SIRENS FEST 2021- SATURDAY, AUGUST 7TH
1. Jessica Yuen-Benevides No matter what has come before or after, no Sirens Fest would ever be true without your Opening Ceremonies. They ensure that the shows are the best they can be. And your dancing and ritual is the perfect way to help bring everyone together for the journey ahead. Your costume and accoutrements were simply perfect, not to mention gorgeous. With your dance, those that have gone before, truly got their due.
2. Treja McClish You were simply MAGNIFICENT in my magic act. You were the key to making it the best it could be. And the fact is, my expectations were BEYOND exceeded. Thank you for simply being the best part of the illusion!
3. Gayle Wayne : Thank you for bringing your experience with Khaleegi Dance to Sirens Fest. It was most enlightening and lovely to watch. Well done.
4. Ravanna: Marilyn Lane , I always love seeing you early on in a Sirens show, because you always bring such a great feeling of warmth and casual happiness to the audience. Your gold costume, your change-ups on the zils, and your choice of "Misrilou" as music all worked...just like your act always does. Great performance!
5. Luna Dance Collective: Having seen and enjoyed Joey and CC perform on the Sirens Stage on several occasions, it's now that much more fun to see even more members of the troupe. It was great to see the use of mirror imagery and the journey from slow to a fast pace. Zil work was great. Please come back, because we want more!
6. Jewels of Beladi: Pam Svetlik , Jeanette Woods , Debbie Green , Wendy Calvi , Mari Lancaster , Yvonne Atkins, Wendy Birky , Julia Roberts...much like your costumes, your presence and dance routine was pure gold. And I LOVED your cane routine. Indeed, "effervescent" was an understatement in describing your group dynamic. "Spectacular!" is also good!
7. Evona: I LOVED your green and gold ensemble. And your performance is a perfect example of what helps to make Sirens Fest the best it can be when showcasing true talent. For it's indeed true that you have talent...ALL true! BRAVO!
8. Sister Sirens: Your group name was fitting, as you danced with all the resonance of the Sirens of Greek myth. Irresistible, capable of melting any heart. Your veil routine reminded me of the artistry of Javanese puppet theater, where two dimensions of a surface is made into three dimensions. Out of art, you created life. Nothing less that incredible.
9. Nelli: Cornelia Van Aken I love your melange of styles, It just shows how much of an expert you are at in so many forms of world dance, and to see you perform it at Sirens Fest is a privilege. May we all be privileged to see more in the future!
10. Raks Jawhara: Sudeep Johnson , Lanah Hotchkiss Kaylene Keller , Joann O'Grady ...you truly lived up to your group name, for you were ALL shining dance jewels! With the black & silver costumes, and the pink veils, I had a feeling of dancers constantly seeking, exploring the cosmos...let us hope your continue to share your discoveries with everyone at Sirens because you are ALL most welcome!
11. Trifecta Collective: You are a worthy offshoot of Sister Sirens. I loved your work with the canes, and your sync with each other was top-notch. I understand you have been dancing for 6 years...well, here's to 6 more, and hopefully to see you again each of those 6 years...AND BEYOND! You're all awesome!
12. Qamar: Your fluidity and grace reminded me of ancient tales of sea nymphs in the Aegean Sea. Not bad for a group that learned their choreography through Zoom. Taryn Lee , your students did you PROUD!
13. Jeremiah M. Soto and Lindsey LouWho: The fact is, Sirens Fest wouldn't have been the same without you two. I used "camaraderie" to describe your dynamic, but a better word is "synchronous"... not to mention "love". It is so heartening to see such a stellar drummer and wonderful dancer that can create true magic together. You ARE the Solace of Sirens Fest, for you made us all feel the love. DON'T. EVER. CHANGE. The world NEEDS you two.
14. Alchemy: Treja McClish , Natalie Wallace Sabrina Schwartz Avalon Natalie Elbaroda ..LADIES! Your costumes, the moves, the attitudes...it was OVERWHELMINGLY good! I mean, why WOULDN'T the audience give you so many well-deserved compliments? Because you're all bad-asses! Duh..
15. Niusha Dani Pence : There were moments in your routine, the way your veil fluttered in the breeze, I thought of a soaring eagle: powerful, majestic, at home on the ground or in the sky. Your dancing just transcends on so many levels. You seemed so at peace. I thank you for the joyful peace you brought to me in watching you.
16. Neshee Dolu: Your piece was a stunning tribute to those that could not be with you there on that day, including Sara L Shrapnell . I don't have a shred of doubt that she would be absolutely and fiercely proud of your performance at Sirens Fest, the way all of us were. You've lived up to her teachings and more, and I pray you decide to come back to Sirens again, and again, and again!
17. Jewels of the North: This troupe gave a TERRIFIC performance, and knew how to persevere against things like wind blowing veils everywhere. They took it all in stride like true professionals and truer performers. A marvelous performance.
18. Laura Leyl Bellydance : Where do I start? You were so vibrant, beautiful, a crowd-pleaser, a transformative dance performance. I think it's safe to say that your approach of bringing the vintage into the modern worked EXTREMELY well! So well done!
19. Serpent Sirens: Tatseena Raqs and company...from the change-ups of slow to fast to slow...sharp fluid movement...like a serpent, it was all very hypnotic. And your combined sense of balance with the swords was simply AMAZING! You're all fantastic!
20. Zia: Sherry Brier and company, a big THANK YOU as always for bringing your light to SIrens Fest. It's no wonder you have such popularity throughout the Bay Area and more. People need the brilliance and warmth that your lovely dancing brings into their lives!
21. The Dancers of Nyx: Shannon Burla, Orei Parker, Erlinda Tulioc, Leia Volare, Monica Enriquez Hedman, Boots Miller and Jeanne Fogler WOW. This continuous project just evolves in all the best ways. Such ritual, with the white eyes...it all serves to look deep into all of us, wondering if we are worthy of such a gorgeously unearthly presence. And the swords...there was such ceremony...I feel like we were in the presence of BEYOND greatness. I humbly thank you for continuing to over-impress with your creations.
22. Moheet Solhova: Laura Henderson and company, it has been WAY TOO LONG since we've seen you grace the Sirens stage, and it was a BLAST to have you back. I never tire of seeing your energy and direction onstage, and I'm sure I'm not the only one that would love to see it continue in the future!
23. Alisa Greer: Your purple and white costume was stunning, and you graced the outdoor stage with all the poise and lovely elegance you always have in your videos. It is a privilege to know you and here's to seeing you perform more, for you are one of a kind, in all the best ways.
24. Black Diamond Bellydance: Heather Bertolini, Nina Paone Caputo, Jana Kay Zeibig, Karen Anderson...My heart skipped four beats upon seeing all of you ascend the stage! When seeing you perform, it felt like all was right with the world. Things made sense. The fact is, your tremendous dance performance was a much-needed salve to all that people are going through today. Those zils and swords routines felt like seeing re-discovered treasures. For all of YOU are treasures!
25. Joweh: TerriAnne Gutierrez, Nicole Fortuna, Christina Atencio, Lorena Mengotti Gies, Jessica Yuen-Benevides, Treja McClish, Leila Bazzani and Elisabeth...I described the unique dynamic of Joweh as like that of a flower opening and closing. Each one a beautiful petal of a much greater whole, a whole composed of a undeniably unique, powerful and elegant soul. Or souls. You dance and relate to each other like no other, and for that, you are all truly MAGNIFICENT!
26. Suspended Between Worlds Jarek Piotr Tatarek and Jessica Yuen-Benevides: Jarek, your guitar playing really took us to an alternative universe, my friend. And with Jessica's dance, one could almost hear the ancient voices crying out from the beyond. "Atlantica" is a most worthy name befitting a tremendous song. Keep it going!
And of course, one cannot forget Raman Osman , Jeremiah M. Soto, Susu Pampanin, Dan Cantrell and his band, along with the divine Leila Farid giving us a SPECTACULAR LIVE DRUMMING AND DANCE SET!! What a way to end Saturday night!
But of course, there's still Sunday...
SIRENS FEST 2021 - SUNDAY, AUGUST 8TH
1. AlQamar Dance Ensemble: Pauline Reneé Persichilli and Janessa Lynna...You two were a beautiful way to start off the Sunday performances. I loved the mirrored effect you both achieved with your costume and choreography. Watching you is like watching a beautiful watercolor come to life. The way you both ebbed and flowed like water was just gorgeous. So fantastically done.
2. MaShuqa Mira Murjan: With your 45+ years teaching bellydance, is it any wonder that you made transitioning from Isis Wings to zils look so easy? Not to mention look 120% skilled and beautiful doing it? You do everything with such a practiced ease, you are indeed a wonder to behold.
3. Desert Heat Dancers: Your motto is to HAVE FUN? Well, you not only lived up to that, you went beyond by causing US, the audience to have fun as well! And with even greater explosions of color than the last time! All of it serves to make Sirens look forward to your performances more and more. Don't ever stop!
4. Aya: There was one moment in your routine when you were wrapped in your costume and it reminded me of the famous painting by Gustav Klimt called "The Kiss". A moment of shared intimacy and art. But then, that only makes sense from a dance so terrifically and artfully done. BRAVO!
5. Samra El Helwa: Vanessa Kettler You wanted to show the sword as an instrument of violence and an expression of beauty, and in both endeavors you succeeded brilliantly. Your use of occasionally chaotic music juxtaposed with your usual fluid grace really melded well, and I felt privileged to witness it. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
6. Ashera: Based on your approach in creating new ideas and innovations in your dance, during quarantine, I would say your dance performance on Sunday was a true testament to how you are a most creative individual and that the world needs to see you more!
7. House of Inanna: Niffer Leigh, Maggie Norris, Petra Carnivorous Bunny Pino and everyone...I loved the slow steady sword work, and LOVED the seque to "Cherry Bomb" by The Runaways! You took a classic and made it classic AGAIN with your performance! So well-crafted!
8. Eyes on Fire: It was an absolute pleasure to see you back at Sirens and your costuming, ritual and dance worked SO well! We hope you continue to come back to Sirens to exhibit more of your creativity, because it needs to be seen!!
9. Julie Miyasaki: The turquoise in your outfit was gorgeous and I just loved the exuberant energy you brought to the stage. You kept me and the audience engaged the whole time, and left us wanting more. It's always so nice to see a professional and dedicated artist at work!
10. Hip Logic: I am so happy to see that #troupeontour is back and swinging. Based on what I saw on Sunday, you deserve all the kudos that you have accumulated in the past, in CA and Hawaii. And most of all, Thank YOU for being at Sirens Fest and being one of the many key reasons why Sirens is the success it is. We couldn't do it without you!
11. Elizabeth Strong: Not only was Sirens Fest privileged to have you as an instructor again this year, as in past years, but you also graced the stage once again this year, as in past years. And in both cases, you went BEYOND any and all expectations, as in past years. We at Sirens are EXTREMELY lucky to have you return year after year. Here's to many more to come! THANK YOU!
12. Shana: Laura Nash, you said in your intro that you believe that dancing has deep therapeutic effects on the mind, body and soul. Well, you PROVED that true...for your performance in turn was the therapy needed for us, the AUDIENCE'S, minds, bodies and souls. Thank you so much for your beautiful benevolence in art.
13. Troupe Dhyanis: Dhyanis Carniglia, Loren Tamkin, Alice Shaw, Carolina Perez-Venero...the bright blues of your lovely costumes were like the sky. A wonderful feeling of airiness that makes your dance routines such a pleasure to watch. Thank you for coming back to Sirens to share your lovely artistry!
14. Stelina: You, your costume and your dance were the PERFECT outlet for all the voices singing "Chabuca Limena". I would daresay that Chabuca Granda would be most flattered at your tribute, for it was a worthy one. And what better theme than seeing loved ones again? So well done!
15. Dancers of Janan: TerriAnne Gutierrez, Lorena Mengotti Gies, Janet Molinari, Theresa Jade (Pam Svetlik) and Charlette Rose Epifanio LADIES! You brought the house down! With your versatility in your routining and dancing, it was beyond fabulous to watch all of you make that stage YOURS! SO MUCH RESPECT TO ALL OF YOU!!!!
16. Terra Crowl: I loved the Egyptian elements in your dance. In fact, there were several points where the dance, your costuming, make-up made you seem like a hieroglyphic figure BROUGHT TO LIFE. And with that, you carried all the wisdom and art of the ages. A brilliant showcase of art.
17. Maddy Anderson: Madeline, you have come such a long way, and it was such a pleasure to see how much you have evolved in the intervening years. More and more, you have become a greater performer and dancer, and I can only hope to be lucky enough to see you perform again many more times in the future. I cannot wait to see what you come up with next!
18. Wildcard Bellydance: Seba Blanchard and Kristen Duerr. MY GOD. To see WB again onstage LIVE....it was too much at one point. It was so overjoying to see this always supremely talented troupe grace the stage again, and giving it their all. Their all able to resonate for a long time to come! The flowers, the costuming, the moves...it was a reunion of the heart that was so sorely needed for a long time. YOU LADIES ARE AWESOME!
19. Tatheer: Your costume was absolutely stunning and I loved your choice of theme, for it is something that so many can relate to. I have always loved the way you tell stories with your dancing. Such a great act!
20. Ante Up Bellydance: Natalie Wallace, Gwyndolyn Starling and Sabrina Schwartz Avalon...this was the first time you had appeared in a live show setting since 2019? Well, from the looks of it, none of you have missed a step! The three of you were SUCH a welcome sight on that stage. Y'all are always one of the acts that make any Sirens event better by your presence! Thank you so much for coming back!
21. Qabila Folkdance Co: I loved the Mission Statement of your foundation and your Bay Area Chapter's performance illustrated it well. Thank you so much for sharing your art with everyone at Sirens Fest. You are MOST appreciated!
22. Elizabeth Strong Troupe: The performance by this troupe was a real testament to Elizabeth's abilities as an instructor. And this troupe clearly took her teachings to heart and soul, for that is what this performance was filled with...heart and soul! Very well done!
23. Whiskeyed Hips: Nicole Fortuna and Christina Atencio I consider myself beyond lucky to have been fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of this act in rehearsal. At that point, I knew that in your hands, this performance was bound to be a brilliant one at Sirens Fest. AND I WAS RIGHT! You were both stupendous and deserve ALL the kudos!
24. Vince Delgato and Susu Pampanin It was an absolute delight and education to see the man who had taught Susu how to drum, playing a duet with her at Sirens Fest! And all from a man whose career has been going for 77 YEARS!!! Much, MUCH respect for such an astonishing man!
25. Phillip Ruise and Susu Pampanin: Here's to the man who single-handedly made a stage backdrop a truly astonishing piece of art. And then went and danced on that piece of art. The definition of auteur! And with Susu's drumming to back him up, how could he go wrong? (Short answer : he can't!)
26. Asterism: So, this troupe is composed of dancers from all over the country? They danced as if they had been together their ENTIRE LIVES!! The sync, the movements, it all gelled so precisely. I have no doubt that I was not the only one impressed with this performance. As I have no doubt that any of the audience will continue to be impressed if Sirens is lucky enough to have this troupe back to grace the Sirens stage!
27. Jill Parker and Little Egypt: This routine was created ENTIRELY over Zoom in 3 different time zones? It just goes to show what can happen when innovation, passion, determination and talent all coincide, not to mention a testament to Jill's teaching. PURE GENIUS!!! All my hats are off to you!
So many more THANK YOUs are in order...
To the magnificent Leila Farid, Elizabeth Strong and Jill Parker, THANK YOU for not only taking the time to impart your knowledge and wisdom in workshops, but also gracing the outdoor stage to the delights of our audience. All of you gave Sirens Fest that much more dimension in doing so, and most successfully, I might add (And thank you to Basinah, as well!)
THANK YOU Susu Pampanin for not only your stellar drumming throughout the weekend, but your tireless efforts to make Sirens Fest (and all Sirens events) an exceptional experience.
THANK YOU, Cory Sanford, my partner in crime, whom I shamefully neglected to thank in my closing remarks on Sunday. You have always done such a fantastic great job with the music and sound and this year was no exception. You certainly made my job that much easier!
THANK YOU to all our vendors, among them, Sam's Cafe in Rohnert Park and Dhyanis Carniglia and more!
THANK YOU, The Sirens Board including: TerriAnne Gutierrez, Nicole Fortuna, Radha Romero, Kendra Michelle, Lorena Mengotti Gies, Christina Atencio...(and some guy named Ray...) for all your tireless efforts in bringing this festival together.
THANK YOU Carl Sermon for all the photo and video you took, documenting such a wonderful event all weekend!
And of course, THANK YOU to TerriAnne Gutierrez for coming up with this whole idea in the first place! (And also for allowing me to perform some magic, as well!)
Well, another Sirens Fest is now a wonderful memory. But, there is SO MUCH MORE TO COME! I hope you'll be with us on this continuing journey called Sirens Studio!