Known for her commanding stage presence and ability to move seamlessly between the light and dark, the hilarious and haunting, Medea has made a name for herself among Seattle’s top performers. With over a decade of fusion belly dance behind her, she has inspired many others with her unique style and vision, and with her provocative dance philosophy.
With Kindle of BLK being counted in the ranks of Medea’s “Rebel Belles“, and Medea being a performer at some of our BLK Celebrations, we wanted to give our BLKulists a closer look at Rebel Belly Productions founder Medea.
BLK – For those unaware: Who is Medea?
Medea – Medea is a wildling. A Witch, a Goddess and a Clown (in more or less equal parts). I was raised by a wild Amazonian tribe of pygmy head-hunters where I learned their native dances and excelled in sorcery and cannibalism. I have been able to seamlessly combine these talents in my wildly successful dance career.
Did I mention I hate bios? How do you “present yourself” without coming off as an arrogant asshole?
I have over a decade of experience in fusion belly dance as a performer, instructor and show producer. I’ve performed at countless events and shows, taught at venues such as Cues and Tattoos, and helped co-produce shows such as ‘Alauda -An Evening of Free Form Belly Dance’ and ‘Mechanismus – Industrial Music & Art Show’ before sticking out on my own with shows produced under the Rebel Belly Productions banner.
BLK – You didn’t sound like an arrogant asshole at all.
Medea – You interrupted me. I meant to finish with, “…and I look good doing it”.
BLK – What is it about dancing as an art form that attracts you to it?
Medea – I like how raw and visceral it is. I like how, as a dancer, you are baring your soul *right then and there*. It’s unlike any other art form, I think, in the way that it effects not only the artist but the audience so deeply and so instantly. You take the audience with you. You dive right into the deep end together and you either sink or swim, but there with you every step of the way. Unlike painting a picture or sculpting an art piece, where you could say ‘This is who I was/what I was saying/feeling *at that moment, back then*’ , with performance art you are IN IT NOW. It’s not so easy to step away from it, or go back and change it or edit it. There are no do-overs. You can’t disconnect or distance yourself from it. Well, I suppose you could disconnect from your body while dancing, move out of your heart and your gut and into your head, but you and your art suffers from that disconnect and you will lose that connection with your audience -because they can feel that- and the effect is gone. It’s the vulnerability and intimacy of performance art that creates a special magic that you rarely experience in any other art form.
BLK – Tell us about Rebel Belly Productions.
Medea – I formed RBP back in 2011. I had been producing smaller, monthly belly dance shows in Seattle for a few years and, while I enjoyed being a part of that dynamic, I really wanted to try something a little bigger and more theatrical. I’d performed in a few dance theater pieces by then, as well and loved the grander scale of it and thought I’d try my hand at creating one of my own. So, in August of 2010, while on a long road trip alone (and very pregnant), I wrote the script for ‘Wonderland -A Belly Dance Play’. I gathered the perfect cast and crew and directed and produced the show largely on my own. It was during the production of Wonderland, that I fell in love with the process. I loved writing up the story, casting the parts, directing it, collaborating with the other dancers on choreography, costuming, music, etc. I knew then that I had found my dream job! I had tons of ideas for shows and wanted to jump right in! So, I asked a few of my friends who inspired me and who I enjoyed working with to join me, including BLK’s own Kindle Cimmerian, and we went right to work…and thus Rebel Belly Productions was born.
BLK – What projects have you done thus far with RBP?
Medea- We have produced a number of runs of 6 different productions so far. We had three successful runs of ‘Wonderland’, two runs of ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’, ‘Time Warp’, ‘Nevermore’ and the ‘Rebel Belly Review’. Last month, we presented ‘Circadia’, to a very enthusiastic audience. One even asked me to marry him during the curtain call!
BLK – Some of our people know you are a mother as the result of you performing at the “BLK Celebration: Voudon Gnosis” event while (very) pregnant. How do you balance being a performer, show producer, parent, and your career as a “sexy librarian”?
Medea – It’s definitely taken me some time and effort to find a good balance between work, family and dance. Especially with my often obsessive, DO ALL THE THINGS, laser-like focus when I get going on a project that I’m excited about. But I think I’ve finally achieved it! First, it helps that I only work at the library part-time, which leaves a fair amount of time to focus on and nurture all the love and art and rad extra-curricular craziness in my life. Second, I made a promise to myself that I will always set aside time for dance and producing, because it’s my passion…but that I would never neglect my family in the process. To that end, I am careful about how and when I book dance stuff (rehearsals, costuming, production stuff, etc) and make sure it doesn’t get in the way of family time. I am also super fortunate to have an amazing partner who not only gets how important dance is to me, but also gets the amount of work needed to succeed at it. He has always been very supportive of my dance career, and that helps tremendously. So, I’d say things are pretty well-balanced. And, thank Odin for that, because HOLY HELL do I have a lot going on these days!
BLK – As a side note, something you missed at the BLK: VG event while backstage was our friend Caroline joking, “Imagine if she gave birth in a room of ‘black magicians’!!!”, which made Australian artist Barry William Hale exclaim, “WE GET TO NAME IT!!!!”, and Vadge Moore offering to eat the placenta!