In the wings at Global Motion
Nazanin Badiei has never danced for her husband before.
Badiei, who has a Bachelor's degree in French Literature, hails from Iran when public dancing is forbidden. She emigrated from Iran four years ago and as a participant in the Santa Monica College dance department's "Global Motion" showcase, she will finally have the opportunity to perform her craft in front of her husband.
"In Iran, dance is forbidden, so you don't have the opportunity to study dance. So I thought it was a good opportunity to start now," she said. "My husband's going to be in the audience. In Iran I've never had this opportunity to show my art to my husband."
Floating around backstage, dancers from all over the world have different ways of describing what the subject means to them.
For some it’s a journey. For others, a place to call home. But for most, it’s an opportunity – to be a part of something, to meet new people, to perform on a world-renowned stage. "Global Motion" gives them the opportunity to express those meanings.
From Argentina to China to Iran, dancers from all over the world performed choreography inspired from all corners of the globe.
Badiei choreographed a Persian piece for "Global Motion" to a song by a band outlawed in Iran. The song proclaims that religion isn't needed to achieve peace, that kindness is enough. A fiery message from within the world's only Islamic Republic.
"I was inspired by this lyric," Badiei said. "I am living here now, I can dance, I can do whatever I want."
Clothes scattered across the floor look like the messy trails of frantic dancers, but are actually carefully placed piles to prepare for quick transitions, some in a matter of seconds.
Dresses worn in the ballet piece were the original costumes from George Balanchine's "Saranade," originally performed by New York City Ballet. The dresses were loaned to the SMC dance department from Westside Ballet.
The energy is more easily felt in the wings — the areas to the side of the stage where dancers wait for their onstage cues - where the height of backstage passion is taking place. It is where the dancers feel jittery, the most unsure of themselves — the moment of truth.
"That's when I really start to second guess myself," says Haley Weishaup about her moment before stage. "I was asking people questions in the corner, and they were like, 'stop over-thinking it! You know it, just go.'"
Weishaup isn't alone. Most of her colleagues feel the same way, including Ariel Whittaker who dancing with SMC for the first time.
"Behind the stage everyone's like, 'I'm so nervous' and you hear stuff and you hear the crowd and you see the faces. I just jump up and down. I just warm my body up," Whittaker said.
As the dancers perform the final piece on stage, the entire cast waits in the wings. Dancers garbed in Persian outfits, traditional Chinese costumes, and Turkish drab gaze at the finale, an African piece with live drums to support the tribal movements. As the piece closes, the dancers line up to prepare for their bow as hundreds of cultures move on as one.