A Belly Dance Diary 2001-2002
Zorba doing Maias onstage at Kalisa's La Ida Cafe with "Greenie", his first veil!
2001-2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025
Herein is chronicled Zorba's on-going voyage of discovery into the magical realm of Belly Dancing. Sometimes major events, more often just baby steps along the way. Presented here in reverse chronological order.
28 December 2002
After listening to every track of every belly dance CD I own, I have settled on a cut from Solace's Ahsas CD, #10 "Crimson", for my second solo; although a cut from a borrowed Fire Dance CD was a close second. "Crimson" really speaks to me, and I find myself grinning like an idiot when I'm dancing to it!
What I find interesting, is that I had a different kind of problem selecting the music this time as opposed to that for my first solo. That time, I kept throwing out cut after cut because "I can't do anything with that one either!". Now, I have somewhat the opposite problem, "Yep, I can do a dance to this - but is this what I'm really after?". Oh, there are still a number of "Not ready for this one", especially drum solos where I don't feel I yet have the precision needed to do one justice.
Now to choreograph it. I actually find that I can spontaneous dance to this number quite well (for me), but a choreography will prevent repetition. And then I'll work Zills into it! OPA! Onward and upward!
25 December 2002
Got a Saroyan Scimitar for Christmas! Oh boy! Now I can start practicing with the sword! First, however, I'm going to get my name engraved on the blade so there's no confusion at a performance venue!
20 December 2002
Kalisa's Student Nite. Did "the solo" again (Aren't these people getting tired of looking at it?!?), and the "Circle Dance" with the troupe. No new ground here, but it sure was good to be back, I hadn't performed any kind of dance in over 9 weeks!
Among the many compliments I received (Apparently, there are quite a few who actually haven't seen this solo yet!), I heard third hand that I also had a couple of hecklers. A couple of glares from audience members apparently put an end to that - but when you do something out of the ordinary, you must expect such things. I didn't hear it, and it wouldn't have bothered me overmuch now, but if it had been the first time or two I had performed, it would have been devastating! The world is full of rude people for sure!
One of my dance sisters gave everyone in the troupe a beautiful hand made Zill bag (with a chocolate inside). I was doubly touched by this, as I just picked up a new quad of Zills in Greece and needed that Zill bag to put 'em in!
Although I've told lots of people about this site, including some of my dance sisters, I haven't made a big deal of it. One of my dance sisters found the site on her own and was talking to me about it. Busted!!! Actually, she said that she liked it!
When I got home, my wife had to dig a tiny bit of glass or part of a sequin (too small to be sure) out of the bottom of my right foot. Another occupational hazard.
Time to get serious about developing a new solo routine...
9 November 2002
Belly Dance in street clothes is just not the same!
Zorba (hands overhead) on stage in Athens
While vacationing in Greece, I was pulled on-stage by a (female) belly dancer along with several other males in the standard "embarrass the male" shtick. I wish I had been in costume, but still my wife says I looked pretty decent, despite being in street clothes. The gal was an excellent dancer, could do belly rolls to die for!
23 October 2002
Wow! I actually balanced a sword on my head in class - and managed to do quite well, thank you (for a beginner, anyways). I did shimmies, hip circles, Maias, Camels, and some rudimentary floor work. I guess I know what I'm going to ask for for Christmas!
18 October 2002
Student nite. I didn't do my solo - don't want to over play it as it is the only thing I have as yet. It was however, an 'interesting' nite. We did the 'Diva Dance', a neat, comedic dance where selected dancers do brief solos against the background of the rest of us. At the VERY LAST MINUTE Jamaica, my instructor, came up with this idea that I should be one of the dancers that solos - and she put me FIRST!!
With absolutely NO rehearsal, I did my brief solo - it was OK, just some step hips and twist egyptians, I stepped off the stage to do it, the audience really seemed to like it. Next time however, I'll try to do something a bit more imaginative!
Then after this, the troupe did the 'Hands dance' - one that I'm "close" to being able to do, but not quite yet so I stood this one out. Our instructor and one of my dance sisters got costume bits entangled at their hips, and were momentarily stuck together. Then, after a drum solo piece that I'll be lucky to EVER be able to do , those of us who hadn't done all the dances came back on-stage to take a bow. Then the exit music came on, and we were all supposed to take turns spinning off stage in pairs. Well, I blundered into our instructor, the next pair of gals apparently liked that so well, that they blundered into each other as too! There was definitely something in the air.
Now I've survived my first belly dance disaster. It was good for a few laughs!
5 October 2002
My instructor informed me that my little beginner's solo was good enough for me to dance at Kalisa's on a NON STUDENT NIGHT with the big girls!
Uh, right. Ok, so I did the solo again. The "big girls" all loved it, my instructor loved it, the audience loved it, and I had zaghareet, hissing, clapping, and cheering at a thunderous level!! I do feel that part of the audience enthusiasm was just for a male being up there in the first place, but I also had several males congratulate me, and had very encouraging words from a woman who had seen me do my terrified first ever performance, saw the solo two weeks ago, and says that I'm steadily improving.
So I came home with my head all swelled up and very happy indeed!
20 September 2002
SOLO!!! I went through the Belly Dancer's rite of passage and did my solo at Kalisa's student nite! Wow! What a blast! You can read all the juicy details here.
14 September 2002
Aren't they beautiful?" Attended another Ren Faire - much like the last one, saw John Compton dance. Also saw Jamilia Salimpour's dance company perform Also got Hennaed again - hands this time, should still be clear when I do that solo - 0 weeks, 6 days and counting!
11 September 2002
Went this evening to see if I could 'play with the big girls' - attended my first intermediate class. The big girls 'beat me up' - danced me right into the floor! Pounded me into the pavement. I was covered with sweat, and too scantily dressed to be able to wipe it off! I'm not at all used to being danced into the ground, - in Greek dance I can generally dance everyone else into the ground! It was a blast! I was able to blunder along with most of it, didn't get too lost...
1 week, 1 day, 23 hours, 37 minutes until my SOLO performance - but I'm not obsessing on it! Really, I'm not!
28 August 2002
Performed 'the solo' for the Greek dancers. Good practice audience. They were most gracious! It went well except when my veil hit the overhead garage door and deflated!
24 August 2002
Went to a local restaurant where both my first, and current teachers were performing, along with several other dancers, some of whom I also know. Gave zagharoot to several. One of the waiters came over with a 'word of friendly advice' - that he'd heard me give 'the call' (he obviously didn't know that it's called a zagharoot), and that it was 'for women only'.
Hmmm. I replied that that may be true generally, but that I'd claim exemption because I too was a belly dancer! Poor guy didn't know how to process that and beat a hasty retreat!
Then, a few minutes later, at the encouragement of one of the dancers, I actually got up and proved it! More spontaneous dancing making an impromptu duet. Perhaps I'll be performing at this restaurant myself someday!
23 August 2002
Performed the solo for my belly dancer friend. She said I could take it to the stage right now! [GULP!] Discussed myriads of little ways to improve the dance. Gave me a (much needed) boost in confidence.
16 August 2002
Student nite at Kalisa's. 3 baby steps, 2 of them important ones. First, we performed a new (to me) dance, the "circle dance". At one point I was front center! Second, this was the first time I played Zills in performance, for both the circle dance (where I had to fake it a bit), and the Spanish attitude dance (where I was spot-on with my Zilling). Third, I did spontaneous dancing with the troupe at the end of the performance. I have been having problems with spontaneous dancing - I won't say what I did this time was great, but at least I was up there doing it. I also happened to be the only dancer who (accidentally) had Zills on, so I was Zilling away while dancing. What a blast!
I also inspected the 'situation' with the stage and the area on the floor in front of it to see if I'd have a problem doing veilwork during my solo (due to my height). The ceiling is at least 9 feet, so even on the stage I'll have plenty of headroom.
10 August 2002
The solo is developing. I have an entire choreography worked up - including veilwork! Now I'm working out the rough spots. That's the good news. The bad news is that I may have to perform it a whole month earlier than I had originally planned! Ooooooh!!!!
1 August 2002
Started hammering on that solo! Worked my preliminary idea into an intermediate state that fits the music - for about 1/3 of it. More to come. I also learned in class a couple of nights ago that we'll be performing a different choreography, and I've 2 weeks to get it down. I think I can...
28 July 2002
Attended my first Renn Fair where I saw John Compton and Hahbi 'Ru dance. This was a much nicer venue to see them dance, as opposed to Rakkasah, because the audience is up close and personal with the performers. This allowed me to watch Compton's technique up close. Wow, can that man dance!
Looks better in real life, but you get the idea!"
I also "got Hennaed"! I had a Henna artist do my face in Henna at the Renn Faire. Sort of a rite of passage for Belly Dancers, I guess. A lot of fun, for sure! Definitely a must do "next time" Maybe I'll have my hands done as well! Even my wife might get a bit done on her arm, we'll see!
27 July 2002
Was at a Greek restaurant and watched a Belly Dancer. With my new found thoughts about my solo, was able to get some ideas and inspiration from watching her. This was after dancing Syrto and other Greek dances at a nearby Greek festival all day.
26 July 2002
Sat down and wrote out a preliminary idea for my solo. It will doubtless change considerably before it is done, but it is a sequence of moves that should transition well together, set into a logical progression. I actually ran out of "time" in my write-up before I ran out of moves! I know more than I though I did, so now I have a starting point! Now to start working it into the music!
19 July 2002
I finally got up enough gumption to Belly Dance for the (gal) Belly Dancer who was my original inspiration to seek out this dance form. I did the "Spanish Attitude Dance", as it is the only one I really know other than the little Tsiftetelli (Which I don't have the music for anyways).
Boy, was I nervous! Much to my surprise, she told me that I had good form and good technique! Pointed out a couple of minor technical problems. Then I showed her my solo that I've been trying, without much success, to put together. She gave me a LOT of pointers on how my though processes should work in order to make a dance out of the chaos in my mind.
My whole problem now is: "I know all these moves, what do I do with them?"
18 July 2002
Terrible news: My beloved costume maker, Mary Jane Skopos passed away totally unexpectedly today. She had made numerous costumes for my Greek dance troupe, including 2 for myself and 1 for my wife. In addition, she had just finished my Belly Dance vest - I now have the very last costume she ever made. Am very sad...
Prior to July 2002 summarized below:
Performed for the first time in a "real" costume instead of my practice outfit! I had had a "real" bottom, with harem pants, a choice of coin scarf with tassel belt - or a coin belt with hip scarf, but only had a stretch dance top T-shirt type affair for a top. Now I have a real belly dance vest to go with everything else - way cool!
Finally did the "Spanish Attitude Dance" in performance at Kalisa's. A very good feeling!
Attended Rakkasah - saw a number of very good dancers, including several males. Bought stuff!! A CD, a beautiful copper coin belt, a couple of necklaces and earrings.
My first Belly Dance performance! See First performance, a tale of terror? for all the juicy details.
Had to say farewell to Janette (my first Belly Dance instructor) because of a scheduling conflict. But mixed with sorrow is the joy of meeting Jamaica, my second instructor!
Attended my first Belly Dance festival, Rakkasah. Saw the incredible John Compton dance. Very inspirational!
Walked into my first Belly Dance class (with Janette). I was a bit nervous, but had a lot of fun! Was made to feel very welcome.