Zorba, Male Belly Dancer

Henna Design A Belly Dance Diary 2005 Henna Design

Zorba, Male Belly Dancer
Is this just too cool or what? (10/29/04)
Photo Courtesy of Link opens in new window Ruben Martin Photography

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.


31 December 2005

Last performance of a year of dance growth!

After two performances in the afternoon with the Link opens in new window Greek Dancers of the Monterey Peninsula, I went home, changed out of my traditional Greek Foustanella (male skirt), got dolled up in my Belly Dance costume, and did two separate Belly Dance performances with Janette's girls!

All four performances were for the annual Link opens in new window First Nite Monterey. I did "Solo-6/Shemadan" (no finale) with my Tutankhamun Zills. I also did the "Story Dance" with the troupe. The second time I did the Story Dance, I made a "medium level" mistake - sigh...

All audiences were very receptive, warm and enthusiastic! A fun time was had by all, both audiences and performers!

12 December 2005

At last, a vid of yours truely. Its very short (13 seconds) and was shot by "Q", a gal in the audience on 2 December. Check it out! I also wrote an attempt at a poem about how it feels to me to be a Belly Dancer. Stuck it on the same page as I didn't know what else to do with it...

9 December 2005

Kalisa's. Total contrast to last week crowd-wise. Very small, but not extremely so, and quite enthusiastic. I did "BellyGram-1" as "BellyGram-2", which I'm working on, isn't quite ready. It was well received, and I had a good time on stage, but I think I got a bit out of control - I wasn't as with the music as I could/should have been. I used my 4 yard "Dragon's Blood" veil (Later borrowed by Wiggle Woman for her routine) and Tutankhamun zills.

Sharif, Nakisa, and Aruba were all there and performed as well! Sharif performed with a new veil, although I'd call it more cape-like. Whatever, it was beautiful liquid Lamé. He's gaining in confidence and skill every time I see him.

Kalisa's generally is not a "tipping environment" - but this particular audience was in the mood I guess. Several of us came away with generous tips!

2 December 2005

Kalisa's. Huge, overflowing crowd; very, but not overpoweringly enthusiastic! Had a boatload of dancers too, including three of Jamaica's students who did two of Jamaica's troupe dances. Two of these students had never performed before, and one of those two had only been dancing two months! They were fantastic - its always fun to see new dance sisters come off stage after their first performance!

I did the exact same two pieces as at last weeks CC, "Solo-8", followed immediately by "Solo-7", with Nadia Gamal's can ("#2" this time). Went well enough.

The incomparable Lana loaned me a 3/4 circle veil she danced with this evening. Its made out of a strange fabric, kinda like an iridescent liquid lamé that looks vaguely like that "space tape" you used to see all over the place in the 70's, but better looking!

Because of the large number of dancers, I didn't get out of there until after midnite! I'm off to bed...

26 November 2005

Casbah Cabaret - the last CC of the year. *VERY* tiny crowd - but very appreciative! Mainly a group of Turks that had gotten into town earlier in the day, Goddess Herself only knows how they found us so fast...

I did "Solo-7", with Nadia Gamal's cane ("#1") as well as "Solo-8/Serpentina". Hassan Deeb did a short performance, as did the stellar Artemis. All in all, an enjoyable evening.

Oh! And I finally got my cape back that I had left in the dressing room last September at the Desert Dance festival. Artemis brought it for me, the Belly Dance sisterhood took care of it! Smile!

25 November 2005

Added a mini-review of the video Bellydancing for Beginners by Cory Zamora, which really should be called "Bellydancing for Beginners: Hands and Arms". Enjoy!

18 November 2005

Finally finished the bridle straps on Piano

11 November 2005

A double performance. First, Janette's girls went to do a performance for the student "happy hour" (non-alcoholic, thank Goddess) at the Monterey Institute for International Studies (MIIS). Several troupe dances and several solos - I participated in the "Story Dance", my favorite of the troupe dances. I also performed "Solo-4/Mary Jane's dance" to a wildly cheering crowd. Used my four yard chiffon purple/red veil.

Then it was on to Kalisa's. I repeated Solo-4 with the same veil, and a bit later did "Solo-6a/Shemadan with short finale", playing my Saroyan Tutankhamun Zills. This was when I had my very first Zill mishap performing - lost an elastic on the left finger Zill, and it clattered to the floor! What was I going to do with a flaming candelabra perched atop my head? So I just kept going, playing only one pair on my right hand.

I had replaced those elastics not TOO long ago - I'll have to try to figure out what went wrong - probably my sub-optimal sewing skills.

We had several guest dancers, including the effervescent Aruba as well as dance brother Sharif who gave us a new routine tonite.

I was also able to apply some of the stuff I picked up in Alexandra King's workshop in my performances tonite - although not as much as I could have, no doubt. Still, curving my body gracefully during handwork looks a lot better than just standing there...

6 November 2005

The second Alexandra King workshop. This one was mostly Moroccan and Persian movements - some of the Moroccan was (vaguely) familiar as I've taken Moroccan workshops before, but all of it was interesting. She beat the cr*p out of of us for sure! She also told me that I was a "dedicated student of the dance".

5 November 2005

The first of two workshops with Alexandra King, this one being related to "Gypsy style" Belly Dance. A lot of fun, and learned quite a bit too - the hand work alone is incredible. Also learned an asthetic I want to try to incorporate in my own cabaret routines - not just standing straight when doing arm/hand work - or even veil, but curving the body gracefully.

A humorous aside - I stole my wife's *very* full Gypsy skirt for this class so I could experience skirtwork - a significant portion of Gypsy style dance. Needless to say, skirtwork is almost as much fun as veilwork. Anyway - Alexandra taught us this kind of a skirt kick/flip thing - and I was doing it so well that she called me to the front of the class to do a demonstration. She said "Don't worry, I won't embarrass you." I replied "That's not possible - here I am wearing a huge Gypsy skirt (and earrings, painted toenails, long hair, etc, etc), and you're worried that I might be embarrassed?!" We all had a good laugh about that, and I was applauded after the demo by my dance sisters who apparently thought I was a really good sport about it all. Smile!

4 November 2005

Wonderful audience at Kalisa's tonite! Lots and lots of folks, standing room only and very enthusiastic. I did "Solo-5/Goddess Dance" with "Tweedledee & Tweedledum", my very first pair of half circle (Lamé) veils. Its been a long time since this pair has been on the stage. I followed it immediately with my cane number (Solo-7) using Nadia's "cane #1". The combination of these two routines works well! Tonite was also the first time I've ever used the Egyptian style knee driven shimmy in a performance - I've hitherto used the "Ghawazee" (twist) style as it is far easier for me. I also forgot to repaint my toenails - they were still bright red from the previous week; I had intended to paint them copper colored, but forgot. Hope no-one noticed!

The fabulous Alexandra King performed as well, a breath taking performance as hers tend to be! She's in town, giving two workshops this weekend. I'm off to bed to rest up! Smile!

28 October 2005

Happy Oxi day! This is the day when the Greeks said "Oxi!" (No!) to the Italians when they asked to "peacefully" invade Greece at the start of WW II.

But I digress...

Kalisa's. Did my DDF routine - for Jamaica and her girls who hadn't seen it nor my newest costume. This is the first, last, and only time I'll do this routine here. Used my Tutankhamun Zills and my four yard orange chiffon veil. My dance sisters loved it, both the costume and the dance. I'm content.

The fabulous Lana did a wonderful veil piece - I'm pretty handy with a veil myself, but she did a couple of things that I'm not nearly as polished with as she demonstrated! She also gave me a set of copper earrings! Also "found" my music from last week (Solo-7) that I didn't even know that I'd left behind!

Came home to the news that our car that is in the shop is really dead - decision time. Needless to say, didn't get much sleep.

23 October 2005

More work on Piano

21 October 2005

Kalisa's. Did "Solo-7/Cane" - first time in a long time. Used Nadia's cane "#2". Was a far better success than I dared dream - was complimented not only by my dance sisters and Wiggle Woman, but by 3 Egyptian men in the audience (Who know what they're looking at!). I'm stoked!

Salute to dance sister Isabella, who came to dance with us once again. We've missed her!

18 October 2005

Oh Goddess! This is hard.

My second week in Wiggle Woman's advanced class. Where we learn performance skills and musical interpretation more than raw technique - although there is some of that too. I'm a lifelong musician. It took me several years to understand Greek music - but now I understand Greek music instinctively. But Middle Eastern? The "classical" dance stuff? Very, very subtle. I want to be able to dance to this - this is quality stuff; not like Hakim and some of the other Arabic pop junk (an aside: I don't generally care for pop music of any kind - not Arabic, not American, and most definitely not Greek!). But it has me well stumped right now, and its going to take me a while to understand it as instinctively as I do the Greek.

I'm now taking Wiggle Woman's Tuesday nite intermediate followed by advanced classes instead of the advanced and intermediate choreography classes I was taking. The Tuesday nite stuff is what I need right now, plus choreographies are the bane of my existence. I don't like them, can't remember them, can't feel the music if I'm too busy remembering a choreography, etc.

I am however, taking a choreographed cane class with her right now - I want to hone my cane skills and this particular choreo is simple enough for my pea-sized brain... thumbs up!

14 October 2005

A return to Kalisa's at last. Seemed like 1.2 forevers since I danced there! A good crowd, a good nite. Link opens in new window Sharif came to dance with us, as did Aruba - both from Santa Cruz. But the big news of the evening was Sharif's wife, Nakisa. She honored us with her very first solo! And she did very well too! Hurray!

As for myself, I did "Solo-4a/Power double veil" with my orange and gold 3/4 circle veils I got from Kamaal. Then I did good old "Solo-3 with veil prelude" with my orange chiffon four yard veil and Grecian Zills. Aruba complimented me on my veilwork, and Wiggle Woman complimented me on my Zill playing. Compliments from dancers of their caliber mean a lot to me! Smile!

9 October 2005

Now that the "mad month" of September is over with all its Greek Dance performances, Belly Dance performances, Belly Dance workshops, etc. I was actually able to turn my attention to Piano

30 September 2005

Zorba, Male Belly Dancer

Sharif's pictures of ANAS came through - check 'em out in Gallery 3

23-26 September 2005

Recommended by Zorba! Link opens in new window Arabian Nights at Sea 2005 Belly Dance cruise. Had a ton of fun! Took 5 workshops, a drumming workshop with the legendary Reda Darwish; two workshops with Aziza Sa'id - an excellent Zill workshop and an equally excellent "Making more with less"; and last but not least, two workshops with Zahra Zuhair - Egyptian Cabaret and Egyptian Rhythms and Combinations (Both great, although the latter was a bit over my head!).

Also performed at the Sunday nite hafla - did a double veil piece ("Rainbow Meltdown" A'Kai silks) to live music - Light Rain (accompanied by Reda Darwish) played "Dark Fire" for me!

This is only the second time I've performed to live music, but like the first time, it was just magical. I was a little nervous about it, as I was performing to a piece of music that I'd never even practiced with - and this was LIVE! Plus it was even "worse" as I was performing for some very high powered dancers - like Fahtiem! "What the hell am I doing here?" was my thought at the time.

But, if the crowd's reaction at the time, and the compliments I received afterwards are any indication, I did pretty good! Even the great Fahtiem herself complimented me! Smile! Had only a slight mishap, the rolling ship caused me to stumble slightly at one point - but I covered it by doing a "weave walk" for a few steps...

I should have some pix in a day or two, my dance brother Sharif attended - and brought his camera again, bless him! The guy has all but become my personal photog, I'll swear! Thanx dude!

In the meantime, I'll make do and post these two pix from the cruise:


My wife and myself on formal nite

Fahtiem graciously consented to a photograph!

19 September 2005

Cleaned out Gallery 5 and put in the pix from DDF! I forgot to note - when I was onstage doing my dance - I had this peaceful feeling: "This is what its all about!" - the synergy between the music, the dancer, the costume, the stage, and most definitely the audience!

Seeing these pictures makes me glad - this costume shows me in the light I want to be seen as a dancer - "soft", graceful, "pretty" (Read: The ever elusive goal of "masculine beauty"), and yet "powerful" when I want to be, and not when I don't! The "Endless wave harem pants" (pattern by Gaylene) have 90% of the advantages of a skirt without breaking that cultural taboo on stage! I just feel that I look more like a Belly Dancer in this costume than I do in any of my others - despite my loving those costumes too!

Good news! My cape has been located! I did indeed leave it at DDF, but it was found by the DDF folks. So it should be finding its way back to me eventually! Smile!

18 September 2005

A Hurricane Katrina benefit show at a bar (of *all* places) called "Eddie's" in Monterey. I did a reprise of yesterday's DDF performance for my dance sisters. Same (new) costume, same veil, same zills, same everything. Except no "Diva Rule", I had to retrieve my own veil! {sniff!} The performance itself went well, and the bar crowd seemed to like me. There was a fan blowing air across the stage I noticed with some distress, but fortunately it wasn't enough to affect my veil.

I also found out that I apparently left my green velvet cape that I use as a coverup at DDF. I'm NOT at all happy about it, I've already emailed the organizers and will be making some phone calls tomorrow.

Oh, last weekend I did a few things to Piano

17 September 2005

DDF 2005 Logo
The 20th annual Desert Dance Festival. I actually performed at a big festival! I created a routine out of "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance" (with my orange four yard silk-chiffon veil), a highly cut down "Solo-3" (with my Zildjian Zills - the venue was plenty large enough for them!), and added a special 30 second "get on stage" introduction - the first 30 seconds of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D-minor for pipe organ! As intended, it got the attention of EVERYONE in the hall! Smile!

It went surprisingly well - I had been rather nervous (!) about a big stage performance. I feared the loss of contact with the audience that a cabaret dancer like me thrives on. As it turned out: Yea the audience was further away, but I was still able to interact with them - and this audience full of expert Belly Dancers was clapping along, zaghareeting, and in general were really with me. What more can a performer ask? Pix in a day or two as I also wore my BRAND NEW orange costume for the first time. Had some problems with my mirror/crystal/gold chain belt, but a hastily applied safety pin backstage fixed the one problem, and the other I'll fix tomorrow - I left a small part of it on the stage! Thank Goddess for spare parts...

Nearly forgot to mention: This was only the second time I've performed in a venue where what I call the "Diva Rule" with regards to veils was in effect. I left my veil on the stage after I took my bows, someone retrieved it for me.

As Jamaica would say, "That was terrifying, when can we do it again?"

27 August 2005

Casbah Cabaret. An interesting nite. Three male dancers, Sharif, Hassan, and myself. I did "BellyGram 1", with my Saroyan Tutankhamun zills and my four yard "Dragon's Blood" veil. Went off well enough.

Hassan let me try his El Coyote zills, which I'd never tried before. I was impressed, nice tone, very ringy. He told me that the maker, Suliman, will make them slotted on request - something I didn't know. I though all El Coyote zills were single hole. I won't say that they're the equal of my beloved Zildjians, but I'm impressed enough that I may buy myself a set, and they may very well be better than Saroyans - as good as the latter are!

Sharif did his latest rendition - he continues to improve rapidly. Dude! When are we going to see that diary? Smile!

Came home to hear a number of Coyotes near the house. I've lived in this area all my life and have NEVER heard Coyotes here before. Interesting...

22 August 2005

I finally own doubleveil.COM, not to be confused with doubleveil.NET. A bit of history - When I first started this WebSite, I went with doubleveil.NET as I really didn't want a .com domain. I named the site doubleveil as double veil was an aspiration at the time - and even then I knew it would become a speciality (and a love!). This was all well and good, but "everyone" seemed to want to go to doubleveil.COM. Well, doubleveil.COM was owned at the time by an apparent Belly Dancer in the San Francisco bay area - who had nothing but pictures of what appeared to be merchandise for sale. No text at all, just the pictures - I figured she was using the domain to host images for eBay auctions or something of the like. Much, but not all of this merchandise was Belly Dance related.

She eventually didn't renew the domain, and her registrar sat on it for better than a year - and tried to sell it to me a couple of months ago for around $90 as I recall. It came to my attention yesterday that it was free at last, so I grabbed it.

Frankly, I don't need it like I did in the past - people now know that I'm doubleveil.NET (I think!), so the .COM confusion probably doesn't even exist anymore. But, if it does, the .COM is now pointing to a redirect page that takes folks to the "real" doubleveil - doubleveil.NET! Aren't you sorry you asked? Smile!

Secondly, my good friend and dance brother Sharif pointed out a strange and hard to track down problem with this diary page. With his help, I was able to fix it (I hope!). Thanx Sharif!

Did some practice for the upcoming DDF performance - the combination of Zildjian zills, four yard veil, and letting go of, then re-grasping the veil while wearing zills makes this a challenge. So far, not too bad. I intend to practice veil disaster recovery - self induced if necessary - under these conditions so I can hopefully pull this performance off! I've done veil while wearing zills a number of times, but I've never let go and re-grasped the veil before. Frankly, if I had lost control of the veil while wearing zills, I'd planned on just dumping it - although I never had to. Now the zill is on a different finger - so to speak...

A minor update to Piano

19 August 2005

Friday nite at Kalisa's. A fun nite, an "OK" crowd. I did "Solo-5/Goddess dance" with my A'Kai silk (double) veils, and the mighty Shemadan dance with the Saroyan Tutankhamun zills. A bit of an annoyance - We now have a drummer who likes to play along with the music; which is normally a very good thing, especially as he's a very good drummer. However, when you're trying to dance a drum solo (As my Shemadan routine essentially is), it becomes less than desirable. I couldn't hear my recorded drum very well at all. Fortunately, I know the music cold, so I was able to dance it blind (deaf?). Besides, if I couldn't hear it, neither could the audience, so if I was off, no-one knew it - including me! Still, I'm gonna have to discuss this with the drummer - either get him to tone it down OR, dispense with the music all together and dance it live to his drumming as he expressed an interest in learning the piece! Now THAT is an idea...

12 August 2005

Friday nite at Kalisa's. A fun nite, a good crowd. Before I yak about myself, I must make note of the lovely Shalimar, who has always been a wonderful dancer and good with a veil. For some reason, she felt her veil dancing was sub-optimal and came to me (of all people) for help. As there wasn't anything really wrong with her dancing, I just taught her to expect veil disasters and how to deal with them.

She took her new found confidence to the stage tonite - did a veil number that she had been working on - and it was great. Then, later, she was doing a totally impromptu, improv piece to music she didn't even know. Not only did she dance very well (as usual), but she did part of this dance with her veil. "My Goddess", I remarked to a dance sister standing nearby, "I've created a monster!" Shalimar did have a slight veil problem during this dance - and far more importantly she recovered smoothly and kept right on going! Her veilwork was very good!

YAY! I really felt good that I was able to help her - but it was really her own doing!

Sharif, the male dancer from Santa Cruz was present and performed. He is developing nicely and will be flying past me quite soon! I'm very impressed with his gracefulness. The effervescent Aruba, also from Santa Cruz, performed in a really cool costume. This gal is a class act.

As for myself, I did my "BellyGram-1" with my faithful "Dragon's Blood" four yard veil and Tutankhamun Zills. It went well, if not perfect, and was well received by the enthusiastic crowd.

In addition to posting this week's additions to Piano, I revised the same to be easier to navigate.

4 August 2005

Special Thursday nite performance at Kalisa's for her annual John Steinbeck birthday party! There were 5 Belly Dancers and a constantly rotating audience. I did the "enhanced" "Solo-4/Mary Jane's dance" with my ultra diaphanous green chiffon 3 yard veil, and then "Solo-5/Goddess dance" with my "Rainbow Meltdown" half circle silk veils (A'Kai) - TWICE! As we needed to fill 2 hours, and only had a limited number of dancers, I went out a total of 3 times, but had only brought music for 2 routines. But that was OK, as the second time I did Solo-5, the audience had turned over AND several folks had just arrived who specifically asked for me! Smile! So out I went again!

I was also complimented by the incomparable Lana on my hands and arms. Coming from a dancer of her caliber, this means a LOT - she is a FANATIC about hands and arms!

Oh, nearly forgot! When I did Solo-4, I danced into the audience, as I often do. But this time I used my new 3/4 "downhip twist" shimmy! Not a lot, but a little bit. Don't know how it came out, it felt OK...

30 July 2005

Wiggle Woman confirmed it, the 3/4 "downhip twist" shimmy is MINE! YAY! I'll try to work it into the Desert Dance Festival performance. Wiggle Woman told me it was quite good - but that I needed to work on upper body isolations with it (what else is new!).

Posted this weekend's additions to Piano

24 July 2005

Whoo boy! I called in, and actually managed to get through, and secured a dance spot at the Link opens in new window Desert Dance Festival (AKA "DDF")!! I'm *so* elated - panic will set in later...

Also, posted this weekend's additions to Piano

22 July 2005

Performance at {drumroll please...} Kalisa's!

I did Mary Jane's dance again so Wiggle Woman could see it. "Everyone", including the afore mentioned Wiggle Woman, was very impressed with it. Kudos to Artemis! I used my 3 yard dark red polyester chiffon veil.

I then did "Veil-4a/Power double veil" with the silver/pink pair of Kamaal's 3/4 circle veils. I'm told it went well - but I was having all kinds of problems onstage. It was getting late, and it was hotter than H-E-double toothpicks tonite. I was sweating, and every time I passed the veils behind me, they wanted to stick to my sweaty back. I "dealt with it" and apparently did so well as no-one guessed I was having problems. That pleases me well enough - but of course the dance didn't come out quite as I would have liked. I don't do many sudden direction changes when spinning (with or without veils), doing so breaks the flow; but when you have veil problems, very often a sharp direction change is the only way to "fix" the situation. Staying out of trouble with 2 veils is always an interesting challenge - and these huge 3/4 circle veils have a lot of fabric! The plus side is that they're very stable.

I was very proud of my lovely wife Zarah! She led the beginners in the "Fish" dance choreography!

21 July 2005

Class rehearsal of the ever on-going "Mural Dance". I think, and I stress THINK that I actually managed to do a 3/4 "downhip twist" shimmy. This is something I've been wanting to do for years - it is, in my humble opinion, the most beautiful of all shimmies. I need to get Wiggle Woman to review it with me - I wasn't even trying and there it was! If it isn't right, it's very close and it will be mine at last in the near future if it isn't already! YAY!! Smile!

15 July 2005

Took the revised "Solo-4/Mary Jane's dance" to the stage at Kalisa's (Red/Black tie dye 4 yard "Dragon's Blood" veil). Several people noted considerable improvement! Also did "Solo-8/Serpentina" - a frankly lackluster performance on my part - BUT Hassan Deeb who also danced complimented me on my shimmies in Solo-8. That's the very FIRST time ANYONE has EVER complimented me on my shimmies. I guess they're getting better! Smile! I was using my Ghawazee shimmy, which is still my shimmy of choice over the more popular Egyptian style - which while considerably better and better all the time, still doesn't come easy to me...

13 July 2005

Wow. WOW. WOW, OH WOW, OH WOW!

Had a 3+ hour private session with Artemis of Link opens in new window Artemis Imports. I'm awestruck. We worked on "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance" for the entire time. She helped me tweak it to where it will (after some practice on my part! Smile!) be almost an entirely different dance - although we didn't really change anything - it's all in the little details. The feedback I got was pertinent and correct.

I'll be having the occasional private session with her - she really packs a wallop of information. The most important thing (among many important things) I learned today is to do every move like you mean it. This isn't anything I hadn't heard before, but the way it was delivered it really sank home.

Yea, I'm in awe...

Also did some revisions to Piano

29 June 2005

Piano

24 June 2005

Another great nite at Kalisa's!

We had two guest dancers - the fabulous Aruba, whom I first saw dance at a recent Marrakesh Express. Wonderful, wonderful dancer. Did a cane dance to die for. She looked stunning in her Madame Abla!

Then Robert (who was in the audience on 27 May) did a very nice performance as Sharif. You heard it here first folks, this guy will be one of the greats! He's been dancing less than a year, but is WAY ahead of where I was at that point. Now we just need to convince his wife Frankie that she needs to dance with us instead of videotaping from the audience!

I must mention one of my dance sister's performances. Shalimar did a wonderful performance (as she usually does), but was quite noteworthy for her cool veilwork. I was impressed! Then, to my utter surprise and pleasure, she danced to an instrumental version of a song made popular in Greece by the famous Greek singer Glykeria. Hearing this song, in this place, made me very homesick for my adopted homeland. Ah Athens, its been too long, when will I see your ancient hills again?

As for myself, I did "Solo-8/Serpentina" as well as my ever favorite "Solo-4/Mary Jane's dance" with my purple organza four yard veil. I had quite a few compliments (great crowd tonite) on both dances! However, just as I was starting "Solo-4", I noticed something sharp burrowing its way into my foot - I hope I didn't wince! Something flew off a previous dancer, by the time I was finished, it had burrowed in pretty deep - it almost didn't hurt anymore. I dug it out backstage...

10 June 2005

Performed "BellyGram 1" with my Red/Black tie dyed "Dragon's Blood" veil and Saroyan Tutankhamun Zills (At Kalisa's, of course). Medium sized crowd, on the high end of medium enthusiasm - I was well received. Lotsa fun "bonding with the sisterhood" tonite. I'm tired, I had a Greek Dance performance earlier in the evening!

27 May 2005

One terrific nite at Kalisa's!

We had not one, not two, but THREE male dancers! The great Link opens in new window DaVid, a very good dancer from the San Francisco bay area by the name of Hassan Yustaph Deeb, and lil' ol' me!

I did a brief double veil number ("Solo-5/Goddess Dance" with my silk A'Kais), and then a slightly reworked Shemadan routine - I added a short finale to it ("Solo-6a"). I did my usual schtick with the Shemadan, and when the music ended, I took it off (quite the trick wearing Zills (Saroyan Tutankhamuns)), then the finale started after a 10 second pause and I finished the piece!

Our guest dancers put on quite the show. DaVid has awesome technique, and Hassan is quite the showman! The great Patrisha accompanied DaVid to Monterey, so she performed as well.

Of almost equal import were the luminaries in the audience! Greetings to dance brother Robert and wife (& dance sister) Frankie from Santa Cruz, the Mighty Siwa, Artemis of Link opens in new window Artemis Imports, the incomparable Jamaica, as well as Judy, Darold, and Joanna from Greek Dance. Not to mention our hostess, the unstoppable "Wiggle Woman" herself, Janette!

Didn't get out of there until well after midnite! I'm off to bed...

13 May 2005

Went through and verified all links on the links pages. No more broken links for at least five minutes... (!) Smile!

Also added three pictures from the 4/10 "Good Old Days" performance to the bottom of Gallery 1.

6 May 2005

Performance at Kalisa's. I did "BellyGram-1", since I was denied 2 days ago. It sure is nice to have an appreciative audience! The place was packed and very enthusiastic. I played my Saroyan Grecian Zills and waved about good ol' "Greenie", my very first veil - Kelly green 3 yard silk!

4 May 2005

A performance for "Senior's Day at the Mall" at a local mall. This one proved to be very interesting...

I was asked to perform at noon, and then do a second performance for a lady who was being honored at 12:30. So, instead of doing something like "BellyGram-1", I strung together "Solo-4a/Power double veil" (With Kamaal's orange and red 3/4 circle veils), "Solo-8/Serpentina", and "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance" (With my 3 yard red chiffon veil).

This went well, I was on a raised stage in the center of the mall, and was very well received. Lots of applause and bright eyes in the audience. Afterwards, a number of people complimented me, including a teenage boy and some important looking dude in a suit.

I then planned to do "BellyGram-1" for the guest of honor. However, to make a somewhat longer story short, the event organizer told me that she had had "several complaints" and that as much as she loved me, she was going to have to pull my act - she had to cater to the conservative crowd.

Now, I don't mind being the center of controversy (in fact I thrive on it), and I deal with negative comments all the time. But what really rusts my zills (I had planned on playing my Zildjians) is the fact that the organizer felt compelled to cave because of a few complaints. This is the same kind of utter nonsense that is going on in the mid-west of the United States right now where theatres won't show a movie that depicts/mentions evolution because the conservatives will be offended! It doesn't matter that the vast majority were enjoying my performance - we must cater to the whackoes. FORGET THAT!

I'm a conservative also - and I deal with stuff that would offend me EVERY SINGLE DAY if I allowed it to - but this kind of Talibanesque narrow minded pseudo-"morality" (which is anything but) in my own home town just fries my hide. If you don't like something, LEAVE or change the channel or whatever. Get a life people - this isn't Afghanistan or Iraq, not yet anyways. We're well on the way.... Sad.

Yea, I feel slightly better after my rant!

The good news is that I was complimented numerous times as I said before, PLUS was invited to dance for some seniors at their senior center in a nearby town. "I'd be honored to!"

30 April 2005

Casbah Cabaret. I actually did do my long neglected "Veil-4/Power Double Veil" with cut down music ("Veil-4A"), and Kamaal's Gold and Orange Tissue Lamé 3/4 circle veils! Went pretty well, this music and the veils are meant for each other.

Also did "Solo-8/Serpentina". Janette just loved it. I was able to Maia down to the floor in front of some gal in the audience. She whispered to her companion "He's pretty good!".

My lovely wife Zarah did her "Solo-2" routine - it was all in all a pleasant evening!

29 April 2005

"Solo-3" (With veil prelude), returns to Kalisa's! I used my vari-colored 4 yard chiffon veil and my Tutankhamun Zills. Over all, the dance went well although for some reason my veil kept wanting to stick to the back of my (blue) costume. I've danced with chiffon before in this costume with no problems, but I don't think I've had this particular veil/costume combination before. I was complimented on my isolations Smile!!

I then did "Solo-5/Goddess Dance", with my silk A'Kai "Rainbow Meltdown" veils - the veils I should be using for this dance. The veil part went well; after I discarded the veils, it went well for awhile, but near the end it got a little rough. Not a catastrophe or anything, but a little rough.

Regardless, I was complimented by one of the regulars - a youngish man of Middle Eastern descent. That always makes me feel good. "We need more male dancers!" he said.

21 April 2005

An interesting experience at a Persian restaurant in Albuquerque. The restaurant, Link opens in new window Pars Cuisine, is excellent; by all means check it out if you're out Albuquerque way.

Yes, they had a Belly Dancer, a good one. This is where the story gets a bit interesting. My wife and I walked in, an older gentleman who was probably the owner seated us. He took one look at me (I was in civvies), and knew immediately that I was a dancer. How, I don't know, but he knew! Maybe it was the necklace & earring set I had on.

The dancer herself came on in a magnificent red costume. After a bit, I gave her a Zagharoot. A look of astonishment came over her and she exclaimed "You're a DANCER!". It seemed that she didn't quite know what to "do with me", as she hobnobbed with the pair of Belly Dancers at the next table (who also had Zagharooted), but stayed well clear of my wife and I.

I hope I didn't intimidate her, she was an excellent dancer and certainly had nothing to fear from lil' ol' me; she could dance circles around me! Maybe she hadn't ever personally encountered a male dancer before, I dunno! Interesting...

I also bought a rather large "ethnic looking" basket in Santa Fe yesterday. I've been wanting one for some time as an alternate to the Shemadan, which cannot be performed just everywhere. I had originally planned to use a tray for this purpose (I've been doing a LOT of tray dancing in class), and I probably eventually will, but the basket I think will be a bit easier to perform with than a tray as it won't slide around (I think/hope!). Actually, the tray is the easiest thing to actually balance, but is made more difficult because it tends to slide (much like a sword). The basket will be harder to balance, but doesn't have the slippery bottom!

15 April 2005

"Solo-5/Goddess Dance". At Kalisa's, of course. With the pair of 3/4 circle Tissue Lamé veils I won at Kamaal's Double Veil workshop (Silver and pale pink).

An education. The dance went pretty well overall, I danced well and the veils behaved themselves. I was also complimented by a dancer whose opinions I value highly! But still, I feel these veils weren't quite right for this particular music. These 3/4 veils are by far the best behaved veils I've ever danced with - but they take a fair amount of power. This was NOT suited to the "Goddess Cycle" music I use for this dance - I won't be using these veils again for this one, I'll go back to my beloved A'Kai silks.

HOWEVER - this has got me thinking of reviving my long neglected "Veil-4/Power Double Veil" which I dropped after performing it a couple of times because the music was so powerful that it overwhelmed both the veils and the dancer! I'm pretty confident these huge 3/4 circle veils can hold up to this powerful music - I'm just not so sure about me! I'm thinking these veils and the music of the "Veil-4" routine are made for each other.

It has come to my attention that another Belly Dancer, a tribal gal, has an Link opens in new window online dance diary similar to this one. I haven't had a chance to check it out fully yet, but it looks interesting!

14 April 2005
Zorba's Doumbek
Zorba's new doumbek
Have been on the lookout for a Doumbek for some time, feeling that all dancers can learn from doing a bit of drumming, etc, etc. Darn things are expensive!

This one had been kicking around Wiggle Woman's studio for a couple of years. When I mentioned that I was looking for one just like it for cheap, she made me an offer I couldn't refuse! Nice sounding instrument - just the thing for home haflas or beating out something for another dancer when trying to figure out a rhythm.

10 April 2005

Troupe performance with Janette's (Wiggle Woman) troupe for the Pacific Grove "Good ol' Days" festival. Did most of the troupe dances, including the dreaded Talakik as well as a cane duet with one of my dance sisters. I used Nadia's "other" cane for this - this being the first performance for this cane in 15 or more years - now both have come back! As always, the cane took care of itself, all I had to do was worry about my dancing! As one of the troupe dances included Zills and this was an outdoor performance - why I played my beloved Zildjian Zills!

I MUST get some Hermes sandals - my feet are now raw from dancing on asphalt! Wiggle woman says she has a source...

8 April 2005

"Solo-3 with veil prelude!" (Dark red chiffon 3 yard veil and Saroyan Tutankhamun Zills) This is the first time I've performed this since last July! I've been working for a couple of weeks to resurrect this one. And I did it at a brand new (for me) venue - the monthly Pizza Raks at the Straw Hat Pizza parlor in San Jose! The mighty Siwa had invited me to come perform as she too was performing. The hostess Link opens in new window Azura was most gracious to me and invited me back.

I don't know if this venue is always like I found it this nite - the crowd was very warm and enthusiastic, and tipped too! One of my dance sisters and coworkers, the incomparable Delilah did a solo performance also - one that was very good although I was dragged backstage so I couldn't see all of it! Sad.

As for myself, I think I did pretty well - it was very nice to be able to dance among the tables - to a cabaret dancer like me, audience is everything and I like to be able to interact with them at close range. Watching the "Mighty One" (Siwa) interact was also a good learning experience for me.

I had had to re-sew my zill elastics at the last minute as BOTH thumb zills flew off of my hands during a practice this afternoon. Resewing zill elastics to compensate for stretch is only a stop gap measure - they'll only be good for two or three more wearings before the elastics re-stretch. Indeed, one of the thumb zills was working loose during the performance and I had to push it back on - time to replace those elastics with new.

1 April 2005

Performance at Kalisa's. First in quite a while - I've been busy with "overriding necessities" in my mundane life. Anyways -

I had planned to perform "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance" as well as "Solo-3 (with veil prelude)". Instead, I ended up performing a totally spontaneous dance to the well-known Belly Dance number "Chicky", while playing my Saroyan Tutankhamun zills! We dancers were fooling around at the beginning of the show and suddenly I found myself onstage!

It went pretty well overall - got a lot of compliments including one from a little girl who must have been all of 7 or 8 "You are a good dancer!" she said! Very heartwarming. Smile!

Afterwards, I also did perform Mary Jane's dance. I used a new lavender chiffon veil I bought from a dance sister. It is supposed to be a 3 yarder, but I kind of think its more like a 2 and a half - if so, it would be a good restaurant veil, I'll have to measure it.

Mary Jane's dance was not without its drama: Jamaica started my music, then promptly tripped over the CD player's cord, unplugging it! Fortunately, it was only a few seconds into the music, I hadn't even started dancing yet. Was good for a few laughs! Smile!

I also received Meissoun's (of Switzerland) new Lebanese instructional video today. Haven't had a chance to watch it yet - watch for a review on the reviews page soon!

17 March 2005

Video taping. Wiggle Woman has been working with us to video tape us as part of her upcoming video instruction DVD. We've been working on the class choreographies one at a time - this was the first one, the "Story Dance". It also happens to be my favorite of the choreographies. So we all get tarted up in our costumes (I wore my blue one), and we performed this dance about 6 times total, while the camera guy was shooting from various angles and locations, etc.

I think I did pretty well (at least for me), and had a lot of fun, even though it was HOT in the studio.

Getting ready for it was a thrash, I still had red toenails left over from a month ago, and had to lose them and repaint in blue and couldn't find my blue nail polish. I finally did, but getting ready was a bit hectic. My Kohl was more cooperative than usual though, went on really fast. Instead of wearing the Lapis earrings that I usually wear with this outfit, I wore my "Dina Hoops" (3 inch thin white gold hoops) as I figured they'd show up on camera better - we'll see!

5 March 2005

Veil Count 20.

27 February 2005

Finally added my mini-review of Wings, The Complete Technique by Ayshe. Took me most of the day to write it - there's a lot to review here. Enjoy!

19 February 2005

Actually did a little bit of teaching today! Although I've taught Greek dancing on and off for years now, this is the first time I've ever taught anything to do with Belly Dance. It was 1/2 an hour in Janette's beginners class teaching a very basic introduction to veil. Although I wasn't as organized as I could have been (being my first time at this and all), I think I did the gals some good. Taught them the right way to hold the veil, how to size one correctly, and most importantly discussed veil disaster recovery.

18 February 2005

A wonderful nite at Kalisa's! Jamaica's pro-level troupe Desert Desire put on a sterling performance as did the lovely Valeria. Very enthusiastic crowd, cheered on every dancer, including myself when I did "Solo-6/Shemadan" with my Saroyan Tutankhamun Zills. Jamaica was so happy with my performance that she tipped me!

13 February 2005

SCORE!!! SCORE!!! Smile!

Double Veil workshop with the esteemed Kamaal! I'm one of those people who "never win anything", but Kamaal had a drawing for a free pair of his 3/4 circle Tissue Lamé veils - and I won them! Now I suddenly find myself with no less than FIVE of these veils and I've yet to perform with any of them. That's gonna change REAL soon! Smile!

The workshop was WONDERFUL - I wouldn't have been able to keep up at all if I didn't already have considerable experience with double veil! As it was, I learned a LOT of new stuff! The workshop was grueling, 4 hours total with a 2 hour break in the middle, but lots of fun and very educational.

3 February 2005

Added several additional pix to Gallery 1.

30 January 2005

Totally re-arranged Gallery 1, moving all the pix from my first solo performance into the First Solo page, then placing 4 pix of the 28 Jan cane performance into the newly emptied gallery. Check it out!

29 January 2005

Casbah Cabaret - the first C.C. I've attended in months. Did "Solo-7" with Nadia's cane again - and did it MUCH better. Actually REMEMBERED to do more things. Came off quite well, if I say so myself; although I tried to end it with a dramatic drop which came out sub-optimal!

I had only prepped and intended to do one number tonite - but we were slightly short on dancers so Janette (AKA "Wiggle Woman") asked me to do a veil number. Ok, except I had no music and no veil. A dance sister offered to loan me one of her's - as she had just done a "Dance of the Seven Veils", she had a nice selection. I chose an outrageous hot pink silk veil (Thanx Lynette! Smile! ). Janette and I negotiated the music. So here I am with a strange veil and instead of the number I was expecting, a different piece comes on! My first thought was "This isn't my music" followed by "I'm just going to strangle that Janette", followed by "Oh, I recognize this music - I've never danced to it before, but it's a nice veil piece." So out I went. Janette and I had a good laugh about it afterwards!

28 January 2005

A performance of historic importance at Kalisa's:

The cane of the great Nadia Gamal returns to the stage!

After at least a 15 year hiatus, the very cane as seen in the DVD video Nadia Gamal, The Legend has been seen on a cabaret stage once again!

WOW! What a rush! As always, her cane empowers me beyond my normal skill level - it will let me do no wrong cane wise - the dancing is up to me though! Over all, not bad for a debut performance of a new technique and/or prop. Of course I forgot about half of what I had intended to do (one performance is worth ten rehearsals!), but what I did do came off very well. I find the playful, almost mincing style that goes with Raks Assaya (Cane dance) comes very easily to me - this will be one of my better props. I did this to "Solo-7".

Having a packed house of enthusiastic, warm audience helped too. Especially as previously I had done "Solo-5/Goddess Dance" with my A'Kai half circle silk veils. I had a MAJOR veil disaster onstage - the first in a very long time of any import, and only the second time I had one this bad. In attempting to get "inside" the double veils, I managed to get one over my head (the "burqa effect"). However, unlike the last time this happened (in one of my very early veil performances), I managed to recover gracefully. So gracefully that most of the audience apparently thought it was some kind of difficult trick - they applauded! Smile!

Over all, I was quite pleased with the night - and learned a lot (the most important part!).

21 January 2005

The first performance of the year! At Kalisa's, of course! YAY! It just seemed like forever since I had performed. I kept it low-key to get back into the swing of things. First I did the ever-faithful "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance" with my new lime green diaphanous chiffon veil (see the 29 December, 2004 diary entry). I really felt alive - I was very happy and emoting heavily. The audience was a good one - I really felt good about this dance. The veil is a bit clingy though.

Then I did "Solo-8/Serpentina", only the second time I've done this one. A friend in the audience said it was better than Solo-4! I didn't feel that way, but hey! It's all in the eye of the beholder.

The effervescent Jamaica was in rare form tonite - she still gives me a HUGE inferiority complex when I see her dance - her flexibility, ROM (Range Of Motion) are just first rate.

I also discovered a picture that had been in my image directory the whole time, but wasn't being displayed. It belonged in My First Belly Dance Solo - so it's there now!

10 January 2005

Add 3 new pix from my 12/03/04 performance to the bottom of Gallery 3.

9 January 2005

Well, I tried, and died... Tried to get a performance spot at Rakkasah, no joy. There's always the next festival though! Smile!

8 January 2005

A cane workshop with Natasha of Santa Cruz! This is a good example of why it is so very helpful to take the same subject matter from different teachers. About 15 months ago I took a cane workshop with Rebekah (also of Santa Cruz!). What I learned from Rebekah at that time served me well here, as the two teachers emphasized totally different aspects. I really liked some of the new stuff I picked up from Natasha today. This will help in my quest to bring Nadia's canes back to the stage!


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