Monday, March 19, 2007

St Patty's Day

Too busy this weekend, it was go go go girl and I'm exhausted now.

Performed Friday night at the standing-room only monthly guild show-- lots of fabulous dancers made for a stellar evening. I received some flattering feedback on my performance to the classic Arabic love song, Enta Omri, which I've performed before, but not for for the guild. It's important to learn new dances, but I find it's also necessary to have a reliable repertoire. I've finally got about twenty full 3 to 5 song routines, solid horses of all different shape, size, color and temperament in my stable, which I can trot out at any short notice. Some require a little refreshing, obviously, like Enta Omri which has lots of juicy layers of sound, intricate rhythm changes, lovely melodic swirls and some awesome please-don't-miss-that-accent sections. But there are some songs I can perform without having heard in months. Never thought I'd have so much under my belt, but if you'd told me fifteen years ago I'd be teaching dance, I'd have died laughing.

On Saturday morning I taught my two hours. In addition to the usual drills and shimmies and undulations and isolations (use those muscles ladies), we're working on how to approach a full performance-length choreography format, complete with improvisation and veils. The song begins fast, so we can use some of the quick rhythmic motions, then it slows, so we can use the veils. After a few minutes of veilwork we discard our veils, and add a shimmy to our slow taqsim motions (or not). The ladies LOVE working on it-- I've never really done the "I dance, you follow" structure before, and we still spend a lot of time breaking down the individual motions, but they seem to really enjoy it. So many different people learn things in so many different ways. It's neat to see it happen.
Towards the end of our class, the studio owner had a request, so I did an unexpected impromptu zill and veil dance with four students for a small group of visually impaired children who were coming into the dance studio. Many of the kids couldn't see us, but they could hear us, and they could feel the air swirling with the veils. One very young girl stood behind her dark glasses with amazing rapt attention. The thought of losing my sight terrifies me. I do know a blind dancer, and I suppose such things are possible, but it is difficult and frightening for me to imagine.

In the afternoon I went with my girls Shell & Vicky to the assisted living home, where we did two group numbers, Shelle did a solo, and I did one solo & a veil dance. Good times, good times. The usual suspects were in their half-circle in the lunch room, ready for us when we arrived. The room was insanely hot due to the sunny weather, so we were panting by the time we finished our dance set. We read one of the resident's poetry (he's been asking us to come to his room and read it, which we must decline, but this time he had his book there with him, waiting), and it almost made me cry, it was both humble and encouraged, but I interpreted it as sad because it had nothing outside his daily existence, just get up, eat, bathe, sleep, sit in the sunshine. Ode to a cantaloupe takes on a whole new meaning when it's a life of physical restrictions and confinement, but then it is somebody's life. I have to think more about it.

My friend had her baby, little itty bitty tiny thing. I took dinner to her, got to hold the wee one, and hurried back home in time for our St Patty's Day dinner party. S bbq'd a big hunk of beef, plus cabbage & taters & carrots & onions, and we had a wonderful night with friends. We gorged ourselves and laughed too much.

I slept almost all day Sunday, except for doing laundry and taking a walk with S down at the butte, where we saw a nesting pair of bald eagles on the riverside side of the hill, and heard hundreds of little birds and saw thousands of cherry blossoms. The trillium are blooming. The sunlight played chase with high clouds. I kissed my smiling sweet blue-eyed man and he tasted like springtime.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Performance for Dance for a Reason with little D at the Hult Center, and it was quite the big hullabaloo. More than 1500 people and three levels of seating, oh boyo.

We practiced three times, and I worried and fretted about her ability and whether or not she’d do okay, but should not have worried because she was awesome and stole the show-- not just our two minute-twelve-second performance, I mean the entire show. She was adorable. The costume I made for her (we had to have matching green, you see) was perfect. She is a huge flirt and will no doubt break hearts. Already is breaking hearts, most likely.

Problems were overcome, including the question of how to get on the stage in front of the curtain. We had planned to enter from either side. But the curtain rises & falls, rather than sweeps side-to-side, and there were all sorts of wires & sound equipment along the sides, backstage, which rendered this plan impossible. Had we been allowed a dress rehearsal, this would have come to light prior to five minutes before our performance. Live and learn, I discovered.

We entered from inside the house, went up stairs onto the stage, and little D took off running across the stage to start as we had initially planned… immediately captivating the audience. She was the youngest performer that night, certainly the cutest, and the few times I glanced over at her she was imitating me so well, and was right on cue with the music, that it looked as though we had spent much much more time in rehearsal.

My only real concern during the performance was from my own costume malfunction; the wrap-around skirt has a modesty panel covering my upper thigh, which affixes with snaps. Going up the stairs onto the stage, one snap released, thus displaying my entire leg to the entire audience, and all I could think was thank God I had worn the black bike shorts beneath the costume. Preparation, that is truly the key.

We opened the second half of the show, and rocked the house, if I do say so.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Isn't she loverly. I made this costume for her & now she is dancing in Vegas, baby. Hot hot hot.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


It’s not that I’m not writing, I’m just not writing the regular stuff of wispy wind and riverwater. Choreography, or dancewrite, a record and means of remembrance, has consumed my hours and thoughts. I don’t know if you would understand it but when it's loose and under construction and open to improvisation it looks like this--

sweep step

maya choo choo

arms slow lift & fall, pause with both up


rock back step, spin, shoulder shimmy

cross push maya to Lt,

undulate in place

then to Rt

triplet around in figure 8

out push maya to Lt

undulate in place

then to Rt

crescents around

ommis and circles



Cairo 8

hand to temple

chest drop, level down

big shimmy up

camel, arabesque

turn 180*

facing back shimmy on the up with rhythm

slow lean back to side, to other side

face front

level down (4:00)

shoulders with oud

level up

hips & belly with oud

Rt side turn, side hip figure 8

hip tock tock tock!

turn, side hip figure 8

hips & belly with oud

reverse camel accent


turn, back bend

pivot step, spin, shoulder shimmy

level change spin


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Loie and Isadora

Monday, October 23, 2006

Cairo Night

Our promo pic.
This picture was of a handful in which my expression didn't say, "Um, why am I here and what am I wearing?" The other ladies look fabulous! Va va voom.

We packed the place for our show on Saturday night, and we all danced very well, hooray! I love dancing with these girlies, we have fun. You should hear the conversations in the green room. No, on second thought, you shouldn't.

We're supposed to get together for a video-review of the show next weekend; can't wait to see it. I haven't seen video of myself dancing in a few years, so it'll be good to have an idea about what needs improvement... there's always something.

I had four(!) costume changes. My final solo was to the love song Enta Omri, plus a drum solo. I draped my white veil around my love's neck.

Here's a blurry photo from someone's cell phone, my silver glittery most comfortable costume, feeling demure and in love, anticipating the music's downbeat. Here is comes...

Monday, August 07, 2006


At the Oregon Country Fair I had the amazing good fortune to dance with this ferocious serpentine she.

The Fair itself was an interesting experience, curious as always, different to be on stage. I loved the crowd and they loved me. No I don't have any photos today.

In less than a month this gorgeous creature is returning to teach a workshop, oh me oh my oh, and she'll be staying with my Shellybelly. Delight.

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Location: Pecos Wilderness, New Mexico, United States

This is the time and the record of the time. I'll avoid definition as much as humanly possible. We can never step in the same river twice. Cold mud and fast currents and rocks and roots entangle, hot and fecund in the summer and frozen slow in the winter. Subject to change. I dream of Paradise.