Gig: November 20, 2009
The Troupe took four drummers out to a new student hafla on Friday night.
We had a great time, and simply let it all hang out for about two hours of solid drumming.
Overall there were about twenty five dancers and in that groovy American Tribal Style the dancers all went in and out of groups, mixing and matching as they went.
Watching these amazing women dance never gets old.
At one point the teacher was kind of sort of pushed center stage to do a spontaneous solo and her and I had a very nice connection while I drummed.
There is a lot of discussion as to what is the best style or format for drumming to a dance solo. What I do is to break rhythmic riffs into groups of four. I play the basic riff with no ornamentation once. Then I follow that with the same riff, but adding a bit of ornamentation. On the third variation I add in a roll, or maybe a rizz, and give a really loud pop at the end. On the fourth part of the group I roll and pop all the way through it.
I think that this gives the dancer plenty to work with, and after just a few of the riff groupings the soloist can trust me to continue doing that.
With our host dancing a solo for her students I wanted to make sure she could show off a bit, but still look great doing it.
Lots of eye contact helps the comminucation as well, and as a drummer you must be expressive with your face as well as your tone during a solo. The dancer is looking to you for a clear beat to work with, and also for enthusiastic encouragement.
I really enjoy listening to the audience “Ooooh!”, and “Ah!”, and applaud when a solo goes well, and the big applause at the end of the solo is pure sweetness.