Zorba in Motion!
I am a Belly Dancer
Prosaic poem by Zorba
I stand in the wings of the stage, waiting my turn;
veils and music clutched in nervous, trembling hands.
My sisters in dance do their best to reassure me: I am
beautiful, I am a wonderful dancer. My mind will
have little of it - so I wait in dread anticipation.
Every slight move, accompanied by the faint sensual whisper of perfumed silk,
is accented by faint tinkles from my costume.
From my hips, from my neck, from my ears,
hanging over my stomach - the ornamentation tinkles gently.
Now my music is starting, I whirl onto the stage -
a winged glory of swirling color. I sculpt colorful
shapes in the very air with my veils. I feel the air
swirling around my body, I feel my hips moving to
an ancient beat, I feel the joy building at my center.
Then I accentuate the dance with the sound of my zills,
blending and complimenting the music. The faint tinkles
from my costume have become a constant jingle. I feel
the beauty. I feel the joy. I feel the power.
I veil my face with my long hennaed hair, looking out at the
audience from kohl rimmed eyes. The joy rips out of
the center of my being, I become one with the music,
with the motion, with the dance. In my utter vulnerability,
I am all powerful. I am beautiful, I am exotic, I am
graceful and sensual. I am human. I am a Belly Dancer!
Enjoy, but please remember this poem is copyrighted.
Below are numerous videos of Zorba, both as a soloist and in various troupes over the years.
Some show good technique, others not so much. Presented in reverse chronological order (more or less):
Raks al Shemadan for the first time since 2010. Part of a virtual hafla that, alas!, was taken down two days later: Raks al Shemadan Video.
Zorba performing a Turkish Goblet Dance at Chantrea's virtual holiday hafla: YouTube Video. Gorgeous show, worth the 1 hour plus to watch everyone!
I actually submitted two different versions of this dance for consideration, this one was a bit tamer - and a bit better danced - and was what was included in the above show: YouTube Video. Conservative costuming.
This one was danced in the "old skool" style, bare legged and underwearless "Turkish skirt" costume, as Valeria told us how it was done back in the day: YouTube Video. No costume malfunctions, and I like it better from a costuming standpoint, but the actual dancing wasn't as good on my part as the above video, so that one was got used. But I can say I did it!
Zorba performing a Turkish Goblet Dance at the Melbourne Xmas Hafla 2020. YouTube Video. Backlit video, making it a bit dark.
Virtual Hafla, due to the ongoing CoronaVirus hysteria. Short performance to Brothers of the Baladi's version of "Siseler". Feeling a bit rusty, but still nice to get prettied up and dance!
Zorba performing the DCM Sa'idi routine as a solo at the Melbourne Xmas Hafla 2019. YouTube Video. Another backlit video, making it a bit dark.
Zorba performing to a John Bilezikjian song at the ABDC Fall Hafla 2019. YouTube Video on 9 November 2019.
Luna Habibi troupe performance video from the same event: YouTube Video.
Video of Jenn and Zorba performing a Didi Memorial Video on 20 October 2019 Honestly, its a real disappointment, you can barely see the performance, due to the darkness and the fog machine, but its still "good enough" to NOT hide my performance blunder. It is what it is...
Hafla Sagheer performance of 27 July 2019, Zorba soloed Janette's "Story Dance". First time performing this in several years and certainly the first time doing it as a solo! Not totally pleased with some of my hipwork, Maias in particular. Too much paying attention to choreography, and not enough attention paid to technique! YouTube Video. "Claudette the Camel ][" can be seen in this video also!
American Belly Dance Club Spring Hafla of 27 April 2019. YouTube Video, of Luna Habibi troupe routine (With Zorba). Not the best video quality, but watchable. "Claudette the Camel ][" can be seen stage right in her VERY first stage appearance!
Melbourne Belly Dance Christmas Hafla of 8 December 2018 (Solo): YouTube snippet.
American Belly Dance Club Fall Hafla of 6 October 2018:
YouTube Video, Zorba's Solo. Not the best camera placement, blah, blah, but I've seen worse!
YouTube Video, Luna Habibi dancing "Op" (With Zorba).
YouTube Video, Luna Habibi skirt and Zill dances (With Zorba).
Hafla Sagheer performance of 9 June 2018: YouTube Video.
"American Belly Dance Club Spring Hafla", Melbourne, Fl. 28 April 2018: YouTube Video. Luna Habibi Cane dance - a bit fuzzy and horrid sound, but watchable.
Also, a video of my double veil performance at the Spring Hafla.
"Dangerous Curves Hafla", Saint Petersburg, Fl. 10 February 2018: YouTube Video. In my "Sacrificial Virgin" costume!
"Dangerous Curves Hafla", Saint Petersburg, Fl. 28 October 2017: YouTube Video. My arms could have been better...
Sese's "Soloist Showcase", 15 April 2017 at Santa Cruz's "Pacific Cultural Center": YouTube Video. Low grade video, but watchable.
Mary Jane's Dance, 1 April 2017 at Santa Cruz's "Crepe Place" restaurant: YouTube Video. I'm NOT liking this version of my "Floating Sleeves", these are going to be reworked into something more elegant. This was followed by Dunia's Group 9/8ths: YouTube Video. The sleeves STILL suck!
DCM's memorial to Madame Nuit at Rakkasah 2017: YouTube Video. This performance went very well if I say so myself!
"Mambo/veil/Kiss" routine at Santa Cruz Raks 20 November 2016: YouTube Video.
Dunia and Siwa with "Us as Damascus" for the first time in years. 1 October 2016: YouTube Video - I'm the tall one in the back.
An alternate angle of the above performance at Coastal Belly Fest 2016. This one is at about a 45 degree angle from stage right. YouTube Video.
Traditional (more or less) Sa'idi cane dance in my new Balady dress at Carnival of Stars 2016: YouTube Video
Very first performance of my new Sa'idi cane dance in my new Balady dress at Santa Cruz Raks, 17 July 2016: YouTube Video
Rakkasah 2016 video. YouTube Video. Overall, I'm "ok" with this performance, although it certainly could have been better. I feel that the veil section was uninspired and that the main part fell into "repeat-itis" as I was having so much fun that I forgot to do 3/4ers of what I had intended! On the other hand, I got LOTS of compliments on my finger cymbal playing.
Dancers of the Crescent Moon at Rakkasah 2016, Cabaret stage. I was not with them for this performance as I had danced a solo in the same show and Rakkasah rules prohibited me dancing with a troupe as a result. This performance included "Halay", and John Compton's "Bin Al Shek", and "Jamilo" choreographies, danced a capella.
Carnival of Stars, 1 August 2015. Forgotten contact lenses resulted in a very sub-par double veil performance, so the veils were discarded early and dancing continued without them. Good for showing when its best to "cut your losses" with misbehaving veils - and shows one possibility for dealing with finger cymbals later in a performance when you can't wear them the entire time. Double Veil Disaster.
A short video of part of my performance at Setareh's "Santa Cruz Raks" at Bruno's restaurant in Scott's Valley, California on 26 April 2015, very good video quality for a change: YouTube Video.
Dancers of the Crescent Moon at Rakkasah 2015, Cabaret stage. This one had John Compton's "Jamilo" Choreograpy - danced to music, as well as his "Bin Al Shek", wich we danced a capella. Our 9/8ths Zill dance was also performed - unfortunately, the space wasn't mic'ed for singing or zilling from the stage area, so the sound is fairly faint.
Kalisa Moore tribute performance of 28 February 2005 - artistic video: YouTube Video.
Dancers of the Crescent Moon Perform at the Bay Area Belly Dance Festival, 14 April 2013: YouTube Video.
Rakkasah, Cabaret Stage, 16 March 2013 - Live music to Saqra's "Raks Band". Video by Once Upon Exposure. Greek Veil Number, and more!
Mirage Video from Desert Dance Festival 2012, Zorba and his wife Zarah representing the troupe that day. Choreographies by Doreet "Didi" Gordon, and Firefly.
Mirage Video from Tribal Fusion Faire 2011, rare shawl dance followed by our signature skirt dance.
Carnival of Stars, 6 August 2011 - I performed a cane dance with Nadia Gamal's cane, then did my favorite drum solo. Costume is a Troupe "Damascus" outfit, a "Majida Dress", made for me (and my male physique) by the Mighty Siwa. Cane Dance and Drum Solo 6:29, 14.4MB.
Troupe Mirage at Rakkasah 2011, Cabaret Stage. Exact reprise of the below TFF 2010 performance 3 months earlier (with one dancer change-out). Mirage Tribal Video.
Another of Troupe Mirage at Tribal Fusion Faire 2010. Complete Tribal Fusion performance, starting with a choreography by the late Doreet "Didi" Gordon, then a semi-improv called "Flock of Seagulls", and ending with "Shiraz", a choreography by Firefly. Mirage Tribal Video.
Arabian Nights At Sea (ANAS) 2010 - live performance to Light Rain playing "City of Dreams". Both the sound, and the camera work were vastly better than the 2005 ANAS performance - indeed you can even hear my Zills! Miking Zills is always problematic. The camera's iris is a bit too wide open for my white ("Sacrificial Virgin") costume, it tends to get blown out. Still, all things considered, this is probably my best video from a camerawork perspective. ANAS 2010 Cruise performance.
Dancers of the Crescent Moon at Rakkasah 2010. The original "Claudette" the Camel was featured in a "side show" with a couple of "village people", but this video only shows that at the beginning and very end.
Mirage Video from Rakkasah 2010, also with the sublime Firefly! This is a reprise of the above TFF '09 performance.
This one was my performance with Bibi's Gypsy-style class in December 2009. Shot from the back of the hall, viewing isn't the best. I'm the tall one in the yellow skirt. YouTube Clip
Mirage Video from Tribal Fusion Faire 2009, with the sublime Firefly!
This is from Carnival of Stars, 10 October 2009 - "The Dance of Untold Sorrow". The camera work is a bit on the annoying side - too close to the dancer in general, and cuts my hand off at the MOST critical point in the dance - the point of the whole thing! The Dance of Untold Sorrow, CoS 2009.
Dancers of the Crescent Moon at Rakkasah 2009. This was just before I was invited to join the troupe as a full fledged member, the first of the three dances ("Halay") I didn't know yet, so I joined our "Sherpa" while the rest of the troupe performed that dance, then joined them for the Pot dance and our rendition of John Compton's famous Zill dance. Don't miss the "side show" with the Sherpa (and myself for part) washing and otherwise "dealing with" the original "Claudette the Camel". In fact, I recommend viewing the video twice, once to watch the dancing, once to watch Claudette!
An interview and performance briefs from the 18 December 2008 performance in Kalisa's Livenetworks TV show. A British journalist interviewed me as part of a Cannery Row documentary short. Although Lana was also present (and I think she was interviewed also), I was the only Belly Dancer in the video (he should have included Lana!) - and the only other interviewee in the video is a homeless guy! Maybe there's a message there...
Opening the evening gala at Tribal Fusion Faire 2008 (13 December). I don't like doing openings, but considering the rest of the billing, I was more than happy to do so. Following Amy Sigil and Unmata, Zoe Jakes, Steven Eggers, et al would NOT have been good. Besides, I was probably the only dancer who performed a 5 part cabaret number at a Tribal event! Cabaret dance at TFF 2008.
"Gig bag check" and performance briefs from the November 2008 Carnival of Stars appear in this video which accompanied This Gilded Serpent Article written by yours truly.
This Shemadan Video is from 5 September 2008 with the lovely Lana doing the introductions.
This was shot at Lana's venue at the mini-mall on 13 June 2008, "Solo-11/Cabaret" with my Isis wings - then followed by a mini "roast" I did for Lana! Cabaret routine and Lana roast. Same venue, same day, different dance: Serpentina.
This brief clip was taken by an unknown audience member on 3 May 2008 (Same date as the next entry) while I was performing "Veil-5/Dark Fire" - and didn't quite "get" me, obviously. Nonetheless, here it is... YouTube Clip.
Here's a kind of "Belly Dance promotional blurb" featuring Janette talking about some of the benefits of Belly Dancing - alternating with footage from a show of my dance sisters and myself doing a skirt dance. YouTube Clip I think the skirt dance ("The Story Dance") is from 3 May 2008.
This one was taken at the short lived "Kalisa's Cabaret Show" at the Monterey Vet's hall (07/28/07), dancing Shemadan. It is a rather dark and when I started playing my zills, the close proximity of the camera caused its audio circuits to overload, so the sound sucks in the second half. Old Shemadan Video.
This one was apparently either 27, or 28 February 2007 (I'm pretty sure it was the 27th) - the last 2 nites of Kalisa's. Janette introduces me, I performed "Routine-2" the full version, the Drum Solo portion is presented here. YouTube Clip
I found this video of an after party at Kalisa's circa 2006. Bad arms on my part, but here it is: YouTube Video
This next one was shot on the Arabian Nights at Sea Belly Dance cruise in Sept. 2005 and is danced to Light Rain performing live. The tune, "Dark Fire", had been on my mind for some time, but I had never performed to it on CD, much less live! Since this performance, it (this dance) has since morphed into a very different single veil routine than the double veil you'll see here. Also, remember this was shot on board a rolling ship at sea, which means I have the occasional misstep; and weaving about, especially in turns! Double Veil on ANAS Cruise.
This was filmed - in low light conditions - at Kalisa's La Ida Cafe on Monterey's historic "Cannery Row", circa 2005. Janette got the three of us to agree to perform her choreography "The Story Dance" - which we all liked, but didn't know well enough to do on our own. We had thought Janette was going to lead us, but that wasn't the case! All three of us tried to get into the rear position, but Lynette got there first and wasn't going to give it up, so Lana and myself were stuck in front not knowing what to do! So lots of mistakes were made as seen in this (partial) video. We were also hopelessly lost and repeated parts of the choreo! Train Wreck.
Casbah Cabaret performance from 27 August 2005. Digitized from 15 year old videotape, not the greatest... YouTube Video.
A typical "after party" at Kalisa's, guessing about 2005. Sometimes this would go on until 1 or 2 AM! YouTube Clip
Some different shots of the above event - a bit more of Zorba in this one. YouTube Clip
Another one put together for me by my friend Brad in 2005, performing a cane dance, at Kalisa's, followed by lengthy footage of the after party. YouTube Clip
A rather old one, guessing around 2004 or 2005, performing the "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance", at the old Kalisa's. My arms are much better these days and so are my Maias! YouTube Clip
A very bad digitization of a local TV news spot about Zorba, of 13 July 2004: Zorba interview and performance.
Kalisa's on 26 March of 2004. My good friend Brad put this video together for me, it has a double veil performance to "Agonia", as well as my "Raks Africa" routine. Then Jamaica does her sword dance, then there's "after party" footage with everybody dancing, including me with very BAD arms! The ever incredible Lana can also be glimpsed. The video was originally 29+ minutes long, I was only able to extract about 23 of those. Old recordable DVDs don't hold up well. Kalisa's La Ida Cafe performances from 2004!
This snippet, the earliest known video of Zorba, was filmed by a generous gal "Q", who graciously gave me permission to use it here. It is only 13 seconds long however, an excerpt of "Solo-8/Serpentina" at Kalisa's ca 2003 the best I remember. Serpentina at Kalisa's Video.