Salon La La promises adventure and enchantment

Salon La La will introduce North Queensland audiences to the world of belly dance. IMAGE: Nicole Zicchino

A smoky underground club teeming with enchanting figures moving silkily with the rise and fall of soaring Arabian music.

Salon La La promises to transport audiences to another time and place.

Co-creator Jordan Galliott said the show aims to teach North Queenslanders about Egyptian and fusion belly dance, using laughter as a gateway to an exotic world.

“For most people in regional North Queensland belly dance is just an idea or something that doesn’t actually exist,” said Jordan.

“Initially Salon La La started out quite sombre, but we soon realised that we needed to be really engaging to introduce new audiences to belly dance. In response, we’ve created something really punchy and hilarious but still filled with high quality dance because we feel a strong responsibility to do so.”

Salon La La boasts a cast of globally recognised dancers – Xaeda Raqasa, Alice Knox, Cara Griffin and Jordan Galliott – along with Townsville locals Em Lea Coppola and Natasha Enright. The show’s host is charming bearded lady, Pene Incognito.

Salon La La IMAGE: Nicole Zicchino
Cara Griffin IMAGE: Nicole Zicchino

“Pene is going to (probably quite rudely) guide everyone through a few different styles of belly dance,” says Jordan.

“Belly dance itself is an umbrella term, so the range of what is performed is actually quite large. We get go on this little geographical tour when we’re performing.”

Jordan and her collaborators respectfully blend the traditional roots of dance from the Middle East, North Africa, Hellas and Turkey with their own contemporary reinterpretations.

“Belly dance definitely has a pre-exiting container that we operate within,” says Jordan.

“As Western women using an Arab dance form, we are guests so we don’t alter the substance of it.”

“As Western women using an Arab dance form, we are guests so we don’t alter the substance of it. But there are fusion styles that have been adapted to offer more freedom. I think they’re sometimes even more of a fantasy of what belly dance is, but understanding where the lineage of movements and where each one fits within this spectrum of what constitutes belly dance, helps to keep it appropriate.

“We leave dancers of origin to contemporise the dance, and as guests we push forward in a way that makes sense.”

While Salon La La saw its official debut at the North Australian Festival of Arts in 2021, this year’s performances will be bigger and better.

“We ran last year and had sold out before the shows, but it was during that three-day lockdown and we had to send over half of the tickets back and run at less than 50% capacity,” Jordan says.

“So technically it’s had its fledgling flight but where this will be its first full operation.”

Salon La La is supported by Dancenorth Australia’s Four Walls and a Floor program.

Catch Salon La La at the North Australian Festival of the Arts 2022.

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