Baksana’s dance style got its start with movement vocabulary from Rachel Brice‘s Datura ITS (Improvisational Tribal Style), founded on core concepts developed by Carolena Nericcio‘s ATS (American Tribal Style ®). These concepts center around an improvised style of “lead and follow” dance where one dancer leads by cuing a set of movements for the rest of the group. Today we still dance with some of those original structural and stylistic concepts from Rachel and Carolena with deep gratitude and respect for all their work. However, Baksana’s vocabulary has grown into its own set of combinations with a heavy focus on advanced finger cymbals, and new choreographies are constantly being developed under the direction of Danielle Elizabeth.
Musically, Baksana is directed by Paul Evans (of Portland, OR based groups AnnaPaul and the Bearded Lady, Vagabond Opera, and many many more). Paul, a jazz musician and composer by trade, blends a mix of his original creations with traditional improvisational structures to provide the live music for our sets.
Baksana’s music, dance, and costumes are more broadly inspired by Mid-East, Asian, and Balkan folk and contemporary genres; and groups such as Rachel Brice’s Datura Projects (where our founding dance members met), Hahbi’ Ru, and Bal Anat, while still maintaining our unique personal style.
Baksana was founded with the mission of “bring the party to the people” by “takin it to the streets” literally and metaphorically. Instigated by a spirited conversation early summer 2013 with Mr. Sol Crawford of Studio Datura (PDX) and Datura Online (interwebs) -2 great hubs of learning A LOT about Belly Dance, BTW. From busking on city blocks and at community fairs, to performing in fully produced stage shows, we hope to make ourselves accessible for all by tapping into more of the folk roots of belly dance, and it’s powerful link to live music and celebration.