Zorba, Male Belly Dancer

Henna Design A Belly Dance Diary 2008 Henna Design

Zorba at private performance (01/19/08)

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.

27 December 2008

Feel the power. Today in Firefly's class, we did the Tribal troupe switch off the leaders "thing" - only the second time I've done this, the first being years ago in a workshop with Carolena Nericcio. What an awesome feeling of empowerment and connection with my dance sisters! I'd forgotten the feeling (if, indeed, I'd even experienced it before), it was awesome. No wonder these Tribal gals are so "into it".

24 December 2008

Performance for a senior's holiday party - jointly with my dear wife, and the Mighty Siwa. We put on a 30 minute show. My wife and I started with the Karsilima (I played my "king Tut" Zills), then the "Story Dance" - both choreographies we learned from Janette. Then, while the Mighty Siwa was performing her set, I went back to the dressing room to lose my skirt (Skirt is part of the "Story Dance"), and don my Isis wings for "Solo-11/Cabaret".

There were about 75 seniors in the audience - they loved us! This was under the auspices of the same Christian group that put on the 25 October show I was in. A ton of fun!

18 December 2008

Special performance on Kalisa's Link opens in new window livenetworks.tv show. Its largely a roundtable discussion about the old days of Cannery Row (quite fascinating!), intermingled with Kalisa's La Ida Cafe. But she frequently has Belly Dancers, and this month it was Lana and myself. I did, at Kalisa's request, "Solo-5/Goddess Dance" double veil with the A'Kai silk half circle veils. Went well enough, the veils behaved themselves although it was a bit of a low energy situation as it was a TV show, not a live audience show. Lana, of course, was beautiful as always - performing a veil piece followed by the yet again improved goblet dance. I'm glad I went first!

13 December 2008

Performance at the Link opens in new window Tribal Fusion Faire in San Louis Obispo.

I had performed with Janette's troupe at this event last year - so this year I went as a soloist. They called me up to see if I'd be willing to dance in the evening show. "Sure - that'd be great!" Then I found out that Zoe Jakes, Troupe Unmata, and several other dancers of their caliber were dancing in the evening show "What am *I* doing here?" thinks I!

Fortunately, I was the opening act. No-one likes to open a show, but considering that there were multiple dancers in it whose air I'm not worthy to breathe, opening was just fine with me! Going on stage after someone like Zoe Jakes would have been very ugly...

Anyway, it went well. I did "Routine-2/Super short version". The energy in the packed, literally standing room only hall (I could NOT find a seat after my performance, there were people standing around the edges everywhere) shot up as soon as I hit the stage! I used my HUGE, four yard, extra wide pink/purple organza veil. I had a slight veil problem right after the unwrap, but was able to unfarkle it quickly, even though I had Zills (King Tuts) on.

In addition, I came home with a DVD of my performance. Rather than the RIP OFF $30 or $45 most shows charge us dancers for such things, the charge here was a very reasonable $15!

Somewhere in the middle of the show lineup, there was another male dancer who was announced as "the prettiest boy in Belly Dance". "Sure, thought I", expecting another over-macho, stiff, herky-jerky guy. Then he came on. His name is Link opens in new window Steven Eggers and he does the Rachel-Brice style, ooey, gooey, slow, and slinky Tribal dancing (that I'm trying to learn from Firefly) as good or better than anyone! I don't know WHY I've never heard of him before, especially since he does have a web presence, but I'm in awe. In addition, he has a very pretty, androgynous look. I consider androgyny an ideal that I have no hope of attaining, but this guy has it! Like WOW! As well as incredible range of motion, fluidity, flexibility and control! Of course, he's quite young, so he has an excuse! Smile! Needless to say, I've added him to my links page.

I came home with a new hip scarf for class, as well as a new "thing". The seller calls it a "Seven Layer Skirt", but its more like a kind of hip scarf than a skirt. Looks like a tattered (this is TRIBAL after all) veil that has been re-worked into a hip wrap. Tie-dye burnt orange/black. Very cool! Also purchased a cool T-shirt from Tempest. Yes, "that" Tempest.

Zorba, Male Belly Dancer

Had an interesting chat with a 62 year old guy who is just starting Belly Dance classes. He thanked me for this site: it helped him get over a lot of the gender issues and stupid constraints that face us males. Like I told him; if this site liberates ONE male from the stranglehold of convention, all the effort I've put into it will be worthwhile!

I opened the show, Sharron Rose closed it. She did a traditional Indian dance about the Goddess Durga. I've seen this done before, by DaVid no less - but Sharron's production was mesmerizing and transporting. It was a dance out of time - its ancient roots were very evident in her rendition.

6 December 2008

As promised, a picture from last nite's performance. The head occulting my right wing is Kalisa's.

Zorba, Male Belly Dancer

5 December 2008

Lana's "Monterey Mystique" variety show, streamed live from Link opens in new window http://livenetworks.tv/.

I did two numbers - "Solo-11/Cabaret" with my (gold) Isis wings, and good ol' "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance" with my four yard red/orange A'Kai silk veil.

Both went quite well - "Cabaret" was pushing the envelope a bit, as I decided at the last minute to wear a skirt. I normally don't wear skirts Belly Dancing unless I'm doing an actual skirt dance - but this dance just seemed to call for one anyway and liberated male that I am, I wore one. As this dance not only includes Isis wings, but kneeling Kaleegi head/hair tosses as well, it was interesting doing this in the skirt; having to remember the cardinal rule of floorwork in a skirt: kneel IN it, not ON it!

I took my camera and had a friend in the audience snap a few pix, I'll post at least one in the next day or so, there's at least one really good wingspread picture. I also shared my Sigma 17-35 lens with another photog in the room - he had an entire BAG full of lenses, but nothing wide angle!

Lana, of course, did a beautiful dance - on goblets! This is only the second time I've seen her do a goblet dance - and she's learned a LOT since the last time I saw her do it. Like, WOW. I've REALLY got to get off my tail and work on a goblet dance - although there's no freaking way I'd be as good and beautiful at it as Lana, it'd still be pretty impressive for a 220 lb guy to dance on them!

Had an interesting chat with an older gentleman from Lebanon - he really liked my dancing, and unlike many older middle eastern men, he wasn't uncomfortable with me - indeed we actually discussed that very issue! I also yakked with Kalisa, who was in the audience again - I'll be on her show, also streamed live from the same URL, in a couple of weeks!

3 December 2008

Belly Rolls. I haven't mentioned them much on this site as mine have always been non-existent to sucky. However, my lifetime weak abs are gaining strength from several causes: 1) Janelle's class, 2) Siwa's class, 3) The continuing practice with Siwa on a Shemadan duette which includes floorwork with Belly Rolls, and 4) "Yogurt" (Yoga).

Anyway, the point of this babble on the subject is this: I've been increasingly able to do "up to down" Belly Rolls in recent months. Nothing to write home about, but they're there (flutters too!). Tonite in Siwa's class, I was actually able to do a weak "down to up" Belly Roll - which is much harder for most people (including me). Its the small things...

1 December 2008

I'm convinced that Janelle is the right teacher at the right time for me. She may not have been the right teacher once upon a time, but I think she is now! I've noticed in the last several weeks, that not only am I doing better in her class technique wise, but I'm also not as "beat up" by her aerobic warmup like I was when I first started with her. I'm still not necessarily convinced that the much vaunted "Suhaila format" (such as this class is) is the end all and be all of Belly Dance instruction that some make it out to be, but I am certain that it has its place and has some merit. Its doing me lots of good right now.

In other news, Lana presented me with our latest commission to her. Totally non-dance related, I none the less posted it at the top of the articles page. I call it Akropolis, it is a very special, spiritual rendition of same as it once was. Some very powerful symbiology!

16 November 2008

These earrings are killing me, but I digress...

A performance at Link opens in new window Menara Moroccan Restaurant in San Jose, under the auspices of Janelle. I haven't danced here since Karri Duke conned me into entering a dance competition here years ago!

The day didn't start well. This gig required a 6 minute routine - instead of the usual 7. This means I had to come up with "something". The urgency proximity detector in my computer tripped, killing my CD burner. So I drove into work, to use my system there. Then the software fought me, I had all kinds of problems but burned a CD at last - 3 tracks instead of my usual combinational 1 track. Frown!

Then I was out of red nail polish, so had to drive down to the store to get some more. I got every IDIOT driving 45 MPH in a 55 zone... But came home with both red and fuchsia, the later of which matched my costume so I used that.

But the gig itself went well (The crowd was great!) - as they usually do when you have weird problems beforehand. The new 6 minute routine glued a Light Rain number (A short portion of which I use as "get off the stage music" in my "Routine 2".) to the drum solo from "Routine 2", the latter of which is always a crowd pleaser. I really like this venue, I just wish it were a bit closer to home. The "King Tut" Zills were employed - and as is often the case, I was the only dancer who played Zills this evening.

To keep balance in the universe, I was passed by a MANIAC driving somewhere north of 90 MPH on my drive home. I picked up my cell phone and called it in...

Off to bed I go, I have GOT to get out of these earrings...

15 November 2008


9 November 2008

Link opens in new window Carnival of Stars, combination comic book convention and Belly Dance festival. My second year. I danced "Routine 2/Uber short version" with my 4 yard fuchsia veil and "King Tut" Zills. Overall, pretty good. People told me they liked my performance, especially the drum solo portion. The veil misbehaved, I ended up dumping it slightly early. I'm still not the world's expert at veil dancing while wearing Zills! Came home with a new CD and a new orange hairfeather. Had to walk away from a GORGEOUS dance skirt - at $195 it was way too dear, esp. since I'm not currently doing any skirt dancing. But it was a beaut - 21 gores, 7 different fabrics repeated 3 times. Bright fire colors, red, orange, yellow, maybe some pink. Chiffon, silk, lamé, velvet burnout.

I then worked a 2 hour volunteer shift, checking for hand stamps from folks coming in the door. Actually sent back no less than three who hadn't paid! I told the organizer, Pepper Alexandria, to put me down for a shift next year - I like helping out at these events!

I was also video interviewed by Lynette of the Link opens in new window Gilded Serpent E-Zine. The video should be appearing in their "Community Kaleidoscope" section "soon".

7 November 2008

The monthly, streamed live from Link opens in new window http://livenetworks.tv/, Lana's "Monterey Mystique" variety show. I gave "Routine 2/Super short version" a whirl. It was mostly a success - the sound guy cut my music after the intro, so I'm standing there onstage looking like an idiot and no veil music. After a moment, I struck an "attitude pose" Smile!, the sound guy re-cued the music, and the show continued! Other than a slight problem with a chiffon "hip enhancer", it went pretty well overall. I played my "King Tut" Zills, and did veil with the four yard "Dragon's Blood" veil - which I draped around Kalisa's shoulders at the end of the veil segment - she was in attendance!

My teacher, Firefly, performed the piece that she's been choreographing and teaching us in class - ooey, gooey, slow, and slinky! Very cool, and quite different stylistically from what I'm used to doing.

2 November 2008

Second troupe organizational meeting - this one with only the folks who want to be advisors or on the board of directors. Made a couple of decisions, my dance sister Cristy, along with my lovely wife and myself will be a triumvirate of troupe directors - between the 3 of us we might have a vague clue as to what to do! We've been tasked with investigating rehearsal space, taking all the input and making a formal "Values and intent" document, and boiling down some troupe names. Next meeting in early January.

29 October 2008

In the Mighty Siwa's class tonite, we all got a little surprise. She handed each of us an envelope, which had a personal note in it. Mine read:

Thank you for sharing Desert Dance Festival with us. Our performance was more because of your participation.

Siwa & Dancers of the Crescent Moon

I was very touched - and she included a little refrigerator magnet - a "hand painted in Egypt" King Tut on genuine papyrus! You know, its the small things...

25 October 2008

A performance at a senior's home in the nearby city of Watsonville! One of my dance sisters, Christy, and myself went to participate in a "community outreach" type show for the seniors at this rather large convalescent hospital. Besides us, there were hip-hop dancers and gospel singers (It was some kind of Christian group running the show). I did "Solo-6/Short version" with my King Tut Zills and good ol' faithful "greenie", my 3 yard Kelly green silk veil (my very first veil I ever bought). It went quite well, the oldsters loved me, the Christians loved me, all was great. I've done this kind of dancing for years with the Greek dancers, its very rewarding. What's really nice is that I can dance for the guys without them getting all weirded out, and the LOLs love me of course. I spoke with the organizer afterwards - I'm tentatively scheduled for another performance in December for another Senior's "thing".

A bit out of the context of this diary, but afterwards went to a Samhain ritual and birthday celebration for the Mighty Siwa! A lot of fun, and the ritual gave an opportunity to let go of some of this year's pain. I'm not much of a ritualist, but this one was nice.

19 October 2008

A performance at the "Cypress Lounge" in Santa Cruz. Major suckage - but I had a good time anyway!

First off, I was apparently the first male dancer to ever perform at this venue. Somehow I missed on the fact that I was expected to cover my belly. If I had known this, I would never have consented to dance here. Its one thing when I'm dancing with a folkloric troupe, such as Siwa's or Sahar's, where everyone is covered; its another thing when misandry rears its ugly head. Insert rant here. But professional that I am, I was there, so with the help of the Mighty Siwa, we did a veil wrap which actually looked pretty decent. As it was chiffon, it was kinda like the covered bellies in Egypt - about as pointless, but whatever.

So I go on. Incredible reception by the patrons, which more than made up for my annoyance with the discriminatory dress code. However, the suckage wasn't over with yet - indeed, it hadn't really started yet! In an event that reminded me of the good ol' days at Kalisa's or the Monterey Vet's Hall; the music started giving grief. I was attempting to do "Routine-2 - uber short version" - the first time I'd ever done this shortest version of Routine-2. My intro music only played for 10 or 12 bars or so, so my Zilling (King Tuts) was cut short. Then it skipped ahead to the last few bars of my veil piece, so same stayed on (4 yard "Dragon's Blood" silk L.Rose), then the drum solo music started. That, plus the exit music played fine. I was dancing around the tables, and got enough tips to pay for my meal - not a bad scene at all. Made the whole evening worth while. The Mighty Siwa tried to re-play my music to give it a second chance - but the result was similar. I just said "Sometimes, things just aren't meant to be; this is one of those times. Thank you!".

I had been talking to some new dance acquaintances, Celena & troupe from Fremont, who went on after my disaster - and their music was problematic also. I hate finicky CD players! Received lots of compliments on both my dancing, and my "smooth, professional" handling of the sound problems. I had to thank them for the first; and explain that it wasn't the first, or even the fifth, time that I've had to deal with cranky sound equipment!

13 October 2008

Both Janelle's high intensity class and the once a week "yogurt" (yoga) class are starting to pay off. I have increasing strength in my abs, can actually do a up-to-down belly roll now (for the first time in my life); and increased flexibility (I can now bend sideways until my head is upside down at a 45 degree angle. Kinda like a sideways Rachel-Brice backbend - but unlike same, it doesn't have a use dancewise that I'm aware of!).

Updated the "Zorba in Motion" page - much to my eternal annoyance, people keep putting videos of me on that cesspool of the Internet, YouTube. But if they're already there, I can't do anything about it so I might as well link to them. This newest one is a couple of years old now, its "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance". My arms suck in this one, and some of my hipwork is sub par too, but there it is. I'm much better now. Smile!

5 October 2008

We had the first of what will probably be several organizational meetings for a new "community Belly Dance troupe". This idea started with a small group of dancers who have been marginalized, overlooked, or otherwise don't have the performance opportunities they once had. This is partially due to the closure of Kalisa's, and partially to a deteriorating dance political landscape.

So I came up with an idea of a troupe - no BS, no nonsense, no politics, no age-ism, no size-ism, no sex-ism; but supportive, nurturing, caring, loving, and most importantly FUN performance group.

Much to my amazement, word of this spread. Many very "high-powered" dancers and instructors wanted to at least be an advisor, even if they didn't have time to be a full-time troupe member. So instead of a group of about six, we had TWENTY very interested people show up for the organizational meeting/dinner/halfa at our house!

Darn near everyone who was anybody in the Monterey dance scene was at the meeting, and the ones that weren't wanted to be, and apologized for not being able to make it! I'm just floored. We had PLENTY of wise advice - this is hardly the first attempt that someone's made to form a troupe like this - which is why I was seeking experienced guidance.

After the meeting, we had an excellent (if I say so myself) Greek lamb dinner prepared by my lovely wife, Zarah, and then a hafla that would have been the wonder of a king's court. Just about everyone performed for the group, including two dance sisters who hadn't danced a step in about two years - welcome back!

Let's see if I can remember everything/everyone: Firefly, did two performances, including an impromptu duette with her mother who was in attendance (and looks to be a VERY good addition to the advisors), Lana borrowed my sword and did one of her utterly beautiful dances (I wish I had her ab strength!), Hassan borrowed a veil and "went for it", Lynette did a nice veil number, I got Chris up to perform against her protests - and of course she did great! Tina did a high energy piece, the Mighty SIWA did an old time cabaret peice that was astounding - as old time cabaret dancing usually is. Marie is always a joy to watch, she tends towards the "old skool" also - full of energy and joy! It occurs to me that my lovely wife, Zarah somehow made herself busy making Loukoumades for everyone instead of dancing; and Tracy and Emily managed to have to leave early. Hmmmm - well the next one's gonna be at Tracy's house, no excuses then! Smile!

Oh! I nearly forgot. I did the same dance as last Friday nite, "Veil-6/The Dance of Untold Sorrow" with the same veil, but in civvies. I don't think I emoted it very well this time though.

We'll see what happens, it takes a lot of work and dedication by a lot of people to get something like this off the ground - and keep it there! No name as yet, I'm currently favoring "Veiled Roses" - but we'll see what we come up with. "Veiled Roses" would go well with my planned black rose tattoo I'm getting in a couple of years.

3 October 2008

As seen last month, again streamed live from Link opens in new window http://livenetworks.tv/, Lana's "Monterey Mystique" variety show. This time I had a brand new veil piece - something of the like I've never done before. This one I'm calling "Veil-6/The Dance of Untold Sorrow" as its an embodiment of all the loss my wife and I have gone through in the last year. Its set to the theme from the 1968 movie production of "Romeo & Juliet" played by an utterly beautiful harp - so needless to say its rather heavy on the emotion. Overall, I felt quite good about it - but I'm not 100% sure the audience "got it", although a several of my dance sisters did. It gave me the opportunity to bring my new 4 yard silk fuchsia veil to the stage!

The only down side, and a very minor one at that, was the fact that I lost my Bindi - old glue didn't stick! Nothing more annoying than a Bindi with dried out glue!

Visit the livenetworks site to view it in the archives.

21 September 2008

Arabian Nights at Sea, Day 3

First class of the day was Jill Parker's "Ooey, Gooey, Slow & Slinky" - one that I'd been particularly looking forward to as this describes Firefly's style to a "T". Unfortunately, I was light headed and a bit dizzy for reasons unknown - and was only able to partake in about half of the 2 hour class. While that was major suckage, I still came away with a couple of neat combos...

I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make the last class of the day, Angelika Nemeth's "Making Great Entrances & Exits" - indeed, it came down to a "knife edge". But I did go, and I felt better as the class progressed, and it was wonderful. I need to buy her CD - we just didn't quite link up for this purpose afterwards.

The student hafla/performance was in the evening - and was comprised of all newcomers to ANAS (as it should be), and although all the performances were really good - there was one performance that just blew my socks off and "brought down the house". A trio who call themselves the "Shimmy Sisters", comprised of two sisters and their mother, were just IN-friggin'-CREDIBLE! I won't even TRY to describe their entire performance - but at one point, there was a dancer in the center doing barrel turns and other "stuff" with a large pair of Isis wings, while the other two flanked her doing double-double veil. Within inches of each other - any mishaps would NOT have been pretty - they pulled it off and pulled it off VERY well. I'm *MOST* impressed - and so was everyone else in the hall!

Needless to say, we're signed up again for next year! Oh, and I also came home with a four yard silk fuchsia veil! Its actually fuchsia mottled with a small amount of orange - just enough to relieve the sameness of the fuchsia without overloading it with another color. I've been needing one this color for quite some time to go with my black and fuchsia costume! Oh yea!

20 September 2008

Arabian Nights at Sea, Day 2

Sprang up in the morning, to take "Skirts A-Weigh", a folkloric skirt dance, from Mahalia. She was thrilled that there was a male who was willing to learn/dance a skirt number. I took careful notes of the choreography, and purchased the music (on the only "Light Rain" album I didn't already have) as there may very well be a use for this choreography in the future! Mahalia was thrilled to learn of the Mighty Siwa's adaptation of her (Mahalia's) folkloric basket dance.

Then in the afternoon, I took a class with the fabulous Fahtiem. Those who have followed my dance life know that I consider Fahtiem to be the utter pinnacle of our artform! This was called "Find Your 'IT' Factor" - yet another version of attempting to teach/learn the "impossible" - how to emote on stage and let the feeling flow. Janette started me on this journey a couple of years ago - and each time I take one of these "touchy-feely" type classes, I learn a bit more.

Tonite was "formal nite" - where I go "formal" in MY style - no suit, tie, or ugly uncomfortable clothing for this dude - as the late, great, Arthur C. Clarke was known to say "Trousers are a western absurdity." I wouldn't want to say I wore a bunch of jewelry, but Recommended by Zorba! Link opens in new window Eyescream Jewelry got a bunch of free advertising from me this nite!

19 September 2008

Arabian Nights at Sea, Day 1

Actually, only the evening, we boarded the good ship "Paradise", and fitted in one workshop, "Greek Style Oriental Dance" with Helena Vlahos. It sure was nice to hear some wonderful Greek music, and learn the little tricks to dancing to it.

18 September 2008

Our annual stay on the great ocean liner, the Recommended by Zorba! Link opens in new window RMS Queen Mary immediately prior to setting sail for the Recommended by Zorba! Link opens in new window Arabian Nights at Sea 2008 Belly Dance cruise! I just love staying on board the grand old dame. Ate at "Sir Winston's", got all dolled up for that!

14 September 2008

DDF 2008 Logo
DDF 2008
Desert Dance Festival - again! I'm honored as I'm pretty sure I'm the very first male to ever dance with Link opens in new window Dancers of the Crescent Moon as opposed to being a sherpa or other set-piece. Even though there was a "bit of a problem" with the choreography - a good time was had by all!

Definitely feel better today - and hey! I get to reference that cool DDF logo again (click it to go to the DDF site)!

13 September 2008

DDF 2008 Logo
DDF 2008
Desert Dance Festival. I'm told I performed well. I'm not totally sure. Smile! I think I may have - I've been fighting a sinus infection for the last 2 weeks; I was flat on my back 24 hours ago - but the Doc promised that the antibiotics would get me back on my feet - and so they did!

Nevertheless, I was a bit woozy. Adding to this wondrous effect was the fact that the hall was hotter than the brazen hinges of H, E, double hockey sticks! I performed the previously mentioned "Routine-2/Super Short" - 8 ½ minutes, just right for a show like this. My four yard A'kai orange/red silk veil and my Zildjian Zills for the big(ger) hall. I do remember stepping on my veil at one point - I recovered - but hopefully that was the worst of it and went un-noticed. The leader of the middle eastern music ensemble Link opens in new window Pangia presented me with one of their CDs! I've always liked their music, but it was sure an honor to be spontaneously gifted with the CD!

5 September 2008

As streamed live from Link opens in new window http://livenetworks.tv/, Lana's "Monterey Mystique" variety show. Mostly, but certainly not all Belly Dance. Nice sized, friendly, and very enthusiastic audience! This was a magic evening. I did "Solo-6a/Shemadan with short finale" (King Tut Zills), and "Solo-5/Goddess Dance" double veil with the A'Kai silk half circles. In addition, the ever fabulous Imzadi made her Monterey debut at long last!

In addition to the Belly Dancing, there was a lovely violin and piano duette that had us all enthralled - their music was heartbreakingly beautiful. John Shelbe the magician did a great magic show, and there was a classical guitar and a tango duette as well. This isn't the "same" magic as the lost Kalisa's La Ida Cafe had, but it similar and is ours to make.

Check the Link opens in new window Livenetworks site if you have a broadband connection, you should be able to call up the program. Be sure to watch it through to the end so you can enjoy the violin/piano music - plus there's some live music dancing done afterwards (including me).

3 September 2008

Yogurt. Uh, make that Yoga. Both Janelle and Imzadi have been nagging me to join a Yoga class to help my strength and flexibility - so I did just to get them to STOP. Smile! I like it. I think it will help me indeed - plus I came out of the class feeling very peaceful and rested.

September is always "dance madness month". Preparations continued tonite in the Mighty Siwa's class for our folkloric performance at DDF; my own rehearsals for my solo at same start right after I perform in Lana's "Monterey Mystique" show this weekend, practice for *that* is tomorrow nite. And its getting to be "that" time of year, I have the Queen Mary on my mind...

27 August 2008

Well, I've finally figured out how to make a more-or-less "full" routine shoehorn into the typical 7 minute "big show" time limit. As I have several upcoming "big show" performances in the next several months, and I really want to be able to do a "routine" as opposed to a one or two song "solo", this should work nicely.

I took "BellyGram 2", and started doing surgery. I created a 8:21 long version for one upcoming show by lopping off the 30 second intro, cutting the veil routine down, omitting the cane dance all together, and omitting the finale, making do with the exit music instead. I'm calling this one "Routine 2, SS" for "Super Short". Both "BellyGram 1", and "BellyGram 2" actually aren't "BellyGrams" at all, they're "routines" - but I was a baby belly at the time I named the first one, and stuck with it for the second. But from here on out, I'm calling them all "Routines".

I then hacked out the taqsim to create a 6:54 long version that will work for a lot of shows with the usual 7 minute length, calling it "Routine 2, US" for "Uber Short". This leaves it with the fast first number (where I play Zills), the veil piece, the drum solo, and the exit/finale. The good news is that I can simply leave the Zills on while I dance with the veil (Cory Zamora would approve) since I don't have the cane number in either of these shortened pieces.

I also got the music together for the upcoming livenetworks show to get to Lana. Tomorrow nite, I practice!

9 August 2008

New teacher! I had had met this gal a couple of years ago, and was immediately impressed by her very snaky, graceful, and powerful dance style. As I've observed her at many dance events where we both were performers, she did nothing but rise in my estimation. She calls herself Firefly. So, when my wife and I found out she was starting a class - we jumped at the chance to study under her tutelage. Today was our first class - and the first for Firefly too!

I'm very impressed - and I don't impress easily. What she's teaching dovetails nicely with what I'm learning in Janelle's class. This is gonna be a LOT of fun, and I'm gonna learn a LOT. Challenging to this middle aged male body to be sure - but very helpful indeed! As Firefly was/is trained by the exquisite Lana, what's not to like?

8 August 2008

Private performance for an 08/08/08 party! I danced "BellyGram-2" with the blue/red multicolored chiffon 4 yard veil, Zildjian Zills, and Nadia Gamal's "cane #1"; followed by "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance" as an encore.

Very nice Moroccan themed pool-side party, everyone was dressed in middle eastern garb, and were a very nice, laid back crowd. Its nice to dance for people who are really into what you're doing! Multiple people got up to dance up to me to give me tips - including several males. Wow, there are actually males in this world who are secure enough in themselves not to freak out about being in close proximity to a male dancer! The host and hostess were very nice to me, and it was a ton of fun! Came home feeling very happy.

5 August 2008

We've lost a Greek dance sister to cancer - our beloved Joanna Bonnell. I'm very sad, even though this was expected. May Athena go with you Joanna!

31 July 2008

Jose's Underground. Total bust. They'd had their outside area vandalized the nite before and therefore didn't really open. However, no-one bothered to inform the Belly Dancers, so we showed up anyway! It wasn't quite a total waste of diesel fuel and makeup as Jamaica did a little impromptu teaching, and I was able to approach a certain dance sister whom I would very much like to be in a "community troupe" that I'm trying to form (she's interested!). More on this troupe idea if/when it gets off the ground. We'll need to have an organizational meeting and hash out the details, including a name! My working name for the moment is "Dancers of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood", although that won't stick for copyright reasons.

In other news, Lana's mini-mall venue is no more, she's looking for a new one. And speaking of Lana, I took a page from her playbook tonite: I did some sewing on my costume just before leaving home. "Sew on it at 7, dance in it at 9!" - granted, Lana is usually still MAKING a costume at 6, and I was just doing some simple repairs, but I sure do love my sewing machine!

21 July 2008

Janelle's "Level 2" class - a much better fit! There's stuff I can do, and stuff that I cannot - which is where I should be. We started by playing Zill triples, at a very slow pace. "You've friggin' *GOT* to be kidding me!" thinks I. Then we added downhip. "Ok, since I suck at downhip - this is a good drill" thinks I. Then we changed to a (downhip) "sashay" (step, together, step). This is where the Zill triples fell apart - both for me and everyone else in the class! "A-HA!, this is how she's leading up to that 'impossible' layering technique I saw in the Level-3 class last week - there's a method to her madness!" thinks I. I'm so very used to playing something that goes with my dancing (which is as it should be in performance), this is brand new to me - and I understood the reason of it immediately. I think I'll be in this class for awhile! Janelle

18 July 2008


14 July 2008

Oh Most Holy Goddess Mother; Help me. I was handed my butt on a platter by Janelle! I tried her "level 3" class tonite - tried and died! The great Fahtiem has nothing on Janelle's aerobic-cardio warmup - except that Fahtiem's is a bit longer. I've never been athletic, and this just did me in!

The class itself was a sharp challenge also - layering on a level I'd never dreamed existed! As Janette has often told me, "You can't see it if you don't know it" - so I didn't know it existed. I did manage to learn a kind of "double ¾ shimmy", but trying to do any kind of ¾ shimmy - double or otherwise - with an upper body undulation layered over it was more than I could do! Fun trying though.

Next week, I'm gonna try her "level 2" class - it sounds like the technique there is more my level - although the warm up might still kill me as Janelle tells me that its a "tiny-tiny bit easier"! Why didn't I take up knitting? Smile!

13 July 2008

Performance at the Masala (outdoor) Hafla in Santa Cruz - the last one under the auspices of Masala Imports as their dance studio and all that goes with it (such as the Hafla) have been transferred to Janelle.

I performed "Solo-10/Om Kalthoum" again, kind of by default. I had intended to perform "Solo-11/Cabaret" with the Isis wings, but at the last minute couldn't find the music for same, so grabbed Solo-10 and ran with it. All in all, a good decision as the wind was pretty fierce - one of my dance sisters laughingly said I would have looked like the flying nun with those wings - I probably wouldn't have touched ground until somewhere in Scott's Valley, 25 miles or so away!

I had the pleasure of running into Caroleena, whom I hadn't seen in many a year. Turns out she'd been out of dancing for the last several years due to medical reasons, but is now edging slowly back in - YAY! I just love her.

12 July 2008

Went through and checked for, and fixed/removed broken links on the links pages - it had been almost two years. In addition, I "finally" alphabetized the dancer links, both males and females. Males really seem to like stage names that start with "M", "S", and to a lesser extent, "Z". Fixed several spelling errors too!

11 July 2008

Performed with Lana's girls at the mini-mall venue. As it was the 1 year anniversary of Lana using this venue, it was a special celebration and the place was packed. I was honored by being asked to close, so I performed "Solo-6a/Shemadan with short finale. I'm told it went well, although the Shemadan was a bit of a worry. Played my "King Tut" Zills. There "should" be a video made of this, if it looks decent, I'll post it here (and get rid of the awful Shemadan video that is there now.).

Beforehand, however, I had a private with Jamaica! I performed "Solo-10/Om Kalthoum" for her to critique. She gave me some very good, apropos feedback.

7 July 2008

Workshop with Adriana of San Francisco. It was a 2+ hour Belly Dance/Salsa fusion workshop that was a lot of fun! I was definitely playing with the "big girls" here, as both Imzadi and Lana were co-students. I was pleased that I was actually able to keep up - the class was quite the workout!

This was originally going to be my first class (as opposed to workshop) with Janelle, but she was out of town and had engaged Adriana to teach a special workshop in her stead - so I figured "why not?". Fusion isn't really my thing, being a more or less "old skool" American Cabaret Belly Dancer, but I enjoyed the class immensely - even though some of the steps fought both my Belly Dance training, as well as my Greek Dance training!

It came to my attention that Link opens in new window this site has a number of pictures from Kalisa's 82nd birthday party of 1 February 2008, including several of moi.

3 July 2008

Yet another total improv performance at Jose's underground with Jamaica's girls. Had a bit of an audience this time, and had a good yak with a gal, "Bonnie", who was in from out of state for a couple of months and is taking classes from Jamaica - she'd never seen a male Belly Dancer before. I danced for better than 2 hours straight, playing my Tutankhamun Zills much of the time.

Jamaica has some new troupe choreographies that look really good, her choreography skills have matured considerably since I was last under her tutelage. I may very well end up back with Jamaica in time - she is my "dance mother", an almost sacred thing among Belly Dancers.

Also received some more, and better, shots from Hafla Santa Cruz from dance brother and photographer Sharif. So I put a pair of them in Gallery 1, about half way down. Look for the 06/21/08 date under the pictures.

30 June 2008

As promised, two new videos on the video page taken at the mini-mall venue on 13 June! Plus this picture just in from the 21 June Halfa Santa Cruz performance - thanx to dance brother Sharif!

Zorba, Male Belly Dancer

29 June 2008

KA-WONGA! Today was the performer call in for the annual Link opens in new window Desert Dance Festival, and I got a spot! YAY! Now I just need to figure out what I'm going to dance - but I have until September...

27 June 2008

Performance at the mini mall with Lana's girls. This one went very well, if I say so myself. Good crowd, good energy, lots of people! I did "BellyGram-2, short version" which means the version without the cane dance. I not only played my Saroyan "King Tut" Zills, but I also left them on the entire time, even when I did veilwork (lime green ultra light chiffon 3 yard veil). Cory would be proud!!

Lana also presented me with a DVD of the performance two weeks ago, including my Isis wings performance and my "mini-roast" of Lana afterwards. As soon as I can fit it into my schedule, I'll get excerpts sucked off the DVD and posted on the video page.

21 June 2008

Performance at Hafla Santa Cruz, my second year. I performed "Solo-10/Om Kalthoum", probably the best I've done it yet. Sahar and Artemis, who were both present, complimented me highly; as did Shorsha and others of my dance sisters.

Before my performance, I worked a 3 hour volunteer shift at the hafla - helping man the admissions table. A lot of fun, I got to hobnob with everyone!

Saw lots of very good dancing, and ran into a lot of dance sisters (and a couple of dance brothers!).

13 June 2008

Another performance with Lana's girls at the mini-mall venue. This really is a nice venue. I did "Solo-9/Serpentina" to a VERY good reception, then "Solo-11/Cabaret" with my Isis wings. Parts of the latter were pretty good, such as the Kaleegi head/hair tosses (kneeling), but some of it was a little rough - its been awhile. After Solo-11, I gave a brief, impromptu thank you speech to/for Lana. A fun nite, and just what I needed, had several people tell me that they were hoping I'd show up, they liked my dancing, etc, etc, - and a couple of them were males! After the events of the last couple of weeks, it was exactly the reinforcement/encouragement I needed!

11 June 2008

Time for a change. For many complex reasons, I am no longer one of Janette's "girls". I love Janette, and think she's a fantastic instructor - but there comes a time when you need fly on your own.

So I'm "instructor shopping". For the moment, I've joined forces with the Mighty Siwa for a special project - a Shemadan duette! I also joined her class this evening - probably not permanently, but "for a season" - it should be fun!

In a manner similar to Jamaica, Siwa has a little 15 second "ritual" to close class. Although I'm a Pagan, I'm not Wiccan like she is - but it is very nice to have "the Goddess" openly invoked. Especially in this day and age of BOOK based, monotheistic religions that are ruining the world.

I'll be doing some "drop-ins" with other instructors over the next few weeks, and I have a private arranged to evaluate "where I am".

In other news, I've just booked what promises to be a VERY fun private performance!

5 June 2008

Performance at the "new place" where I performed on 22 May. I forgot to note its name, its "Jose's Underground". Pretty much the same drill as last time, had a better crowd, but still thin. Danced pretty much non-stop for 2-½ hours, much of it playing my Tutankhamun Zills - I'm tired! I danced so much that I sweated my bindi right off - thank Goddess I didn't "melt my face off" with it!

I'm given to understand that the crowd was "pretty decent" last week (when I wasn't there). I hope this joint takes off - they and this show are getting some publicity now, and it has a lot of potential.

3 June 2008

New video review: Secrets of the Stage, Vol 2.. Also, Link opens in new window Saqra was kind enough to forward a very nice picture of me at her show last March in Seattle:

Zorba, Male Belly Dancer
Dancing at the Saqra Show in Seattle (03/08/08)
Photo by Michael Raybuck.

I also placed this picture in Gallery 2.

31 May 2008

Casbah Cabaret. Yet another round of "Solo-10/Om Kalthoum", as well as my "Solo-9" (with Saroyan "Grecian" Zills). Then two of my dance sisters and myself did the "Story Dance" choreography. I had quite the chat with a certain Fatima in the audience afterwards. She seems to really love my dancing - and she also told me I need to do more big, fluid hip movements with Om Kalthoum - this is the best feedback I've ever gotten from anyone about my dancing. She was very kind to give me the feedback when I asked her for it - "real" feedback is SO hard to get!

24 May 2008

Private performance at a graduation party - jointly with my dear wife. We put on a 50 minute show, using both our own solo pieces, as well as Janette's troupe choreographies. We started with the Karsilima (I played my Zildjian Zills), then the "Story Dance" and the "Skirt Dance". Zarah (my wife) then did a solo to Light Rain's "Dark Fire" (same music as my "Veil-5", although she didn't use a veil) while I was offstage getting rid of my skirt and doing a costume change. I then did an oldie, but goodie; "Veil-1" with my 3 yard dark red polyester Chiffon veil, playing with various audience members. Finishing that, I did another round of "Solo-10/Om Kalthoum".

My wife resumed the stage at that point (having also shed her skirt and done a costume change), doing the class double veil piece, followed by the "Corn Dance" and the drum solo choreography (as solos). This was her very first "real" performance with veil of any kind - and she did a beautiful job with the double veils. I am so very proud of her! Anyway, we finished up with the Cane dance and the "Fish" dance as duettes. Following was some "get folks up and dancing" music that turned into a solo for me as no-one wanted to dance (it was VERY hot!), so I played my Zills and danced a bit more.

A fun, if hot, performance!

23 May 2008

Performance with Lana's girls at the mini-mall venue I first (and last) danced at on 20 July of last year. I did "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance" (with red/orange A'Kai silk 4 yard veil) and "Solo-10/Om Kalthoum" which is a very hard piece for me. I think I did the best I've ever done with it - not to be confused with anything spectacular! Lana was, of course, as gracious and beautiful as always.

22 May 2008

Pseudo-performance at a new venue. Jamaica is trying to get this venue in Monterey off the ground - its a little club/bar thing that has opened up for us on Thursday nites. Its in a very good location to catch the tourist trade (a block from Cannery Row), and hopefully we can draw in a crowd given time. I like the place, its small and intimate with a small stage and a funky ambiance - reminds me of a cleaner Kalisa's.

I called this a "pseudo-performance", no-one did any prepared material, it really was only Belly Dancers and Belly Dance hangers on - so it turned into a Belly Dance party, first to canned music; then when several musicians showed up (mostly old Kalisa's guys), to live! We sort of traded off dancing on the stage vs. dancing among the tables. Reminded me of many nites at Kalisa's around 1 AM - it was fun, but won't hold as a show if/when we get some "real" audience! Still, a Belly Dance party would be the wonder of a king's court - we let our hair down and try all kinds of stuff that we wouldn't in a serious performance! I understand that there were more people there last week - the first week this was tried. If it lasts any time at all, I'll be back...

18 May 2008

A bit more with Piano

17 May 2008

A short, but very significant update for Piano

16 May 2008

Artist Link opens in new window Nikkij created a wonderful Belly Dance portrait for me:

Zorba's Belly Dance Portrait
Enjoy, but please remember this picture is copyrighted.

Which turned out way beyond my wildest imaginings - she did an outstanding job making me look far more elegant and beautiful than I actually am! Smile! I really need to figure out how to do my eyebrows like she did here...

She also created a YouTube clip of part of the creation process:

Link opens in new window Artist Nikkij Paints Zorba!

I just can't get away from YouTube no matter how hard I try!

14 May 2008

I don't like YouTube, and wouldn't ever so dignify that site with a video of mine...

However, sometimes such things are beyond one's control, here's a kind of "Belly Dance promotional blurb" featuring my instructor talking about some of the benefits of Belly Dancing - alternating with footage from the 4 May show of my dance sisters and myself doing the "Story" dance.

Link opens in new window YouTube Clip

The video quality is YouTube's usual abysmal standard, but if you download the clip with keepvid or similar, the quality actually isn't too bad...

4 May 2008

Reprise of yesterday's performance. Same venue, same dances, same time. Different veil ("Greenie", my very first veil! 3 yard Kelly Green silk.) and Zills (King Tuts). This was the Smurf performance - we were all blue from cold! My rant on the topic of stupid male dress notwithstanding, I almost wished I were a Ballroom dancer instead of a Belly Dancer! Or maybe Eskimo folk dancing would have been appropriate...

Anyway, once we got moving, the performance went pretty well. I dumped my veil early in my solo as the wind was just whipping it around and I wasn't able to do anything particularly pretty or graceful with it.

3 May 2008

A performance with Janette's troupe at the local "TheatreFest" in Monterey. Did most of the troupe dances (playing my "Grecian" Zills). Also did a solo, "Veil-5/Dark Fire" with my 3 yard dark red polyester Chiffon veil (being that it was an outdoor performance). Janette's "Be in the moment" worked here, I was almost as ecstatic with this (recorded) music as I was with the live stuff in Seattle!

I was even able to wear those cool earrings I received yesterday!

2 May 2008

An epiphany. Janette has been trying to beat the concept of "Be in the moment!" into me in regards to my dancing and musical interpretation. Until tonite, I just didn't get it. My wife and I were at a "Brothers of the Baladi" performance where Janette, Jamaica, and Lana's troupe "Bellysema" were dancing to their music. I suddenly understood what Janette has been talking about all this time - it clicked for me. It connected with the ecstasy I felt during the my performance to live music at Saqra's show in Seattle on 8 March. Watching Janette dance to this live music, plus getting up and dancing to it myself during the "free dance" portion brought the concept home. This is the kind of connection I've always had with Classical music, and have had for years now with Greek music - now I understand the un-understandable and can apply it to ANY kind of music!

In other news a dance sister and instructor, Mariama, presented me with a VERY cool pair of earrings: 5 pointed stars over moons.

20 April 2008

A new picture from last week's performance:

Zorba dancing with Shemadan
Shemadan dance outdoors!

Finished up my wife's skirt in a manner similar to mine, although this one was in way worse shape:

red skirt

A very minor update for Piano
In fact its so minor, look for it bottom picture of 28 March 2008, page 2.

13 April 2008

Pacific Grove's "Good ol' Days" festival, main stage. Danced with Janette's troupe, doing almost all the choreographies, including the new "corn dance". Also soloed "Solo-12/Shemadan 2" for the second time - and the first time with the Shemadan, playing my Zildjian Zills with it. This was also the first time I've ever danced with the Shemadan outdoors (but under a tent) - much to my surprise, the candles were all still lit when I was finished!

Being that we were the first act on (at 10:30 in the morning!), we went dancing through the festival ahead of time to scare up an audience, of which we ended up with a medium sized crowd. While we were dancing through the streets inviting people, I overheard something like "There's a male Belly Dancer. I never knew there was... "

Zorba dancing 'story dance'
Zorba and dance sisters dancing the "Story Dance".

5 April 2008

A new entry in the Media page, plus a minor update to the previous (Feb '08) entry. Also added a wonderful poem someone sent to me.

29 March 2008

Casbah Cabaret. The Casbah Cabaret returns for 2008 as a once a quarter event, any time there's a fifth Saturday in a month, there will be a CC.

Absolutely standing room only crowd, the place was packed and better still, full of energy. I danced my "BellyGram 2" (short version) to an enthusiastic response. I used Cory Zamora's veil wrap (orange/red A'Kai silk veil) with better results than I've had with it previously, thanx to the workshop I took with her on 17 February.

I had some problems getting my Zills (King Tuts) back on for the finale, I had to "scold" one of the thumb Zills that wasn't in a cooperative mood - but otherwise the performance went well, and the audience was VERY responsive to both myself, and my dance sisters!

I also ran into an ex-dance sister who had come to watch us. She got up and danced during the "open dancing" after the show - and was utterly beautiful. I strongly encouraged Smile! her to come back to dancing. I really hope she does, we all miss her!

I'm tired, off to bed!

28 March 2008

Two whole pages worth of work on Piano

9 March 2008

The other two workshops with Naheda! First was a Salsa/Oriental fusion piece. I'm not much into fusion, but I like this number. Like yesterday's drum solo, I'm tempted to use this choreography - and I came home with a DVD and CD of the music and instruction so I can put it together if I so wish. Cool.

The second workshop was a Double Veil workshop. I'm always looking for new things with veils. It was no less than THREE HOURS LONG!! The choreography was vaguely similar to one that Janette has been teaching us in class - but different enough that I had plenty to learn technique-wise.

The first couple of hours went pretty well - I was able to pick up what she was teaching and dance it well, experienced veil dancer that I am. But sometime in the third hour, my arms "fell off" and I started floundering - badly. Partly because there was a veil wrap-up thing that I didn't have enough veil length for (with my large body), but mostly because I was just drop dead tired! Stuff I'd been doing earlier on in the dance like an old pro I was blowing. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun even if I did crawl out to my sister's car afterwards...

8 March 2008

Workshops with Naheda, followed by a performance with and by her in Seattle. Link opens in new window Saqra (also of Seattle) had invited me up to perform in the show:

Poster for the show.

The workshops were great. The first was a drum solo choreography. Longtime readers of these pages will no doubt recall that I dislike choreography - however I'm quite tempted to utilize this one - I like it that much. "Someone" was filming the workshop and something was said about getting all the participants a copy. I hope so.

The second workshop was a Turkish folk dance. Despite my years of dancing vaguely similar dances from Greece and elsewhere, I was pretty stymied by this class - as were a lot of my dance sisters! It was pretty complicated.

The evening show was fantastic, both from a personal standpoint as well as an overall standpoint. All the performers were terrific! It was a bit of a milestone for me - prior to this show, I had only performed to live music twice, and on a big stage thrice (and never both at the same time!). Dancing to Saqra's Raksband (live), I performed with both Zills (King Tut), and veil (A'Kai four yard red/orange) on a HUGE stage. It was utter magic - Saqra and my sister (who was in the audience) told me I was utterly ecstatic. I believe them, I definitely lost myself in the music - what a blast!

Utter ecstasy!

Look for a video of this performance soon!

7 March 2008

At a Greek restaurant in Seattle, I was able to introduce my sister to my artform. We watched a Belly Dancer perform during dinner. The gal appeared to be an advanced student, my sister seemed to think that she was blushing a little bit as she came out - but she responded favorably and relaxed as I gave her Zaghareet and clapped and smiled and encouraged her. She did nice veilwork and - a credit to her teachers - she played Zills!

2 March 2008

A workshop from The Mighty Siwa! Prop balancing! A good workshop, I had two questions/issues on the subject - she was able to answer/help with both. As much help and encouragement that she's given me over the years, it was nice to finally actually take a workshop from her.

29 February 2008

New video review, Tribal Fusion Belly Dance. Yoga, Isolations and Drills: A Practice Companion with Rachel Brice.

20 February 2008

Picture from the Cory Zamora show last Saturday, thanx to Sharif.
Shows off the Kohl around my eyes rather well, don't you think? Smile!

Zorba, Male Belly Dancer

17 February 2008

The Cory Zamora workshop! A lot of fun, some useful stuff, and I finally figured out what I've been doing wrong with the "Scarf Tie" veilwrap! Janette, Siwa were among the luminaries present - and Jamaica put in a surprise appearance!

16 February 2008

Performance at the Link opens in new window Dance Odyssey Studio in Soquel. This was in connection with the Cory Zamora workshop tomorrow. I was on second, I did "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance" as it had never been seen on the north side of the bay before (four yard red/orange A'Kai veil). In addition, Janette, The Mighty Siwa, Lana, and of course Cory Zamora herself also performed.

Cory reminds me of why I love Belly Dance - she did pure, old fashioned American Cabaret Belly Dance in all its glory, beauty, grace, and power - complete with floorwork, seen so rarely now. Ethnic style Belly Dance is cool, and fun, and all that; the new stuff is a lot of fun too - but my first love is classic Cabaret.

The show was put on and announced by Janelle, who was a sweetheart as always. Imzadi made a surprise appearance in the audience, and my dance brother Link opens in new window Sharif was also in the audience taking pictures!

9 February 2008

Empowerment. The commonly found "Gypsy" skirt is made of rather diaphanous cotton in three tiers. They're famous for pulling apart at the seams. The way to fix one is to sew ribbon or other trim over the seams, both hiding the problem and providing reinforcement. So - this was my largest sewing project to date, by far! Aside from doing every stupid thing possible while sewing the 28 yards of ribbon this took, it came out quite well.

Midway through. A *lot* of ribbon to sew!
My wife has an identical one, but red, with the same problem. Its next!

As promised, there are a couple of pictures from Kalisa's 82nd Birthday at the bottom of a re-vamped Gallery 2

3 February 2008

A new entry in the Media page!

Pictures coming soon from the 1 Feb. performance, stay tuned!

1 February 2008

The magic was back - if for only one night...

Kalisa's 82nd Birthday party which was held, for the first time in living memory, in a location other than Kalisa's La Ida Café; which is no more.

It was held in a new venue, a place called "The Tea Room" that is within spitting distance of the old La Ida. Many familiar faces that I hadn't seen since the closure last year. Brought back much of the old feelings.

I did two dances - the class cane choreography with Nadia Gamal's cane "#2", and a solo to music I'm calling "Shemadan 2", even though I didn't dance with the Shemadan. Instead, I danced while balancing a round tray on my head that I've had for years that I'd never performed with before - on top of it was a large slice of Birthday cake with the number "82" on top (lit number candles!). I still haven't figured it out yet, but somehow Wiggle Woman (Janette) talked me into doing this act. I don't recall telling her "yes", but there I was! I'm told it went well and looked good - all I know is that I didn't dump the cake! The crowd really loved it that I knelt down to present the cake to the "Queen of Cannery Row" herself! I then finished my dance playing my King Tut Zills.

Many dance sisters who I haven't seen in quite a while were there, including the fantastic Jamaica whose performance reminded me of why she's still my #1 dance idol.

There is a possibility that this may become the "New Kalisa's" and be a regular or at least semi-regular venue for us. Last year's attempt with the various "Kalisa's Cabaret at the Vet's Hall" is now officially dead. Too far away in a very out of the way location killed it.

In related news, I drove down to the old La Ida on my way in. It has been totally remodeled, new windows, new walls inside, etc. Even the old staircase leading upstairs is gone (There is now a new window where the bottom of it was, and inside taking its place is an ATM machine). The place looks nice - and they totally killed the last of the "authentic" Cannery Row. The only thing left that's recognizable is the front door, which was retained much to my surprise. Goddess only knows what has been done in the back and the upstairs. Incongruently, it was closed - something that would have NEVER happened on a Friday nite when it was the La Ida. Just another tourist trap.

UPDATE: A number of pictures from this event are at Link opens in new window this site, including several of moi.

19 January 2008

Private performance at a party in Florida. I did "BellyGram #2", using my Zildjian Zills, and the four yard multi-colored chiffon veil. As I didn't want the hassle and risk of transporting a cane, I "made" one there from a 3 foot oak dowel. A bit on the heavy side, but workable. As an encore, I performed "Solo-5/Goddess Dance" double veil with my beloved A'Kai silk half circles.

The performance was a smash hit - it was outdoors in a lanai area of a large home. Good thing too, it was raining and I was just under the roof. The audience loved me! I tried Cory Zamora's veil wrap once again. I was able to get it to unwrap better this time, and even play peek-a-boo with the veil.

Pictures can be seen at the bottom of Gallery 3.

5 January 2008

The first video mini-review for 2008: By Dancers For Dancers Vol 1.

1 January 2008

Another year in dance has come and gone - and Q1 2008 has some very exciting things on the horizon! So keep checking back here! The rest of the upcoming year is, as always, as uncertain as Schrödinger's cat. We'll see what it brings...

Its now officially 90 years old, so there is an update for Piano

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