Author's Note: After a hiatus to focus on personal life, your humble CGCE has returned with more ideas and articles for your enjoyment!!
Delirium Tribal bellydancers once again commandeered Columbia’s Art Bar, but this time, they were accompanied by fire eaters, a hula hooper, and breakdancers. Collectively known as Alternacirque, the performers opened their season with a premier on March 26th and a reprisal on April 23rd.
Both shows, which were DJed by Deft Key, opened with a pastiche compiled of individual performances by each of the groups participating in Alternacirque: Delirium Tribal, Fire and Motion, Lunatrix (a hula hoop dancer), and newbies Tribe SK (hip-hop breakdancers whose first Art Bar performance was actually the March 26th show).
The March presentation also featured then-visiting bellydancer Asharah (now a resident of Columbia), who rocked her performance to Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.” That show was narrated by locally-famous guests Aaron Johnson and Grant Robertson, who set the mood with their Victorian-esque garb, accents, and moustaches. Their jokes were cheesy but still silly, evoking chuckles and moans alike from the crowd. The April show was emceed by Kendal Turner, Alternacirque’s usual microphone personality, whose sleek, melodic voice perfectly punctuated the atmosphere.
Of course, the real attraction was the second set, in which each act featured collaborations by members of the various Alternacirque groups. Entitled “Masquerade,” it exuded the mystery, seduction, and drama characteristic of such costumed pageantry. Highlights include:
Fire and Motion’s Nick Dunn, fireeater, and Delirium Tribal’s Amanda DiFeterici, bellydancer, in a fire-and-dance seduction duet;
Delirium Tribal’s Natalie Brown and Amanda DiFeterici, bellydancers, in a cute catfight dance to Oona’s “Tore My Heart,” a song reminiscent of Regina Spektor;
Lunatrix’s Gina Wolfe, hula hooper, and Fire and Motion’s Chris Carney, fire twirler, as a dizzying duo with an LED-enhanced hula hoop and LED baton;
Tribe SK’s Aaron White and Lavell ShaoLin Marshall, breakdancers, as gangsters outdoing one another, complete with knife and meat cleaver;
Natalie Brown’s balancing a flaming candle on her head while dancing; and
Natalie Brown and Fire and Motion’s Nathan Addy, fire player, in a finale featuring flaming poi (balls suspended from chains-in-hand), wrought-iron spiderweb “fans” topped with flames, and a cross-over with Natalie herself engulfing flames in her mouth.
As with any outdoor show, the March performance was fraught with problems, from the chilling weather and wind that threatened to blow the stage set away to the flames that kept going out. There were some missteps and dropped props. But like the professional yet laid-back performance artists that they are, the entertainers continued without hesitation. The April gig was much warmer and went more according to plan. Kudos to all involved for staging the most creative diversion any goth has witnessed in the middle of conservative South Carolina!
If you missed these shows, don’t worry—you’re in luck. Alternacirque can be seen on the fourth Friday of every month at the Art Bar. Performances are held outdoors, weather permitting, and are thus suitable for all ages. Should the show be moved inside, only those 21 years and older are allowed to enter.
The best part is that, except for any tips you graciously give, every single performance is free! Mark your calendars in advance, because nowhere else in Columbia will you find such amazing alternative entertainment in a city that craves yet lacks it!
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