Dr. Finius J. Nodnol III, Esq., reporting back to duty!
This week, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Bagoas – an undeniably mythical creature who is full of magic and surprises.
Currently, Bagoas studies, practices and performs Middle-Eastern Dance, which most of us refer to simply as Belly Dance. As it turns out the term Belly Dance is actually an American invention, born at the World’s Fair, when an observer of this unique form of movement screamed out “look at the belly dance.” And with that, a name was born. Bagoas prefers broader, more traditional titles that pay homage to each Eastern dance form’s individual heritage.
When most of us think of a Belly Dancer, we arrive at an image in our minds, of a scantily clad woman who dances to traditional Middle Eastern Music. Bagoas shatters this notion, and with clear intention is changing not only the face of Middle Eastern Dance as it is seen in the Western World, but the gender and sound as well. You see, Bagoas is one in just a handful of male practitioners of this predominantly female dance form. Even within the modern realm of Tribal Fusion, Bagoas finds that the proverbial box is best put to use as furniture, while he dances exuberantly on the outside.
Bagoas hasn’t always been a dancer, and in fact, stumbled into it just a few years back through perhaps the most poetic means possible… chance! But although new to dance, Bagoas has spent his life surrounded by, engaging with, and making art. He proudly proclaims that he grew-up backstage at the Baltimore Opera, where he performed as an actor, acrobat, singer and dancer in more than twenty different productions. Surrounded by a variety of artists, Bagoas began to explore different modes of expression. His first weapon of choice was the piano, in which he became an accomplished national performer. His interests in music eventually lead him to explore his voice as his medium, and soon, Bagoas was devoting his time to classical singing.
It was an attempt to improve his vocal abilities for his then deep-rooted passion for song, that first lead Bagoas to those who could make their belly dance. In his mind, learning to better control and isolate the stomach and diaphragm while layering complex movements at the same time, would clearly lead to a better vocal performance. But then, as they tend to do around magical people, things suddenly changed. Bagoas found himself more fascinated with the movement he was learning in order to better sing than he was with the singing itself.
Thus began the journey he has found himself on over the last three years. He quickly climbed the ranks in the Middle Eastern dance community, and became recognized by both his peers as well as those who observed his art, as a ground-breaker and a game-changer. He has received numerous awards for his work, and regularly performs and teaches throughout the region.
Aside from piano, song, and Middle Eastern dance, Bagoas is also a gifted costume designer. With a convenient job at a design studio, Bagoas regularly acquires unique pieces of material which he then incorporates into his intricate and extravagant costumes, which he makes himself.
I sat down with Bagoas at Area 405 this week, where we spoke of many things, among which were three of my favorite—dreams, creativity, and play. It is clear to not only myself, but to all of those who cross his path, that Bagoas is a deep thinker, and not only about the movements that make up his craft and his art, but about his movements through life as well.
We did a reading of Bagoas with the Imagi-Meter At Home Creative Juice Detector, and his results were off the charts! Clearly this is someone who has little need for my tonic, though I cannot deny that he took at least a few sips, and enjoyed each one of them.
Bagoas will be performing at The Winter Festival of Wonders at The Sunday Circus, as well as teaching an Intro to Belly Dance Workshop on the same Sunday afternoon. It is with my strongest recommendation that I would encourage you to take the opportunity to experience this unique and amazing performer and creature!
Please join me next week as I introduce you to the EMP Collective.
In the meantime, I would encourage you once again to take a further look into the Winter Festival of Wonders, which is shaping up to be an amazing three day celebration of Wonder, Magic & Play taking place at Area 405 in Baltimore from February 10 – 12. You can find more info on the Festival Website at www.WFOW.info
Until next Time,
Dr. Finius J. Nodnol III, Esq.