A key element to music is dancing — whether that’s swing dancing as a couple, swaying by yourself, or even thrashing in a mosh pit. The rhythmic movement to a song can send feelings of joy through your soul. There is a real art to dance, and many different styles and forms can be found across the world. Dance has been a very important part of the life of Aurotejas Hemsell (best known as Tejas) starting at a very young age.
“I’ve been performing since I was 7 years old and studying dance from the age of 3. I started in ballet and switched to Indian classical dance at age 5,” says Tejas. In 2004 she founded the Shakti Dance School, and in 2006 she started setting up the World Dance Festival in Colorado Springs and in Auroville, South India, as a way to showcase different cultures across the globe — and right here. “I feel that Colorado Springs especially is a place that needs more cultural dance and art, so it’s my dream to bring that here,” she says.
The COVID-19 pandemic halted live musical performances of all kinds, and dance events suffered too. Tejas hosted an online event last year but will be bringing back live audiences on Friday, Sept. 10, at Fritzy’s.
“This is the first live World Dance Festival I’ve organized in Colorado Springs since the world shut down,” she said. “I did organize an Online World Dance Festival during the pandemic but really missed the audience connection.
“I’ve been performing recently in Denver and it’s been amazing to be back on the stage! I feel so much happier when I have shows to look forward to. Life is nothing without art, music and dance! I’ve felt like my life has been on hold without being able to perform. It’s extremely important for us as artists to connect and share our artistic expression with our audiences. My goal is to inspire my audiences through cultural dance.”
This World Dance Festival has an eclectic ensemble. “The lineup is incredible,” says Hemsell, “Sonia Burns performing Spanish flamenco; Sandrine Juliette Ostrow [my amazing wife!] and Sherry Anderson performing Egyptian and Arabic belly dance; Tejas performing Odissi East Indian classical dance; Chuck Palalay performing Polynesian dance; Mizmar Madness performing American Tribal Style belly dance; Adriana Jones performing Tribal Fusion; Skyler Sward performing contemporary ballet.”
Stop by Fritzy’s on the 10th to experience this event of music, dance and celebration.
While we’re getting back into live music, a lot of the bands that recorded and wrote over the last year are now starting to release that material. Denver/Colorado Springs pop punkers False Report wrote their new EP Don’t Lose Track over the past year for distribution in November, but will release two singles leading up to it. The first, “That’s Messed Up,” comes out today on all streaming services. It’s a warm, refreshing track that brings to mind accomplishment and rejuvenation.
“Our new EP was written over the course of the lockdown,” says guitarist/vocalist Alan Andrews. “Basically I just had all this time by myself to question everything in life. I’m kinda kidding but I took the time to work on myself.
“I wrote the rhythm guitar and vocals and sent it to Chris [Martinez, guitar] and Joe [Bruno, drums] to write their parts. It gave us time to do more critical listening than we’ve ever done,” he says. “So when it came time to record we’d already played our parts a thousand times. And I’d like to think we were able to keep that raw, genuine feel which was really important to us.”
There’s no denying that this pandemic has been life-altering for everyone. Many have seen the loss of family, jobs and their way of life. For some, that loss and isolation also brought forth positivity and change, making us realize what’s truly important.
“Honestly, I feel like a completely different person,” says Alan. “I spent so much time just alone with my dog. I learned so much, the biggest thing being your time is valuable, so spend it doing things you love and that help your soul grow. It is super cool to have live music back. I was in a mosh pit the other day, and that was tight.”
And while we’re on the subject of mosh pits, be sure to head down to The Triple Nickel on Monday, Sept. 13, for a show that will be talked about for ages. Seattle powerviolence monsters Regional Justice Center will be bringing their fast, angst-driven tunes along with Denver’s Candy Apple and Wideman, plus the debut of Destiny Bond.