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"Colors of Tribal"
Show of Tribal D.A.CH. Verein
Juli, 29th 2011 in Elsoff

The Show Interviews


Interview with Megha Gavin

by Marcel Bieger

Would you be so kind to tell us something about your life before FCBD?

Before I started dancing I spent a lifetime in choir and theatre.  From a young age I new that I loved performing and felt very comfortable on the stage.  I started dance classes at the age of 4 or so and then moved into singing in the choir and musical theatre in middle-school before getting fully immersed in drama/theatre in high school.  I went to college on a theatre scholarship but didn't finish out my degree.  Life got in the way and before I new it I was working a regular full-time job with little time left for theatrical pursuits.
Megha Gavin
And maybe what is more important, how did you find your way to tribal style/ATS. Did you ever dream of becoming a member of FCBD?

In my mid-twenties I moved from Alabama to San Francisco.  Once there I started out on a quest to do all of the things I had always wanted to do in my life but couldn't because of growing up in Alabama.  For some reason, I had bellydancing in the back of my head.  I saw some photos of a bellydancer at a middle-eastern restaurant one day and though, "I want to do that!"  
I started asking around about where to take classes and the name that kept coming up over and over was "FatChanceBellyDance."  So, I called the number an asked if I could come check out a class to see if it was something I thought I could do and the person on the phone graciously said yes.  I went to the class to watch it, and before it was over I was in love with it and new that I had to do it. I joined the classes right away and never stopped.  I didn't know at the time that the person on the phone that day was Carolena and that she was a visionary who had created a style of dance that had spread across the world.
I didn't know one style of bellydance from another.  I just got lucky and ended up at the right place at the right time.
Would you please explain your specific role or position inside FCBD?

I studied with FCBD for about 2 1/2 years before moving back to the south-eastern United States.  When I moved back to Alabama I told Carolena that I didn't want to stop dancing and she put me in contact with a couple of girls in Birmingham, AL who had taken a class with her a while back.  I danced with them for a while before moving to New Orleans, LA.  There, I had no-one to dance with.  I was asked to teach a class at a women's health club so I called Carolena up and told her about it.  She gave me her blessings and told me she would support me in any way she could.  So I started teaching and put a group together to dance with.  That was the beginning of Deyvani Dance Company.  It turned out that I was the only person who had left her classes and moved on to teach and perform ATS exactly as she had taught it to me.  (She was impressed by that, but I never thought of any other way to do it.  I just did what my teacher told me to.)

So, one day she called me up and said she thought we should work together as partners, and I became the first non-SF based member of FCBD.  That was back in 2003.  Since that time I have traveled the world with her teaching and performing as well traveling and performing with Devyani Dance Company which is now based in Birmingham, AL.

Have you ever danced to live music/a live band? What kind of experiences have you made with this and what kind of advice would you give a young dancer or tribe?

We have been fortunate to perform with Helm many times, and here in Birmingham we often perform with a local group called "Out of the Darj."  It's such a thrill to dance to live music because you have the sense of creating something together each time you perform.  It can be challenging to find musicians who are comfortable playing full sets of songs that are appropriate for ATS in the sense of time signatures and tempo, so we definitely like to get in a lot of rehearsal time together before performing live.  For other dancers interested in performing with live musicians I would suggest having good, open dialogue about what your needs are in the way of music, but remember never to micro-manage the musicians.
Homepage Megha Gavin and Devyani:
Photos ©: 1 Kristina Adams, 2 Jaki Hawthorne, 4 Debbie Rowan, 5 Herman Leonard, 6 Leena Vaswani
Megha and DeAnna in Pushkar
In the light of the worldwide huge success of the FCBD and you being a part of it, has there ever been a moment, when you felt that this weight was to heavy for you – and how did you make this feeling go away, maybe you have some advice for our readers.

The only struggle I've had is trying to balance my family life with the traveling career.  I have loved being such a big part of spreading ATS across the globe and preserving the integrity of such a beautiful dance form.
I'll never forget my first official performance with FCBD at Rakasah in 2003.  I had one night to learn two choreographies and perform them alongside my idols.  I was nervous but the whole time I was thinking, "I'm dancing with FCBD!"  Also, doing the first few international workshops with Carolena was a huge rush. And of course, filming Vol. 7 which included the new moves Devyani created that were accepted into the FCBD format.

Since music is a vital part of dancing, how do you choose and select the right assortment of music tracks for a performance or any other event. 

We try to keep the sets cohesive by using all or mostly either traditional sounding music, or modern sounding music so that there is a nice flow to the set. I'm a traditionalist in a lot of ways so I'm happy using the same songs over and over for a long time, but my troupe is keen on trying new music all the time so they help keep it fresh.  Of course, we mostly follow the lead of FCBD in music selections.  Other than that I just like to try to keep a good dose of Indian sounding music in the mix which speaks to my personal aesthetic and family identity.
And on the other side, what were your most joyous, happy and fulfilling moments at FCBD?

I think Carolena asking me to be her business partner is one of the most exciting things that's ever happened to me.

It should always be considered a colaboration and each artist should respect the other's creative vision.  After all, dancers can't dance without the music, so you want your musicians to be happy and want to play for you.
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