Vinasa Winery: An Italian Dream
If you haven’t visited Vinasa Winery in Sonoma, CA, you should definitely include it in your next trip to the Napa and Sonoma wine country. Seated on top of a hill looking the Sonoma valley, Vinasa Winery is constructed and decorated with a strong Tuscan theme that makes you feel like you are in Italy.
The Barrel Room, where Ali and Tara held their marriage ceremony, was beautifully romantic with soft candlelight reflecting off the textured walls. It was hard not to wander around the gorgeous winery when I first arrived, but I managed to enjoy the scenery as much as I could before meeting with the coordinator to prepare for the show.
Custom Belly Dance Performance Considerations
Combining families of Turkish and Scottish descent, the couple wanted to showcase authentic Turkish belly dance wedding entertainment that would be enjoyed also by the Scottish and American guests. With this mixed group of cultures and religions, Tara and Ali were a little nervous of possibly offending some of the more conservative guests, but after reading my customer reviews and watching some of my performance videos, they were comforted in their decision to incorporate the cultural experience and trusted me to put on a tasteful and professional show.
With the costuming being one of the biggest factors, I talked to Tara about options ranging from full coverage dresses to modest two piece costumes. To satisfy the conservative crowd as well as the Turkish family members wanting to see a performance that didn’t remind them of a Renaissance Fair, she decided on a two piece costume with a color matched stomach cover. A nice modest, but modern selection.
Secondly, we talked about the dance style. I picked out a traditional Turkish dance to be appreciated by the Turkish side of the family and added in some more modern Turkish dances to appeal to the Scottish and American guests. I also decided to not include floor work, which is very popular in Turkey right now, as it can be seen as inappropriate without the cultural background on the dance. Instead of boring the guests with a dissertation on Turkish dance traditions and styles, I thought it would be safer to leave it out all together.
The Wedding Show
When the big day came, I was still a surprise to all the guests. After the final round of toasts, the DJ started my music and alluded to a special surprise. The guests were delighted to see a dinner show and the Turkish family members were excited to see a piece of home at the wedding.
My show began with a modern Turkish Oryantal piece complete with silk veil dancing. Next I danced to a traditional Turkish song in the 9/8 rhythm using authentic hand gestures made popular by the Turkish Romani. Finger cymbal (zill) playing is highly popular in Turkey so I made sure to play finger cymbals in the traditional dance as well as with a fun drum solo in the Turkish style. For the American audience members, I performed a sword dance, which was a definite crowd pleaser.
After my show, I got Ali and Tara up to dance to fun Turkish pop music and soon the rest of the guests were up and dancing with us. It was a fantastic way to transition into the DJ dancing for the rest of the reception.
Q & A with the bride
Q: Did the belly dance show live up to your expectations?
A: The show was amazing! We had so much fun. It really gave the wedding some extra pizazz – everyone was very impressed. I would say that the show was better than expected, but I already had so much faith in you even before the show began. I was very pleased indeed.
Q: What was your favorite moment of the performance?
A: My favorite moment was seeing my husband and father-in-law’s reaction to the dancing and the Turkish music – they have probably never seen anything that authentic in the U.S. They were very surprised, and that was exactly the effect I had been dreaming of. Thank you so much for that! Also, that sword dance was amazing. Another big highlight for me.
Q: Was there anything that would have made the show even better for your wedding?
A: Can’t think of anything that would have made the show better – you were so considerate, and in the midst of so much chaos I felt like you had really taken my wishes to heart when others definitely hadn’t.