Q: Well, for starters what kind of set-piece can we expect you to perform at BAMCon?
K: You can expect a series of anime and video game based songs! Songs from Blue Exorcist, League of Legends, Kingdom Hearts, InuYasha, and more will be part of our set. Some J-Pop may also make it into the set. Both shows should be similarly themed, but the sets will be unique, so come check them both out if you can!
Q: You are something of a crossover artist, working on fusing bellydancing and cosplay. How did that all come about?
K: I started as a costume maker at the age of 8 participating in 4-H with my Mom. She taught me everything I know with a little help from art class. I started belly dancing in high school, and in college I started going to conventions and cosplaying. It only made sense to combine the two… I mean seriously, if you did two things you absolutely loved, wouldn’t you try to combine them too??
Q: I know very little about belly dancing. In fact, I’ve never even seen a live session. For those of us without a clue, what would you say the main ideas of belly dancing are? In other words, if you were training a totally new student, what might you tell them to think about, or to look out for?
K: Belly Dance is about empowering your entire body and mind. You master every muscle and you begin to do things you never thought you could do. I often include a technique called a “sulton drop” in many of my sets, which most people are usually in awe over. Everyone has something special they can do, and belly dance helps bring it out of us.
Q: As an audience member, I think that most of us generally know the hallmarks of what makes good performance dance, including precision, tempo, and enthusiasm, but beyond that is there anything that applies specifically to belly dancing? What would you say are the signs of a good performance?
K: Technique, Technique, Technique. Bad or lazy technique completely ruins a show. A wonderful thing about belly dance, specifically the style I stick to (Tribal Fusion) is that costumes are pretty makeshift, so the only thing that can really ruin a show is not having the confidence to show your skills off, or sloppily doing so. Oh, and smiling! That’s more important than people like to give credit for.
Q: Is it more difficult to put together a traditional belly dancing costume or a cosplay costume?
K: Well depends what you mean by traditional. A true traditional outfit is covered in hundreds of thousands of beads and sequins. They are time intensive and require a lot of patience. I stick to mostly tribal gear which is also time consuming but we work with more metal, and it is a bit more chaotic. Cosplay for me is all about the accessories and weaponry, so to answer your question, it depends on the outfits you compare. They’re all fun, they’re all tedious, and they’re all rewarding. What’s really fun is combining them, like the costume I’ll be wearing at BAMCon (a League of Legends inspired “belly dance” Orianna (the wind-up warrior) skin).
Q: As a total aside, if you were a supervillain, what would your power be and what superhero would defeat you?
K: I would be “EpicKiwii” with the super power of shapeshifting (how cool would that be!?). Iron Man would defeat me, because let’s face it, he’s Iron Man.
Q: Complete the following statement: “If I see a ______ at BAM-Con next month, I will just _______ …”
K: “If I see a Giant Penguin at BAM-Con next month, I will just Be the happiest Kiwii… of all time… No, seriously, if there is a giant penguin, someone come get me…. 😀