are really few people in the world that teach anything related with this dance form and this is the first of its kind in fully teaching a Zambra Mora partner (that is woman with woman) dance," Silvia says.
Silvia and Sahira started working together as a duo in a modern fusion context and have been taking their shared dance backgrounds of Middle Eastern and modern, with Spanish dance history, and fusing them together into a new spin on ancient folkloric dances.
“She and I both travel internationally to teach and perform, and we thought this choreography would be well received in the workshop circuit,” Sahira says.
The crowd of 200-plus gathered at the café received a taste of something more than just a release party. The event was a spectacular series of dance performances by student and professionals from all around Houston. The evening came to an end with an outstanding performance by the most talked about duo.
The DVD costs $19.95 and can be purchased online.
Ruchi Mukherjee is a lifestyle feature journalist for TV Asia and host of online magazine Lights Camera Action that covers Houston Indo-American society news.