A Belly Dance Diary 2006
This is what its all about! (09/25/05)
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 2006
Goddess Mother! The entire month of December is gone, and with it, 2006. Due to a horrible head cold, I missed out on several performances, but made it to the annual "First Night" celebration in Monterey. Performed 2 sets with the Greek dancers, then two more Belly Dancing with Janette's girls. We did all the troupe dances, which I only did so-so on, and I did my Shemadan dance - with a brand new Shemadan I built up myself from a "real" brass Candelabrum. Here it is...
The good news is that it is very sturdy (it should be, 6+ months of on again, off again fabrication and engineering), and looks great. Sure beats the junk coming out of Egypt. The bad news is that it is very top heavy, and much harder to balance than my other one, and it sprays wax all over the place - like in my hair. That wouldn't have been quite so bad, except I had to dance two sets. I'm going to have to put much larger wax cups on it like my old one has. I also won't be able to use this one just anywhere as it is far too tall for Kalisa's or Casbah - the bottom tier on this one is at about the same height as the top center candle on my old Shemadan. But tonight's venue was great for it, and I was well received by a standing room only audience!
2 December 2006
Casbah Cabaret. I did "Solo-9" with my king Tut zills, and "Veil-5" with my 4 yard silk "Dragon's Blood" veil. Nice turn out, nice crowd, had lotsa fun!
Janette's friend always brings her camera and takes pictures of the dancers. Sometimes she takes videos too - like the disastrous troupe performance I was in on 24 February of this year. So needless to say, we tease each other about that camera!
So just for fun, I got rid of my veil by tossing it over Shutterbug and her camera! But karmic balance was maintained, I managed to pop a blood vessel in my right eye taking my contact out when I got home. I look like Nosferatu - "The blood is the life...". The sacrifices we make for our beauty!
24 November 2006
Kalisa's. Well, not exactly...
The Friday after Thanksgiving I'd expect a lite turnout - but not this lite. Janette was sick, I was the only dancer that showed up. The middle eastern guys that are there every week were there, but that was about it. We all sat around downstairs yakking with Kalisa - show canceled. A waste of perfectly good makeup and Diesel fuel...
19 November 2006
A bunch more work on
18 November 2006
Cymbals and Their Influence on the Appearance of the Dance. New guest article by Janette.
17 November 2006
Kalisa's. You couldn't have gotten another person in there with a shoe horn...
There must have been 50 million dancers, and 150 million audience - all enthusiastic! I did "Veil-5" with my purple four yard Organza veil - and I got down on the floor for some rudimentary floorwork - kneeling undulations, Maias and the like. Apparently it didn't look too dorky - everyone said it was good, blah, blah. The crowd really liked my performance overall.
My up and coming dance brother from Santa Cruz, Sharif, did a new number in a new costume made by the mighty Siwa. He had some kind of cape like liquid Lamé half circle veil thing - that he did a new routine to that I thought of as "Batman meets the Belly Dancer". It was very, VERY good, he had wonderful hipwork, great veil that he didn't over or under do, and most importantly, he was full of grace. With his new goatee, he's starting to look like, and dance like, Prince Andrew - a well known male Belly Dancer in the LA area.
There were so many fantastic dancers there, but I must mention the fabulous Alexandra King who, I found out during her performance, had surgery for a broken ankle two months ago. Wow!
13 November 2006
A bunch more work on
11 November 2006
New video review, Veils Vol. 2, The Roman Tie by Cory Zamora.
4 November 2006
Casbah Cabaret. Large, very enthusiastic crowd. I did "BellyGram-1" with my orange Chiffon veil and Grecian Zills as Wiggle Woman wants me to start doing longer routines. Wait until "BellyGram-2"!
Anyway, it was an interesting evening. The costume I had intended to wear was missing its harem pants - I still don't know where they are. I suspect they're the same place my Tutankhamun Zills are, as I couldn't find those either. So I switch costume plans, then had all kinds of problems with the chain/mirror belt that goes with the costume I ended up using. I had to make a field repair with a safety pin.
So onstage I go, using an asymmetrical veil wrap I kyped from a dancer I saw at a show recently. I'm a symmetrical kind of a guy (which is why I wear my earrings in PAIRS!), but I like this veil wrap. "BellyGram-1" is a 3 part routine, all went well until near the end of the third part when I suddenly realized I had somehow managed to tangle my left hand with its zills with my chain/mirror belt. I had three choices: 1) Untangle it, 2) Jerk it free, 3) Ignore it. Option #1 wouldn't work despite my trying at least three times hiding it in a spin. Option #2 would have resulted in my zill clanging to the floor - so I went with Option #3.
This was a situation that I'd never heard of before, much less had happen to me. But the old hands back stage all told me that I did the right thing, they'd had it happen to them before. Whew! Live and learn!
The dance went well though, the crowd liked it, Janette liked it, so I'm content.
After the show, Janette and I conferred on stage - I should be able to do Isis wings here as long as I stay on the front half...
27 October 2006
Kalisa's. Large, enthusiastic crowd. I had a sneaking suspicion that Wiggle Woman (Janette) was up to something when she kept insisting that I go first. I hate going first and she knows that. So I talked one of my dance sisters into going first, just to mess with Janette.
So I go on second, and do "Solo-5/Goddess Dance" with my A'Kai double silk veils. Sure enough, when I'm finished and picking up my veils preparatory to leaving the stage, I'm met by Janette - who leads the crowd in singing happy birthday while her husband brings out a huge, and I mean HUGE cake.
Remember folks, never EVER trust a Belly Dancer, especially a Belly Dance teacher! So what was I going to do? I blew out the candles, then Janette had the drummer start drumming and had me do a tip dance through the crowd. I collected a LOT of tips, just how much I'm not sure. The contingent of middle eastern guys contributed a rather large wad - very much a compliment! While this was going on, the cake was being cut and passed around, so I grabbed a (paper) plate full of cake, ate a bite, and then put the whole thing on my head and proceeded to continue dancing around the room balancing this plateful of birthday cake on my head! I just HATE a Belly Dancer who likes to show off!
After that, various dancers took to the stage, all did wonderful dances. A gal from Santa Barbara, "Peggy" did a routine that included Isis wings. I've been scared to death to try them in Kalisa's - I'm big. Well, she was as tall as I am (reminded me of Jamaica), and pulled it off beautifully - albeit barely. She was within an inch of two walls and the ceiling during most of the wings portion of her performance - talk about superb control and spatial awareness! This has further convinced me not to attempt Isis wings at Kalisa's - I'm hardly at her (Peggy's) level!
Oh, I neglected to mention that she performed her wings portion wearing her zills.
Later I did my "BellyGram-1", with my varicolored four yard chiffon veil and Saroyan "Grecian" zills. The great Lana told me afterwards that I'm emoting and projecting much better. Coming from her - that means a LOT as I want to be like Lana when I grow up!
I really haven't celebrated my birthday in 30 years, this was a surprise! I told Janette that "My revenge will be slow and unpleasant. I shall turn you inside out over a very long period of time!"
21 October 2006
The evening show component of the fifth annual "Luna Gitana" festival put on by Vashti. Saw some VERY good dancing!
Two dancers stood out this evening - Namira and Yasmine, both of which did solos. Just incredible, beautiful, graceful dancing. First rate!
Sabiba, one of my favorites from San Jose did a great routine also - which she started with Isis wings! I've always admired her dancing, and she was the one who inspired me to get my own set of wings - indeed, she was the first dancer I ever saw perform with them.
There were two male dancers! DaVid was his usual stellar self, dancing a kind of Belly Dance/Bollywood fusion piece. Then there was a guy named Rashid, who I've never heard of before, although he's been around for something like 30 years. Kind of John Compton like - which is not surprising as they both have done stints with Bal Anat.
I liked Rashid. I see myself in him in a lot of ways - he's very fluid, graceful, and doesn't masculinize or do "stupid male tricks". His style is fairly similar to my own - so of course I like him!
This year's festival highlights the "Urban Tribal" style, so we had several demonstrations of this. Interesting. I won't say its my thing - and it makes the purist in me cringe; but nevertheless its entertaining. Too industrial for my taste (that would be the "Urban" in "Urban Tribal"), but interesting. More importantly, it was danced and costumed in good taste, which suddenly seems to be an increasingly scarce commodity in Belly Dance land of late.
20 October 2006
Can you believe I actually was able to finally dance tonite? Kalisa's, of course. Small, but nice crowd. I did "Solo-3 with veil prelude", and "Veil-5". I used my purple organza veil both times, as well as my King Tut Zills with the former. Had several nice comments from the crowd.
Veil-5 is my heavy emotion piece - danced to Light Rain's "Dark Fire". It went very well, in fact I could tell Jamaica liked it by the expression on her face while I was dancing it.
Had a dance sister go down during her solo - poor thing! She's a great gal and a good dancer - her foot caught in her harem pants and she was unable to recover. Anyone who has ever worn harem pants is familiar with the phenomenon. Fortunately, nothing was hurt except her pride. Group hugs all around.
Then the gal at the booth at the parking garage complimented me on my appearance (what she could see of it). She liked my makeup and my bindi - she was (East) Indian. She wanted to know what kind of dancer I was (I gave her my card), and if I had ever tried a Sari. Can't say as I have, but always wanted to - they are so pretty! Of course, I wouldn't have a clue on how to wrap the darn thing, sounds like a "Major Male Moment" in the making - I'd best stick to my skirts...
15 October 2006
A new video mini-review! This one took the longest yet to write up as there is a LOT of material: Gothic Bellydance.
14 October 2006
I've been sick for a couple of weeks on and off, so still more work on
8 October 2006
More work on
7 October 2006
Casbah Cabaret. What a blast!
Smallish to medium sized crowd, but very enthusiastic. I did "Solo-5/Goddess Dance" with my A'Kai double veils and "Solo-9" with my King Tut Zills. Both came off quite well if I say so myself. And my back didn't even tweak!
But enough about me. My wife did a solo, Suzanne from Santa Cruz (Sahar's #1 student) did an incredible cane number - improvised to music she hadn't heard before when her CD failed to play. Also, Annette, a "new" dance sister did not only her first performance, but her first SOLO tonite - we're all so very proud of her! She did fantastic!
6 October 2006
I injured my back a few years ago on the job, and have been under regular chiropractic care ever since. Every once in a while, I have a flare up - like today! After my adjustment, my Chiropractor told me "Thank God you're a Belly Dancer!" while he put me through my paces: Hip slides, bend forward, bend backwards (NERB, Not Exactly Rachel Brice, but I did pretty good considering! ), Maias and then he told me to shimmy! I've never had a doctor tell me to shimmy before!
My back is much better now...
1 October 2006
Performance at the Central Avenue Bakery in Pacific Grove. This is a new BD venue that has been opened up by Jamaica, but its the first time I've performed there. This was the inaugural event for the brand new Monterey Bay chapter of MECDA.
I performed my "Solo-6/Shemadan" with my King Tut Zills. Jayna, of the BellyDance SuperStars was there and complimented me on my performance! She also did a performance to die for!
30 September 2006
More work on
24 September 2006
Wings! Workshop on wings and veil with Ma*Shuqa of Los Gatos. I have heard much about this famed teacher, but today was my first encounter with her.
The wings portion was exactly what the doctor ordered. It gave me some experience with them at a elemental level, which I needed. I now have a bit of confidence with them, and can "grow from here".
I would have dismissed the veil portion as too elemental, except that A) I always enjoy playing veil, and more importantly B) She showed enough veil combinations that I had never seen before to keep me practicing them for some time! I had several "male moments" with my veil wrapped around my head or whatever, and blundered around with her combinations almost to the point of embarrassment. In other words, not elemental at all!
She's a good teacher, and a nice person! I'll be taking from her in the future I'm sure! She is the first dancer I've encountered who, like myself, likes Organza as a veil fabric!
22 September 2006
Kalisa's. "BellyGram-1" with my Tutankhamun Zills and four yard "Dragon's Blood" silk veil. I feel this was one of my best performances ever, if not the best. So did Janette, Lana, Lynette, and evidently; the crowd. The medium sized crowd was VERY enthusiastic about my dance! I felt more confidence, projected better, and was far more emotional than ever. My arms were better too. I think it was one of those "perfect storm" events. Fahtiem and Aradia's workshops on the cruise unlocked something I think. I just hope it sticks!
The Goddess Athena has blessed me this day.
15-18 September 2006
Arabian Nights at Sea 2006 Belly Dance cruise. This makes the third year in a row we've gone on this cruise, and this was the best one yet!
I took a total of six workshops this year. The first one on Friday nite was with John Compton. This was the first time he was teaching something I was interested in (as our styles are VERY different), but I've always admired his dancing and was thrilled to take from him. It was called "Be Seen & Be Heard" - Zill patterns and combinations. John's teaching style is informative, clear, and funny!
The second, Saturday Morning, was an Egyptian, Lebanese, & Turkish Combos class with Aradia of Las Vegas. As I've "known" Aradia a bit through my contact with her on the discussion boards at Bhuz, I was anticipating a great workshop. I was not disappointed.
Third was a veil workshop with the incomparable Aziza Sa'id. Now, I know my way around a veil - but Aziza taught me several new "tricks" and recoveries as well as some good projection techniques. You just cannot know too many recovery techniques...
Sunday was the tough day - I started with another workshop with Aradia - this one was Taksim technique. I think Aradia managed to "break" a blockage in my brain - I feel like I can now actually dance a Taksim - the workshop was great!
Following that was a "Folkloric Basket Dance" with tribal/henna instructor Mahalia. The dance was simple enough, but just a TON of fun! I really enjoyed this class.
The last class was with the stellar Fahtiem. Long time readers of this site know that I'm Fahtiem's #1 fan - the gal is just pure class in everything she does and is a model all of us should aspire to. I took her "Hands and Arms" class, which was nothing less than what I'd expect - pure excellence. I also purchased her new video on the same subject.
I did not dance at the hafla this year - it was a choice of performing or taking Fahtiem's class! But I must have made an impression as there were a LOT of dancers who wanted to talk to me about my performance last year!
Lots of friends and acquaintances were there, including Sharif, the mighty Siwa, and for the very first time - Wiggle Woman (Janette)!! She had come at my recommendation and had such a good time (read: beat herself to a pulp!) that she, as well as ourselves, have already signed up for next year's cruise!
13 September 2006
What fun! Sahar's class tonite featured the beginning of our learning a veil choreography! I've already learned a couple of new veil moves from her. YAY!
12 September 2006
Its been a year and a half since I last waded through all the links on my two links pages. Added a couple, updated a few, and deleted more than I would have liked - including some old friends. So, as of this date, all the links are good!
30 August 2006
Significant revisions to an existing article: Teaching a Male Student. As always, I invite feedback.
26 August 2006
More work on
20 August 2006
To repeat my entry of 6 August:
I hurt. I have things I didn't know I had, and they all hurt. My feet hurt, my calves hurt, my thighs hurt. Everything hurts! In addition to muscular pain, my feet have proto-blisters on their bottoms...
But is OK, it only hurts when I move or stay still!
Workshop with Nourhan Sharif, five hours long (with a one hour break). I wouldn't say that she showed me anything I hadn't seen before (although not necessarily in the combinations she uses), but she drilled us over and over and over again until the movements stuck! I really like drill type class as opposed to choreographies. She was very kind also - she apologized to me during the break for her female-centric language. I told her not to worry about it for an instant - that I consider myself an "Honorary Woman" in this context, etc., blah, blah.
Highly recommended! I also bought her cane video...
19 August 2006
Performance with Janette's troupe at the Monterey County Fair. Wore the same new costume I wore at Kalisa's on 12 August - and here's a picture from that performance, my lovely wife Zarah and myself:
I do need to get some different Harems to go with this rather than the Dragon's Blood seen here. Anyways, back to today's performance. We did all the troupe dances (Saroyan Tutankhamun Zills for the Karsilima), and I even did the dreaded Talakik! I'm actually beginning to grok the troupe dances - choreography is the bane of my existence, but slow and sure... Huge audience, lots of fun, even if it is kind of weird being in makeup and sparkelies outside at 1:30 in the afternoon!
I have a FIVE HOUR workshop tomorrow - this is gonna hurt!
17 August 2006
More work on
13 August 2006
Hafla! Masala Imports in Santa Cruz puts on a quarterly hafla. This was my first time there - but I don't think it will be my last! Everybody but everybody was there in the local BD scene. Very nice, supportive atmosphere.
First, I did the Sashkin dance with Sahar's troupe, then I did a solo (Mary Jane's dance - most folks here had never seen it), then finished with the "Story Dance" with Janette, my wife Zarah, and Thiem. The wind did "interesting" things with my veil (Four yard orange chiffon, what was I thinking?!) during Mary Jane's dance. It kept wrapping it around me when I would spin in one direction - so I spun the other way!
A very nice way to spend an afternoon!
12 August 2006
Kalisa's. Kalisa has been trying to get Belly Dancing to "work" on Saturday nite as well as Fridays. This particular nite there were 6 audience and 3 dancers: Janette, my wife Zarah, and myself.
The audience was VERY cool, all but one were women, so we kind of had a very casual nite - taught the women a few moves and danced a bit with them. The three of us did most of Janette's troupe dances, Zarah did her "Solo-2", and I did a couple of numbers - three actually. The first was a spontaneous dance to the song "Chicky", which was playing, so I grabbed my Zills (Grecians) and up I went. Then, just for fun, I did the solo I did last year at DDF, the enhanced version of my old favorite "Mary Jane's Dance". I used the same zills and my dark red chiffon 3 yard veil. Then I grabbed my A'Kais and did "Solo-5/Goddess Dance".
It was HOT - I was totally DRENCHED in sweat, it was literally dripping off of my costume - a brand new one that I had never worn before (Pix coming in a couple of days!). Destroyed my hair, ruined my makeup, blah, blah!
When I did "Solo-5", the veils kept sticking to my back. Sweated up isn't a good mix with veils!
6 August 2006
I hurt. I have things I didn't know I had, and they all hurt. My feet hurt, my calves hurt, my thighs hurt. Everything hurts! In addition to muscular pain, my feet have proto-blisters on their bottoms...
Started the day with a brief performance with Janette's troupe at the farmer's market in the local town of Marina where we did several troupe dances. Was a lot of fun, and we were rewarded with fruits and vegetables - several of which I've never seen before!
Then in the afternoon, I had a workshop with Janelle of Santa Cruz. Three hours long. An excellent workshop - although frankly, this one was a bit over my head. Can that gal layer! And she has the fastest camels I've ever seen, in either/both direction(s). Wow! She warped my brain by layering a Maia over what we in Greek dancing call a "Grapevine Flip". Its gonna take me a bit to get that down - but as I'm proud of my Maias as well as my Grapevines (Neither of which came easily to me), this one I'm going to have to pound on until I get it. Of course the infuriating Wiggle Woman thought it was easy! I all but literally crawled home from the workshop!
5 August 2006
A first of sorts. Two separate, distinct Belly Dance performances in one day! First, a performance at the Cabrillo Music Festival in downtown Santa Cruz with Sahar's Serpentine Dancers! We did a choreography called "Sashkin" - simple but very cool. I can actually enjoy the whole troupe experience, the "sisterhood thing" with a choreo like this. Played my Tutankhamun Zills.
Then it was around the bay to Monterey, and Janette's monthly "Casbah Cabaret" where I did "Solo-8/Serpentina". At the very last minute, I grabbed a veil, my 4 yard varicolored chiffon, and did the first third of this number with it. Discarding the veil, I danced the rest of the number without it. Nice, enthusiastic crowd.
26 July 2006
Some updates with
20 July 2006
Kalisa's. Another VERY hot nite. Fortunately, unlike last time it was this hot, I was more sensible about my dance choice. I did good 'ol "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance" with a 3 yard gold Lamé veil given to me by a friend. I normally start spinning at the beginning of this dance, having grasped the veil (which is draped over my head) "any old way", and find the edge and "fix it" in my spin. Well... this veil didn't want me to find the edge, and as I'd never danced with it before (Bad Zorba!), I discarded it early and continued without it. Crowd was medium sized, but rather dead...
I also wore the "Mark II" version of my new costume first worn on 5/26 - much better if I say so myself (although I plan on adding a belly drape)! Here's a picture taken with my wings just before I left for Kalisa's. This costume will be my wings costume I think...
16 July 2006
I've gotten behind on my video mini-reviews! I finally added another one tonite: The Best of Alexandra King 1984-1994. I still have at least four more to do! Enjoy!
1 July 2006
Casbah Cabaret. Started out to do two dances, the first of which was "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance". My CD failed to play in Janette's CD player - which was acting up all evening. Although it plays fine in my CD player, I'll make another copy as it is getting old and scratchy.
I did manage to do "Solo-6/Shemadan", playing my usual Tutankhamun Zills. It came off very well.
A number of dancers were in attendance tonite, including Hassan, the effervescent Lana, and my brother in dance from Santa Cruz, Sharif. Sharif is growing in this dance far faster than I did at his stage, and has gotten very good at handling his veils, a pair of A'Kai silks. Like myself before him, it took him a bit of practice to get used to the brittle handling of silk double veils, but he's got it down!
30 June 2006
Student nite at the La Ida (Kalisa's)! A bevy of beautiful Belly Dancers. I did "Veil-4a/Power Double Veil" with Kamaal's silver & gold 3/4 circle Lamé veils, followed immediately by "Solo-8/Serpentina" where I danced into the crowd. Was very well received. I must also mention one of my dance sisters, Susan, who did an absolute KNOCKOUT DRUM SOLO! You go girl!
20 June 2006
Alliance on Aging Senior Luncheon - again! Those seniors really like me! I did "Solo-6a/Shemadan", "Veil-5/Dark Fire", "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance", and "Solo-9". Although I don't like using a four yard veil in this venue, I had no choice as my four yard purple organza veil was the only one that matched my costume. I played my Tutankhamun zills.
As always in this venue, I was very well received. The seniors love me, and usually tip well. However, I brought my lovely wife with me as an assistant to light up the Shemadan (which really impressed the crowd) - but her presence inhibited the little old ladies, they were afraid to tip me with her there!
Which was utterly silly, of course - it must be a generational thing. We had a good laugh about it on the drive home...
10 June 2006
Added a new Clip Art page!
9 June 2006
New solo! This one would be "Solo-9", and is danced to a John Beljikian number from the album "Middle Eastern Soul" (Hi Cory! ). This is a very classical sounding number and the first time I've ever performed to music like this - I suddenly found that I understood this music where I hadn't before. It really affects how I dance - I've never danced like this before either. I played my Tutankhamun Zills with it, but in a more "clicky" quieter way than I normally do - this music called for this technique.
Beforehand, I had performed "Veil-1" with my 4 yard "Dragon's Blood" silk veil. I took the emoting lessons I've been learning from "Veil-5", and brought them to this number.
The large crowd was very enthusiastic, my dances were received well. I am content.
8 June 2006
Can you believe I finally, actually, played with my new wings today?! First, I had to cut the rods to the correct length (for me), slide them into their pockets on the wings, then sew the pocket shut. Ayshe's video was very handy in this regard. I just popped it into my handy-dandy portable mini DVD-player and went right to the section on "How to hold your wings", which not only told me how to hold them correctly, but also told me how to gauge the correct rod length.
This is NOT easy...
What in this dance form is? I see another six or nine month flail and lots of frustration ahead of me - just like with double veil. Despite Ayshe's top notch video, I'm going to try to seek out a semi-local expert to do some coaching (at some point).
What I've learned so far:
- Ayshe is dead on right. You MUST have good posture, esp. upper body posture with these things. Any slouching shows up and is magnified by the wings. You just can't have these pretty wings, and not have a pretty posture to go with them.
- They're hot! Even though I practice topless, the thick, reflective gold Lamé reflects and holds body heat.
- They're HUGE. I knew that, but when you put 'em on, you start to realize you just can't open your full wingspan of NINE FEET just anywhere! If I had purchased custom wings from Ayshe, they probably would have approached TEN! I'm going to have to do at least some practice at Janette's studio where I can go all out with them.
My little studio at home will barely allow me to spin with them, and I'm so close to hitting the walls that I can't relax enough to concentrate on technique. Can't fully extend overhead unless I'm in one end of the room. The living room is worse, although much larger, it has some inconveniently located overhead light fixtures. No thanx, been there, done that, got the T-shirt, going on Oprah! I'm not interested in breaking the fixtures like I did when I was learning simultaneous veil and zills! If I avoid the light fixtures, I'll knock all the "stuff" off the top of the piano!
- They don't float like my beloved silk veils. They don't even float like my Lamé veils. They're heavy, it takes a lot of strength and power to hold 'em up. Being a guy will help here I think.
And then I did a bit of practice with the "Genesis device" for what I'm calling "Project Genesis", a duette that Janette and I are planning for this year's ANAS cruise - although we may do a practice performance beforehand at Kalisa's or a CC. But until we perform it, it is top secret, thus the code name. HA!
So, between all the classes I'm in, the wings of Isis, the Genesis Project, and the real need to come up with some new material, esp. a new multi-part routine; Goddess Herself only knows when I'm going to get all this done!
As for the ongoing "situation" with my latest costume, I've decided to ditch the black harems altogether, and replace them with red or yellow silk - and a string skirt in yellow or red (opposite of the harems). The black harems are shedding their shisha mirrors like an Old English Sheepdog sheds hair in the spring - another blow against them (NOT the costumer's fault, but rather the fault of the shisha mirror fabric). The good news is that I've needed a good pair of harems for class/practice anyway, these are cool, comfortable, and washable. Win-win.
5 June 2006
This just in.
The new costume from 5/26. Not the greatest facial, and I'm not too sure about the shoulders either... However, the new costume can be seen in all its glory. I'm not super happy with it, its just a bit too folkloric looking for this cabaret dancer. Needs some spicing up. The black harems don't do it for me, Shisha mirrors on them or no. The bottom edge of the top is too straight - but Artemis and I both think that can be fixed with dual coin drapes meeting at the middle or something similar. Hmmm.... Just thinking perhaps one of those string skirt things, in bright red might be just the thing to jazz up those black harems! I'll have to think on it a bit...
3 June 2006
Casbah Cabaret. First CC I've danced at in months! Light but enthusiastic crowd. "Veil-5/Dark Fire" with my four yard varicolored orange chiffon veil. Went well enough.
2 June 2006
Kalisa's. Wonderful nite, even if it was hotter than the brazen hinges of H, E, double hockey sticks! A stellar cast of dancers, including Jamaica, Artemis, Valeria, Lana, Shorsha, Lynn, et al. I did "BellyGram 1" (with my Saroyan Tutankhamun Zills and my gigantic (2 X 4 Yard) blue-to-pink graduated organza veil), and it came off much better than my performances last week; although I don't know what possessed me to do a 12 minute, very vigorous routine as hot as it was! Totally destroyed my makeup, and didn't do my hair any favors either! Sweat just poured off of me! Fortunately, I didn't have to go back on stage or enter a beauty contest...
31 May 2006
I've missed the last 3 classes with Sahar due to either being out of town or sick or both. So tonite was a return to her class. The choreography that we were working on before I "left", has become a very polished and cute piece. The class will be performing it on 3 June - I will not due to a comedy of errors involving prior performance commitments that were later canceled, blah, blah.
I'm very proud to be dancing with these gals though. They'll do themselves proud!
26 May 2006
First performance in six plus weeks! Kalisa's. Man, it sure felt good to get back into the swing of things! Medium sized crowd, medium sized enthusiasm. I wore my brand new costume Laurel Sills made for me from a shisha mirror drummer's vest. The vest was drastically cut down, and the cut off portion made into a belt, with tassels and bells everywhere. That with a pair of black shisha mirror harem pants, completes the outfit. It results in a more folkloric look than is my wont, kind of a "tribal but bare" appearance.
First, I did "Solo-5/Goddess Dance" with my ever favorite A'Kai silk double veils. Almost went on stage still in my coverup! Then I did "Solo 6a/Shemadan" with my Saroyan Tutankhamun zills. Quite a while since I performed with the candelabra. Lastly (Yea, I was kept busy!), I did "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance" using a borrowed veil that I think belongs to Theim.
All three performances were "Okay". A bit rusty (despite practice beforehand), but "Good enough" albeit not "great" or "wonderful". About what I'd expect after a six week hiatus.
Saw three dancers down from San Jose - ages 17, 15, and 10. They all were FANTABULOUS! I love to see children dancing - I can only hope that they never give it up!
25 May 2006
By not-so-popular request, I've resurrected a very old article, Could Belly Dance Save The World?. It was so old I didn't even have a copy of it, I retrieved it from one of those "We archive the whole web" sites! Tweaked it to match the current design scheme and stuck it back up! Enjoy...
7 May 2006
Lana finished the mural in Janette's studio at last - so of course I had to put up a Photo Montage! I also linked it from the bottom of Gallery 4
29 April 2006
Not much going on performance-wise as I'm gearing up for an upcoming wedding, building a new deck, etc. However, I have been taking an ongoing series of workshops with the fabulous Valeria, who is always a storehouse of knowledge and a TON of fun to boot! Also, this picture from the "Good Old Days" performance of 8 April:
And just for fun:
I bet this guy could do a mean sword dance in his day!
Maybe he did veilwork too!
15 April 2006
Same veil, different dance! Did "Veil-5/Dark Fire" with the same veil I used last nite - but at a TOTALLY different venue. Janelle, a teacher in Santa Cruz and Hollister had her first Casbah Cabaret inspired event at the Cloud Nine Dance Studio in Hollister.
What a wonderful venue - and a wonderful group of talented dancers! In addition to my solo, our own Janette did her magic dance, Sahara Rose did a solo, greetings go again to the fabulous Shorsha and Marie who performed, as well as Janelle's students who all performed in various combinations. Kelly and Vicky really stood out as performers - and I actually managed to remember their names!
As for my solo - it went pretty well even if I did manage to step on my veil once. Several people complimented me on it. I also participated in the "Story Dance" troupe dance with my lovely wife Zarah, Emily, and the afore mentioned Sahara Rose - which came off a whole lot better than the catastrophe of 24 February!
14 April 2006
Performance at Kalisa's. I did my "BellyGram 1" with my blue/red/orange/whatever multi-colored four yard chiffon veil and Tutankhamun Zills. Then Janette and I did the new cane dance as a duette (Nadia's cane #1). Nice energy tonite, saw the great Shalimar who WE MISS VERY MUCH!
13 April 2006
Major additions to my article: So You Want to be a Veil Dancer, Huh? after receiving a LOT of positive feedback and questions.
9 April 2006
Second day of workshop with Alexandra. This one was Persian classical dance - which is way different from our Belly Dance. It is, however, not only beautiful, but is the key to the "Standing Taxim", which is something I'm very interested in right now. I didn't have a clue as to the feel of a taxim, now I think I just might. It will be a help to me.
Alexandra is really big on aesthetics of dance - which resonates with me! She also managed to successfully teach me lotus hands - which I've been wanting to learn for a LONG time, but didn't "get" other people's attempts to teach this move to me! I just have to practice and smooth it out now!
8 April 2006
Workshop with the fabulous Alexandra King, a traveling steps and combos class. As always, Alexandra was wonderful - and beat us (My wife and I) to a pulp.
Then, it was on to Pacific Grove's "Good Old Days" festival where we performed with Janette's girls. We did a bunch of troupe dances, including the new cane dance (I used Nadia's "cane #2"). I also did a veil solo (four yard purple organza veil) to a piece of music Janette provided - I've danced to it before, but it seemed to go on forever! This was also the very first time I've ever done veilwork outdoors - fortunately the wind was very light, but I quickly learned to work with the wind... I also played my Saroyan Tutankhamun zills in one of the troupe dances, the Karshilima.
The only sour note on the whole day was the fact that my veil now needs to be washed as it got dropped in a puddle of beer in the parking lot we were performing in.
7 April 2006
New article! So You Want to be a Veil Dancer, Huh? As always, I invite feedback.
31 March 2006
Student nite at Kalisa's. An absolute TON of dancers, lots of enthusiastic crowd, and a lot of fun! It was "Solo-5/Goddess dance" with my pair of A'Kai silk double veils. It was received well, although the veils did insist on p*ssing me off! No-one in the audience knew anything was amiss - which is as it should be! When we have a lot of dancers like tonite, I know it will be a late one, but Holy Goddess Mother! It was Midnite when I got back to the car!
I also got to wear my new Eyescream bat necklace/earring set! Too cool...
By the way, it has come to my attention that a lot of people like to follow this diary - which is way cool! If you've never signed my Guestbook, please consider it. Even if you have signed it in the past, feel free to sign it again if you like! I promise I don't bite!
28 March 2006
New vid from last year's ANAS on my Motion Picture Page.
26 March 2006
Rakkasah. My wife and I skipped Rakkasah last year as we had just moved, blah, blah. This year we spent most of the day Sunday at this HUGE festival.
I didn't go too nutso shopping as I have a good supply of costume bits now. I bought a new cover up from Artemis Imports, the most recent video from IAMED ("Belly Dance Live", look for a review after I get caught up with my other videos!), a bat-themed necklace and earring set from my favorite jewelry vendor Eyescream Jewelry, and Fahtiem's latest CD, "Spellbound" when I ran into her on the main floor.
Then there was the "old home week" aspect - I ran into all kinds of dancers I hadn't seen in awhile. Besides the stellar Fahtiem, I ran into DaVid, Victoria, Janette, Numa'ir, Jim Boz, and a number of others. Jamaica was there as well, but I didn't see her. Sharif, Nakisa, and Aruba were also among the "bump intos".
Performances I caught included Fahtiem who put on a fantastic performance of course. Jim Boz I saw for the very first time, as I also did with Momo Kadous. Suzanne Del Vechio was incredible as well.
This is the first Rakkasah I've attended when I did NOT come home with at least one new veil - although I was sorely tempted! I'm really wanting most of my new veils to be four yarders - which are generally not to be found at a venue like Rakkasah and must be special ordered. I have plenty of three yard veils already and don't want that many more.
In an update to the situation with the dance sister last Friday, my wife and I ran into her as well. She's doing better, but shaky. Group hug all around.
24 March 2006
Kalisa's. Kind of a bummer of a nite, overall. We had a tiny, lukewarm crowd; 4 dancers, and not very good energy. I did "Solo-7/Cane dance" with Nadia Gamal's cane, and "Solo-5/Goddess dance" with my pair of A'Kai silk double veils. I was reasonably pleased with both, but its hard dancing under these conditions. To crown the whole thing, one of our dance sisters left abruptly - obviously very depressed - leaving the rest of us bewildered, confused and afraid.
Oh well, I guess they can't all be good nites, can they?
17 March 2006
Kalisa's. A wonderful nite - good crowd, lots of dancers, good energy. I did the ever present "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance" which is, as always, in honor of the late Mary Jane Skopos. I also did "Veil-5/Dark Fire" again - and managed to pull the emotion out once again. It went very well. This is definitely the hardest dance for me to date - just because of the emotion content. Dark and sultry in a totally non-sexual way. I used "Greenie", my 3 yard bright green (In honor of St. Patrick's day) silk veil - which happens to be my very first veil I ever bought (from Jamaica).
I was very pleased to hear random comments from the audience about "Dark Fire" - I usually don't hear what they say/think about me unless they come up to me. I heard several people discussing said dance after I got off stage - they really liked it!
12 March 2006
A bit of extra time today, so I added a mini-review of the video Learn the Lost Art of Floor Moves by Cory Zamora. I've only had this video for about a year, and finally got around to watching it! Its good, its very good.
11 March 2006
A private party performance with four other dancers, including Janette. We were background, or "atmosphere" dancers for a black tie party for the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS). The guest of honor was Ted Turner!
Janette had put together a CD for an hour long performance with a mix of music, including all the class choreographies and other favorites. We did the choreographies when their music came on by mutual unspoken consent. We had originally planned to free dance among the tables - and we did during the non choreography music - but the choreography music drew us together when it played.
I played my Zildjian Zills (HUGE venue), and used my 3-yard burgundy chiffon veil. The ladies most definitely loved me, and many of the men like me as well. One gal told me she liked my (red) toenails. I thanked her and told her that they needed to match my earrings. The look on her (male) companion's face was priceless!
A couple of thoughts. Those who have read my Gender Rant know I detest suits & ties, and refuse to wear such things as I consider them the "male burqa". So I felt very liberated and free dancing among a roomful of suits. I was the only male in the room that had on anything remotely resembling "pretty" or "beautiful" and I was reveling in it! Not to mention my outfit was the most comfortable as well!
The ladies, of course, were far better dressed; being "allowed" to dress individually as they saw fit. Spotted a pair of earrings on one gal that I'm going to have to try to find...
8 March 2006
A new teacher!
I'm taking a "sabbatical" from Jamaica's Wednesday nite class to take a class with one of her teachers: Sahar of Santa Cruz. Tonite was my first class with her. She teaches a mixed level (beginner through advanced) class she calls "mostly Egyptian cabaret".
The mixed level concept is one I've heard of, but have never experienced before. Its an interesting class experience! I enjoyed her class thoroughly, and I think she's going to be good for my dance - the tighter, more subtle "disciplined" Egyptian style will do me good - plus next week she promised we can do veils with the choreography we worked on this week. This is definitely something new for me veilwise - oh goody!
Wiggle Woman (Janette) likes her too, and recommended her to me when I asked about her. Then I read her (Sahar's) resumé on her WebSite - GULP! This gal knows her stuff! I also found out that Santa Cruz based male Belly Dancer Ganapati has been known to drop in to her class.
4 March 2006
The cold is better, but not by much. So I added yet another mini-review. This time its Raqs Sharqi Lubnani (Lebanese Style Belly Dance) by Meissoun. No doubt poor Meissoun has long since given up on me writing this - I promised her I'd do it last year when I bought the video!
3 March 2006
Home with the head cold from H.E. double hockey sticks. So I added a mini-review of the video Cory Zamora Dances For You by Cory Zamora. Enjoy!
2 March 2006
Some updates with
24 February 2006
Kalisa's. Very slow nite - a total of only four (4) dancers, and about seven (7) or eight (8) audience. A pretty low energy nite...
Which was perfect for my third attempt at "Veil-5". Third time was the charm, I was FINALLY able to get the emotion out of this one (red 3 yard chiffon veil). One of my dance sisters told me it was the best she had EVER seen me dance - and Janette's husband Michael (who was running the sound) said to the audience afterward that "that was intense". So I'm pretty happy - this was/is a hard number for me - very "smokey/sultry" and full of emotion.
I also did "Solo-3", the good old standby (Saroyan Grecian Zills). And then there was the "Story dance"; Janette's choreography. Its a long story but the short version is that three of the four dancers present got up to do this while the fourth (Janette) watched from the audience. We like *TOTALLY* blew it. Praise the great Goddess Athena Parthenos that it was a small audience (who was good natured about the whole thing.)! The good news is that while we knew we were in serious trouble, we just laughed and had a good time anyway! What else were we gonna do?
Poor Janette kept getting farther, and farther from the stage as this mess progressed, I found her downstairs afterwards! I guess she just couldn't bear to watch - she said it was really bad. If Janette says something's "really bad" it was really, really REALLY BAD.
14 February 2006
Time to say "farewell" to Tweedledee and Tweedledum, my first pair of half circle (Tissue Lamé) veils. Although its a sad moment, I've never parted company with any of my "children", my veils, before; they are going to a good home with one of my dance sisters on Bhuz. I haven't danced with them in some time - as beautiful as they are - as I really prefer my A'Kai silks ones now, or Kamaal's 3/4 circle veils for Tissue Lamé.
12 February 2006
First workshop of the new year with DaVid. DaVid was among the first male Belly Dancers I contacted when I was first just "thinking about it". He has always been very encouraging and kind. I've always been a fan of his dancing.
So, I took his Sai'idi stick workshop - basically a cane workshop but with a longer, straight stick. Virtually everything can be transferred to the regular cane like I use. He taught me tricks with a cane I'd never even dreamed of - way, way cool! He is a very good instructor.
You might have noticed that the "Male Belly Dancer Costume For Sale" link on the main page is gone. It has finally been sold to a lady who thinks it will fit a male dancer she knows. If it doesn't, look for it to appear in the Chicago area. I loved that costume, too bad it was about half my size!
The Isis wings have landed, they arrived all neatly folded up in a priority mail box. I went out and bought acrylic rods for them, but have yet to find time to play. It will most likely be quite a while before I perform with them, but we'll see! They sure are pretty!
Also, some updates with
6 February 2006
I guess I've arrived... (!)
I received my first "icky" booking attempt. A well-meaning dance sister forwarded me a query looking for 2-3 male Belly Dancers for an "Event Promotion". Said "Event" turned out to be a premiere of an adult film when I called. My dance sister was, of course, horrified as she had passed the query on in all innocence!
I don't care if the film in question was a harem-scarem orientalist fantasy picture or not, I don't hold with dragging my art through the muck like that! Thanks, but no thanks!
4 February 2006
Casbah Cabaret. All in all, a good nite. I had had a bit of a struggle getting dressed - my contacts gave me fits, my toenails needed repainting (blue/green just would NOT have gone with my orange costume), and to top it all off, my beaded necklace exploded. All this loveliness was before I even got out of the house. Sigh!
I did "Veil-5/Dark Fire" again - although it still isn't "there" yet, it was much, much better than last time. I was at least able to feel the music without all the excess energy issues I had to deal with previously. Of course, practicing it multiple times helped too! I used my four yard orange chiffon veil.
My second number was "Veil 4a/Power Double Veil" with the red and orange pair of 3/4 circle tissue lamé veils make by Kamaal. This one came off well enough.
My lovely wife Zarah did her "Solo-2", Sharif and his wife Nakisa did a duette, Hassan, Artemis, and the mighty Siwa all performed. Special guest Laurel from the Bay Area came and danced with us as well. A fun nite!
31 January 2006
Wings, wings, WINGS! I purchased a pair of "oops!" (AKA Seconds) gold lamé Isis wings from A'Kai Silks for a VERY good price. I've been wanting Isis wings for a long time - now the question is WHERE will I perform with them? I'm a big guy - I'll have about a 10 foot wingspan with these! Kalisa's stage is too small, Casbah's stage is even smaller, although it may be doable there with some advance planning. I have to learn how to dance with them first anyway - thank Goddess I have Ayshe's video.
27 January 2006
Kalisa's 80th birthday party at Kalisa's, of course!
I did a new veil number, that was both a success and a failure...
It was a success - especially for the first time I performed something - because I was able to bring about 66% of what I had practiced onto the stage the very first time. It was also a dismal failure as the beautiful, slow, moody, and introspective music was in direct contrast to the upbeat, "poppy" and fast music that EVERYONE else saw fit to use tonite. It was not entirely possible for me to recapture the mellow feeling I had had and needed to have to do it to its full potential. So I'm a bit depressed on that regard - I really love the music and the dance and will try it again soon - maybe at Casbah Cabaret.
I'm calling this one "Veil-5/Dark Fire", and I used a pink to purple graduated color organza veil that I've only ever danced with once before - its a huge four yard extra wide veil and its perfect for this dance. This is my first veil piece that isn't really about the veil, its about the dance and the veil is just a prop and a frame for the most part.
On the other hand, the audience (Absolutely PACKED) seemed to like it well enough...
My lovely wife Zarah did her "Solo-3" for the very first time tonite!
25 January 2006
Big news with
Although I generally do NOT document my Greek Dance life here, I had a gig tonite that definitely deserves mentioning. I had previously demoed and taught a couple of simple Greek Dances to a group of fourth graders at the local Waldorf school. The kids just loved me, and wanted me to come back. So did the teachers, so I went back this evening so the parents could participate also. Taught and danced Hassapiserviko and Tsamiko with them. Everyone had a blast, including me. This time, as last, the all loved my traditional Foustanella (Male skirt). I wore the white one the first time, the black one this time.
Anyway, they plan to have me back yet a third time to demo/teach Belly Dance! Cool, way cool! And they presented this to me, bless them:
Its called "Death by Chocolate", and boy is it good!
20 January 2006
First performance at Kalisa's this year. I did "Solo-7", my cane number, with Nadia's cane "#1". I also did "Veil-1" with a borrowed 3/4 circle veil that is kind of hard to describe. Sort of a iridescent rainbow effect, vaguely similar to that "space tape" stuff you used to see everywhere in the 70s. Thanx to Lana for the loan of the veil.
This was the first time I've ever done a single veil routine with any type of a semi-circular veil - 1/2 or 3/4. There was also an unrelated lesson to be learned tonite. I did the cane routine first, while I was waiting backstage for my turn, my dance sister immediately ahead of me in the lineup started her veil routine - to my horrified ears it was to my music for my "Veil-1" routine I was planning later!
The dance sister and I had a good laugh about it later - she had always wanted to dance a veil number to that particular piece, and chose tonite of all nites to do it! Furthering the weirdness factor of it all was that I:
A) Had last danced "Veil-1" in July of 2004 as a double veil piece, May of 2004 as single veil; and:
B) Had originally intended to perform my "Veil-3" number, and had switched to "Veil-1" only because I thought it would go better with Lana's veil!!
Lesson learned: I should have brought both pieces. Always have backup music if possible so you can switch at the venue as needed!
Of course, my dance sister could have apologized for "stealing" my music by presenting me with that nice veil she danced to it with!
10 January 2006
First performance of the new year! "Back by popular demand", I danced for the good seniors at the weekly Alliance on Aging luncheon. I did "Solo-8/Serpentina", followed immediately by "Belly Gram #1" (Long version). Used my Saroyan Tutankhamun Zills, and my three yard burgundy chiffon veil - which worked way better in this venue than the four yard veil I used last time. Three yards makes a good "restaurant veil" for a dancer my size.
A ton of fun as this crowd always is. The LOLs just love me to death and they're good tippers too! And they even fed me lunch afterwards while I chatted with some very nice folks. I love bringing joy to people...
9 January 2006
Added a mini-review of the video Learn The Art Of Male Belly Dancing by Wesley Gomes with Cory Zamora. Enjoy!
8 January 2006
Once again, tried the annual call in for a dance spot at Rakkasah, but failed. Probably because the phone battery went dead after almost three hours of redialing, and I was too sick to do something about it or care...