Flurt! caught up with Music Monday’s Kelsey Hannah to talk about her career as a gypsy in the group, Vibe Tribe.
Vibe Tribe looks like lots of fun and hard work.
Being a part of Vibe Tribe is a ton of fun and also a ton of work. However, the work that we put into it definitely pays off in the best way. Some things that we do in performances are improvisation, choreography, character work, playing with fire, hooping, poi and staff spinning, belly dancing, clowning, contact and regular juggling. We are always adding to the list! We are always working to create new productions or themes or new character relations that we can use to make our shows as exciting, comedic, and entertaining as possible so that our audience never knows quite what to expect. Our shows are always unique!
Your costumes also look super cool. I can imagine you need them to be light in order not to burn up while working with fire.
Our costumes are mostly made up of pieces that each of us have bought, made or have had made throughout the years, as well as bits that are made by designers that we work with. We don’t need to worry about keeping the costumes light because when we are playing with fire, we are constantly moving so it never has the chance to warm up too much. Fire resistant costumes are also a big plus, but that option is not always available to get the style we want.
How many members perform along with you in the tribe?
Right now, there are about 15 of us performing. This number never really stays the same because we are always hiring new members or guests to help us with certain shows. People also need to take breaks sometimes. Vibe Tribe and everyone involved in it are my passion, they are so special to me and they are all some of my best friends. It is much more than a job for me. It is my favorite thing to do! I have been performing with them for 3 years, but Vibe Tribe started in 2006.
Where does the inspiration for your performances come from?
The inspiration for our performances come from ideas we get from music, character work or any creative work that we are individually or collectively inspired by. Often, we will work with select people in the group to create a specific scene, then we will all work together to put all of the pieces together. We are all fascinated to see the scenes that we are not part of. It’s so magical to see all of the scenes together to make the production and to realize the vision that it once was. We use music that we are inspired by or classic gypsy tunes like songs by Beats Antique or Caravan Palace. We work with a couple awesome DJs who mix all our songs just the way we need them.
Where have you performed in the past and where are you planning to perform in the future?
We have been hired a lot by the City of Edmonton in Canada to entertain at events or to collaborate with other groups that they hire like Circus Orange from Toronto, Canada. We’ve performed at the Edmonton Motor Show, Capital Ex, Boonstock Music Festival, and other corporate events like a show we did for Century 21 at the Art Gallery. We got to perform on the roof there! We’ve performed out of the city, but mostly in.
My favorite place to perform has always been Astral Harvest Music Festival in Driftpile Valley. The crowd there is always so enthusiastic, open minded, encouraging, respectful and peaceful. They are a big, happy crowd and are a mix of gurls and guys. Maybe our crowds are mostly a mix of both because we are too!
How does Vibe Tribe play into your empowerment as a woman?
As a woman, belly dancing is my perfect match. It is feminine, artistic and challenging. I feel empowered by Vibe Tribe because they provide the energy, environment, and opportinity that I need to express myself creatively in the way I desire. We surround each other with positivity and encouragement. I could not ask for a better team. This gypsy tribe has guided me to the path I seemed to be searching for before I joined.
I have gained confidence being on stage. I’ve learned work ethic while practicing and while dealing with the expectations of being a professional. Vibe Tribe has juiced up my social life because I am no longer as shy as before because I am always meeting new and exciting people who will often become my friends.
We have two practices per week of about two hours long each, plus extra practices if we feel they are needed. We average about a couple shows per month all throughout the year. This has been increasing lately too! Due to the number of people in the tribe, our expenses as a group are quite high. We have to have money for practice space, costumes, fuel, props, photoshoots and so much more. So, we cannot completely depend on Vibe Tribe yet. We all put in time and energy so that it may grow and become the best full time job ever! We do it because it is our passion. The fact that we also get paid is a bonus.