Thursday, March 14, 2013

Meet Sevdha, Dancer, Musician, and Visual Artist

Sevdha ("Sev," "Seva," "Sevy") is a professional dance artist (especially known for belly dance and Bollywood dancing) and also a musician and artist (graphic artist, painter, and more). She is from Jamaica and was recognized as Miss Jamaica IC 2012. Sevdha has performed all over the United States and internationally. She has received a lot of press for appearing on America's Got Talent with a story of "nerd to belly dancer." Sevdha has also directed a group affectionately known as the "geek belly dancers" who would do anime/video game-related performances at conventions across the U.S. Visit Sevhda's website for more details on this multi-talented artist.

1. As you were growing up, what forms of artistic expression became important to you?

If I were to pinpoint the one form of artistic expression that was of most importance in my younger days, it would have to be the violin.

Back then, particularly in my preteen years, I was associated with playing the violin as much as I am associated with dancing today. The violin was my solace during those typical trying times of teenagedom, and I'd admit to have been pretty darn good at it!

2. What styles of dance have influenced your work as a dancer, and what are some elements that distinguish your work from that of other dancers/choreographers?

Indian, and Indo-Caribbean dance styles have influenced my work greatly, so much so that I've created a style that I refer to as "Chutney-fusion bellydancing," which is a nod to my Indo-Caribbean roots. Others include hip hop & pop n' locking, Moroccan Guedra, traditional Japanese dance (NihonBuyo), and more. My group and I were also the only group to specialize in performing belly dance to fan-requested video-game and anime music (and sometimes incorporating cosplay) at conventions all over the nation.

3. Could you talk a little bit about your work as a musician and how your knowledge of music informs your other projects?

I started working with music production far before it became a necessity for me to edit my own music for dance performances. When I was a young teen, I'd compose what I'd refer to as modern Classical music that I'd then make into midis. Shortly after, when I started dancing, I began to teach myself how to remix the music that I'd perform to, and eventually started making music altogether. This knowledge is terribly useful, as I'm in constant need of editing/creating music for my performances and other artistic endevors.

4. What have you been working on most recently in terms of your visual artwork?

Recently, I've been working on traditional animation--an extremely taxing pursuit, I'd be the first to admit. Other than that, I have been practicing my usual semi-realistic art style, and I've also been working on fantasy photo manipulations along with designing laptop and video game covers.

5. As an artist who works in different modes, from dance to music to art, do you find that your different projects often intersect, or are they sometimes very separate from each other?


All modes of art in my case are oftentimes interconnected. For example, my music influences my dance and vice-versa. I also find that it is easier to think up melodies when I am drawing.

On that note, we have a weekly web show in progress that will also serve to make use of our different modes of artistic abilities (and by we, I am referring to my absolutely talented and awesome dance partner, Ilia, and our quirky cast of friends and entertainers). In it, we'll be taking audience requests to perform on-the-spot belly dancing to anything but traditional belly dancing music. Techno, rock, even Classical... you name it.

Thanks, Sevdha!

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