October 23, 2021

Belly, Set, Go! a hub of belly dance

Virtual ‘Nutcracker Noir’ set for Dec. 19

Katie Keyser/living and leisure editor

Tessa Myers of Aurora, left, Dani Owens of Syracuse and Jo Boring of Marathon practice a dance move Nov. 22 at Belly, Set, Go! dance studio at the Cortland Corset Building in Cortland.

Jo Boring of Marathon is having a blast creating a virtual dance show, “Nutcracker Noir,” that features belly dancers around Central New York.

“I am having fun. It’s a nice distraction,” Boring said. “People will say, ‘I don’t know, can we go through that again?’ I don’t care if we go till midnight!”

Boring and Tessa Myers own Belly, Set, Go! dance studio at the Cortland Corset Building, 75 E. Court St. in Cortland. They are preparing their Christmas show, “Nutcracker Noir” for 18 and over, that will debut 8 p.m. Dec. 19 at TeamBellySetGo.com.

“We turned our studio into a film set,” said Myers, of Aurora, a dancer and belly dance teacher.

Myers, Boring and Dani Owens of Syracuse, all three members of the Belly, Set Go! dance troupe, were preparing props and costumes Nov. 22 for the variety show of music and dance.

The recorded show will feature 14 acts from troupes in Syracuse, Oneonta, Binghamton and Ithaca, as well as Cortland.

“We will stream it on Zoom,” Myers said. “Sliding scale tickets run $1 to $20. If someone doesn’t have a dollar, we would be happy to send them a link.”

“We just want people to watch it,” Boring said.

“It’s the same name as last year,” she added. “Every year it’s a different story. Last year it was a murder mystery. This year we are a WWE theme.”

Katie Keyser/living and leisure editor

Fairuza R ningwolf of Vestal puts on makeup Nov. 22 before filming a segment for “Nutcracker Noir” at Belly, Set, Go! dance studio.

Boring wrote the story, which will feature burlesque, belly dance and drag dances.

“The premise of the story is that the rat king wants a rematch with the nutcracker. They are going to have a dance off,” Boring said.

For tickets, people can go to the TeamBellySetGo.com website and click on the entertainment tab.

Several dance troupes have already filmed parts. Multiple groups totaling 20 people worked in small groups, wearing masks, some in outdoor or big spaces for safety.

Boring said one of her troupes had matching masks. It did not take away from the dance.

“I think it’s like a cool time capsule of time.”

“During the summer, we had some outdoor classes out back,” Myers said. “We have had no in-person classes. We have Team Belly, Set, Go!, an online studio. We have virtual live classes and pre-recorded tutorials.”

Belly, Set, Go! does fusion belly dance, a modern interpretation, Boring said. It also offers burlesque and bellyesque dance, a combination of belly dance and burlesque.

Katie Keyser/living and leisure editor

Tessa Myers, left, Dani Owens, and Jo Boring look at a scene from “Nutcracker Noir.”

Belly dance originated in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Greece. Some have folk dance elements, Boring said.

“It has a lot of sparkle, night club and cabaret and it has a different feel to it,” Boring said. “We don’t always use traditional Middle Eastern music. We could use big band.”

“People think of belly rolls … I would say we are doing more hip movements and chest, isolating all the parts of the body,” she added.

“What I notice are foot patterns are unexpected,” Owens said. “I expected it to be more stationary. There’s a lot of movement.”

Owens, a hoop dancer, started belly dancing about four years ago. “I had no dance background at all,” she said. “I have always wanted to do it.”

She started performing in Syracuse with Salt City Burlesque.

Myers, a dance major who graduated from Hobart William Smith College, has been a belly dancer since 2008. She moved to San Francisco, the hub of belly dance, to learn the modern interpretation of the dance.

She got to dance with Jill Parker, a fusion belly dancer of note. Parker was from Syracuse and would return to the area and teach. At one point, she tried to live in the area again. Owens took a class from her. Then she met Myers and Boring and fell in love with the two.

Myers had moved back to the area in 2016 and met Boring at a Parker class in Syracuse. Parker returned to California and asked Boring and Myers to take over her classes. They taught in Syracuse for a year.

Boring was a volunteer helper for Crystal Lyon of Homer, who was painting the steampunk mural on the Cortland Corset Building. Boring fell in love with the building.

Katie Keyser/living and leisure editor

A photo of a filmed segment of “Nutcracker Noir” that was performed recently in front of the mural at the Cortland Corset Building in Cortland.

“I thought this building was the coolest. We decided to teach here.”

While Cortland seems to be isolated, it’s in the middle of the area their dancers are from — Binghamton, Syracuse and Ithaca, Myers said.

“You can get here easily.”

Boring started taking classes in 2004 but didn’t get serious till 2012, she said. “I like the theatrically, the movement.”

Belly dance is for everyone. It’s a tolerant dance form. People of all kinds and ages take part in it.

Boring also works with a troupe of belly dancers out of Oneonta, a group that started as beginners in 2013.

She enjoys the social aspect.

“The reason I am in so many troupes is the social aspect,” Boring said. “My best friends are in belly dance.”

Katie Keyser/living and leisure editor

Some of the props and costume pieces for the show. The corset is from the Cortland Corset Building’s collection.