The storefront at 2610 Bechelli Lane in Redding appears to be another unassuming business in another suburban strip-mall. But never judge a building by its façade. Look more closely and you will peer into exotic eyes, hand-painted on the sign over the portico, hinting at the wonders that beckon from inside this artistic oasis on Redding’s east side.
Dancer and performance artist Micah Ree descended from Big Bend and conjured Angel Fire Studio to realize her dream of a space for “creative, artistic, and collaborative people.” Almost two years later, Angel Fire is a soul-enriching rehearsal space for Middle Eastern, fire and tribal dance. She is also a loving foster-parent to the creations of local visual and wearable artists like Nancy Gardner, maker of “Wild Women of the Woods” youth fairy costumes, as well as painters, sculptors and jewelry designers.
Dance and art are Angel Fire’s limbs and torso. Collaboration is its heart. This core principle is also a fundamental of tribal dancing, one in a long list of Micah’s passions. Tribal, a form of belly dancing based on a free-form, improvisational choreography, is simultaneously a powerful dance language and a game. For those who want to explore their tribal side, Micah offers a free dance practice on Thursdays.
In tribal performances, each dancer is granted an opportunity to lead, as is each dance and fitness instructor at Angel Fire. I could (and probably should), visit Angel Fire every day and never repeat the same class. After a few months of sampling from an eclectic menu of offerings by five skilled instructors, I would be limber from the contortions of yoga and pilates, have enviable abs from hours of belly dancing, melt a few pounds in Dancercize, and amaze the judges with my hip-hop and salsa skills.
Angel Fire turns gallery on Saturday, when she is host to artist Raette Meredith. Raette’s whimsical fairies are a sequel to the series of magical winged creatures she created for her recent book, “Faeries at Play.” The spirits of the artist and the space are so well-aligned that when you meet Micah, experience Angel Fire and see Raette’s work, you will think Raette created this series for this space.
So, I hope to see you at Angel Fire Studio for the reception for the artist. Raette will demonstrate her craft amidst the activities and the resulting depiction of a belly dancer will be for sale at the end of the evening. An equally good reason to go: Professional belly dancer Serene Knight, the Phabdominals dance troupe and the Fire Dolls will demonstrate what we can achieve with years of discipline in Angel Fire’s classes.
Meet artist Raette Meredith on Sat., April 24, 7 to 9 p.m., at Angel Fire Studio, 2610 Bechelli Lane, Redding. Angel Fire’s custom-designed and engineered dance floor is for rent for dance and fitness classes. To take or teach a class, call Angel Fire Studio at (530) 515-4261. For more information about Raette Meredith, visit artbyraette.com.
Adam Mankoski is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner own HawkMan Studios and are the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop. Email your North State news and events to firstname.lastname@example.org.