Rockin’ the Casbah Notes: Dream a Little Dream

 Originally I wanted to do a solo piece accompanied by Fawn on vocals – a vocal/dance duet. One day when we were knocking the idea around, Fawn suggested the song “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” I listened to the Mama Cass version and right away knew that this was going to be a troupe, not a solo piece. We’d still do a duet, but not to this song! This song just begged me for the troupe.

Dream a Little Dream of Me is very similar in form to a piece called Nihna Wal Qamar Jiran that I teach a level 2 choreography to. Besides similarity of form, these two pieces also have a similar feeling about them and, ironically, both pieces are very similar in their lyrics … love songs that speak of the future. Both are also of a similar age.

 Nihna is also a very special piece to me for another reason. The dancer Morocco of New York City (Aunt Rocky to those of us lucky enough to have studied with her) taught a choreography at a workshop I attended that strongly affirmed my belief in the beauty of simplicity. The choreography she taught and danced for us was simplicity personified. The beauty was in the absolute mastery of each movement: in the nuances & the transitions. I had tears running down my face as I watched her dance it. Morocco did not include anything in her choreography that I do not teach to my beginner I & II students, and it was (and remains) one of my favourite pieces.

 I used bits and pieces of my Nihna Wal choreography in Dream. For instance, the opening is identical – which was my own private tribute to it. My level 2 class (learning Nihna Wal this term) had fun one day altering their choreography to fit Dream and were amazed to see the similarities in form.

 But this is a post about  Dream, not about Nihna!

 So! I wanted to present this piece with an old-fashioned “doo wop” feeling between Fawn and the dancers. To accomplish this, I put her in front of the dancers who did a very simple choreography behind her in a sort of “Diana & the Supremes” fashion. The choreography used some hand & arm motions to mirror the lyrics and moved in small steps side to side in doo-wop-girl fashion. The dancers were in dream-like outfits – all white chiffon with long gloves and feather boas. Fawn contrasted them in deep red with a full white boa. And boy, can this girl sing! Fawn has one of those rich powerhouse voices that gives you goose bumps. The audience loved her!

photos by Alistair Maitland

1 thought on “Rockin’ the Casbah Notes: Dream a Little Dream

  1. I didn’t even know this background stuff about Dream — thank you so much for sharing the stories of all the pieces. And again for letting me be part of this amazing show!

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