Zorba, Male Belly Dancer

Henna Design A Belly Dance Diary 2009 Henna Design

Zorba at Carnival of Stars '08 (11/09/08)
Photo courtesy Ayleene of Link opens in new window http://lilbittydemon.com/

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 2009

One last entry for '09. "I dun done it"!! I actually serged my first veil!

Serger in action!

As I noted back in July, I purchased a used Serger off Craigslist out of state - I sent my sister-in-law over to buy it for me. It took a couple of months to get it shipped out to California, and when it arrived, the needlebar had worked its way loose. A simple fix, but as it involved machine timing, it was beyond my knowledge, so I sent it into the shop for a tune up. The quoted "two weeks" turned into almost eight, but I finally got it back a couple of weeks ago.

Since The Mighty Siwa had shown me how to run one, I was able to dive right in, and serge the edge of this veil - in fact not only did I serge it, I used the serger's rolled hem presser foot and gave the veil a micro rolled hem. Having tried a rolled hem foot a couple of times on my regular sewing machine, the serger is a breath of fresh air! Even I can do it!

Next is a new costume I've had in mind for some time, and even purchased the fabric for. Another "Raffa Top" (My fave male costume) paired with a matching "Turkish" skirt. In the right venue, this could be a lot of fun! Serge all the troublesome edges, then use the regular machine to sew it together and attach fringe!

So closes out 2009 - not as bad a year as 2008 (of which I'll always refer to as "The Year of Untold Sorrow"), but not the greatest either as it had its own sorrow. 2010 is, as most new years are, full of promise. We'll see what happens! Smile!

22 December 2009

All good things must come to an end. I sent this out to my fans, dance sisters, etc:

It is my sad duty to belay the last message - the owner of the Haute has canceled the show "until further notice". The bottom line: We weren't enough of a draw, despite the extraordinary talent that everyone involved over the last year exhibited - for which I humbly thank everyone. But the middle of nowhere location, coupled with not enough publicity has killed it. But "nothing ventured, nothing gained", it was fun while it lasted and I learned a lot, both as a dancer and as an event organizer.

Scheduled dancers: Please accept my apologies - and my gratitude. Without dance sisters like yourselves, the gig wouldn't have gotten off the ground in the first place!

My greatest thanks to ALL the wonderful, beautiful dancers who came out and gave it their best - I am indeed very privileged to know and dance with every single one of you. {BOW HERE} And a big round of virtual applause for all the customers/audience that came out to enjoy the show, and support their favorite dancers!

I hope to find another gig in a better location soon - any/all leads are, of course, appreciated greatly.

...But I can't complain - far better dancers than I have lost far more workable venues than this! Rule 1 in the restaurant dancing biz: You got it until you don't!

Since I'd already made it up anyway, the flyer for the next, stillborn show:

Haute Enchilada Flyer

19 December 2009

Performance at Bibi's Winter recital. Troupe dances - one with the "Gypsy" troupe, one with the "Egyptian". The Gypsy dance, of course, had a lot of skirtwork - my wife who was in the audience said the reaction of some nearby teens when I whirled around the first time, skirts flying, was "priceless"!!

Both dances were fun, although the Egyptian one had forced me into a so-called "male" role as "sultan"; even though I was doing the exact same dance as everyone else (as I should be), I really didn't like being cast into role that was anything different from anyone else. Despite that, the dance was fun.

A lot of hyper-energy backstage what with a number of dancers doing their first performances with the beginning troupes - I had to talk several of them "down out of the tree" so to speak: "Deep and slow big girl, deep and slow!".

13 December 2009

Performance at the Link opens in new window Tribal Fusion Faire , not in San Louis Obispo as it was last year, but in Arroyo Grande, ½ hour further south.

But this was not a Zorba solo - this was a Mirage performance! Our "big show" debut, doing our skirt dance, and Firefly's "Shiraz" Tribal piece - complete with Firefly! She did a short solo with veil fans in between our skirt dance and Shiraz so we could shuck our skirts and put on our more Tribal stuff.

It was a TON of fun! We had a blast, and the audience (of Tribal Belly Dancers) loved us. Lots of compliments on both dances - not to mention Firefly! Have I mentioned that Firefly ROCKS!

5 December 2009

This month's edition of the Link opens in new window Haute Enchilada show! Aruba, Roni, and Rebekah were the guest soloists this month. All in all, a much better show than last month as we actually had an audience! I did four of my short solos: "Solo-10/Om Kalsoum", "Veil-6/The Dance of Untold Sorrow" (With my 4 yard orange Silk-Chiffon veil), "Solo-8/Serpentina", and "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance" (with a 4 yard saffron Polyester-Chiffon veil that came from "Goddess knows where").

26 November 2009

Finally got the necessary picture - Didi now has an entry on the teacher's page!

7 November 2009

The Link opens in new window Haute Enchilada show returns this month, with Aunna, my lovely wife Zarah, and Imzadi as guest soloists. I did my usual "Routine-2" with my King Tut Zills and the afore mentioned new veil which I've decided to call the "Nebula Veil". Although the show went well for everyone, the place was pretty much a dud - although we did manage to keep two large tables who were about to depart when we arrived. One of the two tables even ordered a round of desserts - but once they finally did leave, the place was empty 'cept for one woman and her little daughter who we drafted as a dancer - the little girl had a lot of fun!

Such are the life/hazards of restaurant dancing!

6 November 2009

Performed at The Cherry Bean in Salinas. Did "Solo-6/Shemadan with short finale" again; since I have good candles in the Shemadan anyway and Mariama, the event sponsor, convinced the shop owner that a block wide conflagration wouldn't result from a few lit candles! Played my "King Tut" Zills - the dance was very well received as this one always is. Una, a very well known dancer from the San Jose area, came and did a spectacular performance - and she liked my routine too.

Then, troupe Mirage performed our skirt dance to rave reviews. People really like it! Smile! We kind of think "Its our first choreography, its OK.", but after hearing several people all but gush about it, its more like "What hath we wrought?".

3 November 2009

New teacher! Didi, a really cool Tribal Fusion gal in Santa Cruz has started a class in same; so my wife and I both are now in her class. Its being taught at a metaphysical/magick shop called "The Serpent's Kiss" in their ritual space. Kind of like dancing in an ashram, rugs on the floor, tapestries on the walls, lamps hanging from the ceiling, and incense in the air! No teacher's page entry for her just yet, I have a really nice picture in a dance sister's camera - need to get it from her.

1 November 2009

Raqs Al Shemadan (!!) at Link opens in new window Menara Moroccan Restaurant in San Jose, under the auspices of Janelle. With real candles - Menara is one of the few places left that allow live fire performances, so I did "Solo-6/Shemadan with short finale". Went quite well, played my "Grecian" Zills. Received quite a few compliments, several to the effect of "your continued training with Janelle is paying off". Yep, in spades! Smile!

Although it had been over a year since I'd performed with my Shemadan with real candles; I noted that balancing the thing is a good deal easier due to, no doubt, all the balancing I've been doing with Dancers of the Crescent Moon.

31 October 2009

Performance at an old folk's home - under the same auspices as last year's performance of 25 October, a Christian group. It was myself and 2 other members of troupe Mirage. I performed the same routine as last week's Cypress Raqs show - same veil, same Zills; but this time I didn't try veil with Zills, I got rid of the Zills before my veil section - needless to say, my veil routine went much smoother this time! The three of us did the Mirage skirt dance which went very well!

Later, in the evening, was The Mighty Siwa's annual Samhain ritual and birthday celebration.

25 October 2009

A performance at Santa Cruz's "Cypress Lounge" - the monthly "Cypress Raqs" show. I performed "Routine 2 - Uber short version". Unlike the last time I attempted this piece at this venue, the music didn't screw up, and over all it went well. I did have enough problems with my veil (a brand new, 3 yard silk multi-colored blue/gold affair that obviously needs more training) to make me dump it - probably because I was trying to do veil whilst wearing Zills ("Grecians"). But otherwise the performance went well if you don't count my shimmying off a tassel belt while someone was tipping me! At least said belt slid gracefully to the floor instead of exploding off my hips like the Carnival of Stars incident.

17 October 2009

An interesting performance with DCM (Dancers of the Crescent Moon). "Interesting" because of the venue - it was a "decompression party" (i.e. street faire) for/from Burning Man. Now how a person is supposed to decompress from an event that was two months ago, I have no idea - but as you'd expect from anything even remotely associated with Burning Man, the whole scene was eye candy! These people made ME look "normal" - a Belly Dancer, even a male Belly Dancer, just looks downright corporate compared to the bull dyke, the fairy, the princess, the dominatrix, and any number of "working girls" who were in the audience! Not to mention any number of others who defied any kind of categorization - talk about creative costuming! It was so very cool...

We danced Halay, then (The Mighty) Siwa and Ajita performed a Zill dance I don't know yet, then we did the pot dance (where Ajita and I both managed to lose our pots), I did a solo, and we finished with the tambourine dance that we normally do as "Damascus". We afterwards walked back to Siwa's balancing our pots most of the way.

My solo was an adaptation of Firefly's Tribal choreography, "Shiraz". Went pretty well all told, the audience loved it. In fact, it took us 15 or 20 minutes to leave after the performance as we had lots of fans congratulating us! Thumbs Up!

15 October 2009

The inevitable has occurred:

Kalisa Moore, Queen of Cannery Row

We have lost our dear friend, Kalisa Moore, the Queen of Cannery Row. Information is still a bit sketchy, but she was apparently at Stanford with a heart condition. The grief of the Monterey Belly Dance community - and the Cannery Row community is yet to come. I haven't had a loss like this since Mary Jane Skopos in 2002. Goddess bless and keep you, dear Kalisa. We love you.

In a more cheerful vein, this picture just in from last Sunday's performance at the old folk's home (fooling around after the performance.). I really DO need to smile more...

Zorba, The Veiled Male

12 October 2009

A pretty decent video on video clip page of last Saturday's performance of "The Dance of Untold Sorrow" at Carnival of Stars. Scroll down to find the video entry. The camera work is sub optimal, some of the things dancers just hate to see in a video, like being too close to the dancer, zooming in so the viewer loses sight of the dance, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah. With this said, I've seen WAY worse.

11 October 2009

The first official Mirage performance! We turned out to perform at an old folks' home in Salinas. We all did solos (me: "Solo-5/Goddess Dance" with my A'kai double veils and "Solo-10/Om Kalthoum"), and finished up with the skirt dance we've been working on for so many months. Bibi turned up for the performance, and like Mariama when she saw the skirt dance, Bibi really liked it too! The energy was very high, the old folks loved us to pieces, it was a wonderful day! Smile!

10 October 2009

Link opens in new window Carnival of Stars, combination comic book convention and Belly Dance festival. My third year. I danced "Veil-6/The Dance of Untold Sorrow" with my 4 yard A'kai red/orange silk veil. The performance itself went quite well, I was "in the groove", I'm now accustomed to dancing on a large stage (and we're talking HUGE - this year's Carnival was at the Richmond Auditorium, former home of Rakkasah!), the veil behaved itself, etc. The only dim part was when I was taking my bows - I had dropped to the floor at the end of my dance, was wearing a string skirt, and - you guessed it! - my toes entangled themselves with the strings. frown! Sigh! So now, I have to make yet another rule about string skirts - not only "no" when dancing cane, but now a new "no" when doing floorwork of any kind, shape, size, or description!

Still, I had the joy of many compliments from dance sisters and audience - "beautiful and mesmerizing" were a couple of the comments. This is a very emotional dance for me - and it shows.

Then it was time to change into my Damascus costume as the Mighty Siwa and my DCM/DoD dance sisters were all present to perform! So I got changed, went and ate some really excellent falafel and hummus and served my volunteer shift - this time as stage manager! That was an interesting experience, and fun!

Ok, so after one of my dance sisters did a bit of makeup primping on me, we go on to do a three part performance - actually the same as we did at DDF. The first part, the tambourine dance, went pretty well. However, as we were circling around to get into formation for the second part (veil), my tassel belt exploded from my hips. Said belt has two very heavy duty snaps, plus two hook closures - it isn't going anywhere. Yet it did. Siwa scooped it up, slips it to me with a whispered "go put yourself back together". I had thought to slip off into the stage wings, pop the belt back on, and get back out in time to do the veil number. However, as soon as I got off stage, I realized that the loss of the belt had destroyed my veil wrap as well (duh, it was tucked into the belt!). So instead, I removed the veil, refastened the errant belt, and snuck my way back around behind the stage to get onto the correct side to rejoin the troupe for the final number, "RB,BB" which went pretty well all things considered. I made a couple of minor errors, and my form probably wasn't as good as it could have been - but it was my first time performing "RB, BB" (Which stands for, I found out, "Red Bird, Blue Bird").

But even with all the costume drama, it was a far better performance than the one we (as DoD) did at DDF! My smooth handling of the costume crisis had a number of audience members thinking that I simply wasn't in the veil dance (Yea, right. The "Veiled Male" not in a veil dance? Smile!)!

I then hung out in the hall, watching several dancers, including festival organizer Pepper Alexandria - who is a legendary, "old Skool" dancer. The highlight of the day, as far as I was concerned, was Cory Zamora who isn't normally a big show, big stage dancer. You wouldn't have known it was her second big festival performance as she owned that stage like the pro she is! Every time I see that woman perform, I am just awed by the beauty and power of her traditional American Cabaret Belly Dance! Just awed.

3 October 2009

No Link opens in new window Haute Enchilada show this month, the restaurant was sold to a wedding. One of the hazards of restaurant work. We return next month, 7 November!

27 September 2009

Arabian Nights At Sea (ANAS), Sunday:

"Drum Solo Drills and Choreography" by Aradia. This class was a revelation for me. Aradia is one of those short, high energy dancers similar to Janelle or Janette, so the class was pretty fast paced and so was the choreography she was teaching. However, I was able to keep up, and I was able to do most of the layering - which was a bit of a shock to me. Now I need to remember to use some of this stuff when I'm performing!

Last, but not least, I was able to actually complete Jill Parker's "Ooey, Gooey, Slow & Slinky" workshop that I tried to take last year (Thank Goddess she was repeating it this year!) but got sick and had to leave. My wife was also scheduled to take this workshop with me (Indeed, all the Mirage dancers were taking it!), but this year it was HER turn to be sick and not be able to come to it at all!

I found it interesting that Jill was teaching one pattern identical to one we all learned from Janette, but I hadn't seen elsewhere until now.

We then went to the student hafla (which Mirage tried to get a spot in, but we lost the "lottery"), watched some very nice dancing, and signed up for next year! Even bought a new coin scarf for class use from Mesmera (who expressed her surprise that I was wearing a denim skirt - hey! I was in civvies!). Next year I expect to be showing off my to-be-new fifty year tattoo!

26 September 2009

Arabian Nights At Sea (ANAS), Saturday:

The next morning found me in a class with well-known instructor and performer, Mesmera! She was an ANAS instructor a couple of years ago, but this was my first time studying with her. The subject: Arms and Armwork, the ever important, very hard, blah, blah, subject that all dancers have difficulty with. I really liked Mesmera's way of breaking armwork down into geometric shapes and patterns. I respond to patterning - she's given me a lot to think on and practice.

Then it was off to Paulina's "Fab and Fun Raqs Combos" which was, as Paulina's workshops tend to be, FUN!

After these two workshops, I was bone tired. Especially after staying up until almost 3 AM to watch the show the nite before! I had wanted to take Mesmera's "Gitana Arabia" workshop this afternoon, being that it was full of Skirtwork, fan and shawl technique - but really felt that I needed to go to Fahtiem's "How to Use Your Stage" instead. So I went back to the cabin, set a wake up call, and went to sleep. Pretty deeply I guess - 'cause I slept right through the wake up call and didn't wake up until my wife came back from her workshop with Aradia!

Needless to say, I was irritated with myself - but realize I probably wouldn't have made it through the workshop anyway, nor gotten much from it - as tired as I was...

Since I was "slept up" pretty well by then, my wife and I went to the drum circle under the stars at 11:30 PM that evening. The call of the drums is infectious, but so is the call for sleep, so we didn't stay long...

25 September 2009

Arabian Nights At Sea (ANAS), Friday nite:

Got on board the Recommended by Zorba! Link opens in new window CCL ship Paradise and immediately after the lifeboat drill, went off to class with the Shimmy Sisters who were teaching a class called "Duette Combos". The Shimmy Sisters are out of San Diego - this is their first year teaching at ANAS after coming as students last year and all but literally blowing the doors off the Queen Mary lounge at the student hafla! Everyone was eager to take their classes; this one was stuffed with Belly Dancers, hip scarf to hip scarf.

Unfortunately, somehow I managed to kick my feet together in such a way as to completely shatter my left big toenail right at the end of the class! The good news is that the darn thing was ingrown anyway. I taped it up with a band-aid and it was good for the rest of the cruise...

We then went to the Teacher's show at Midnight, always a GREAT performance. I just wish it weren't so darn late!

24 September 2009

Our annual stay on the Recommended by Zorba! Link opens in new window "Mighty Mary" (RMS Queen Mary) immediately prior to setting sail for the Recommended by Zorba! Link opens in new window Arabian Nights at Sea 2009 Belly Dance cruise! The old girl is looking a LOT better as the on-going restoration work that had started last year about the time we were there has made considerable progress. Ate at "Sir Winston's" as always, and got all dolled up for that!

We went with TWO dance sisters this year, Cristy and Jody, wanting to pick up some ideas and technique for Mirage troupe dances.

20 September 2009


Ready for a performance?

Picture from the day before the DCM/DoD performances of 9/13/09 at DDF: Siwa's girls don't travel lite - and this wasn't the half of it! Pictured here is all the jewelry for both troupes; a skirt, a pair of harem pants, a tambourine, a veil, and a pair of Hermes sandals; all for DoD.

For DCM there is a coin belt, a tassel belt, an assuit tunic, a pair of boots (with socks); a headpiece and various mozuna ropes are stashed inside the paper maché pot.

Still missing from this picture are several DoD items: a dress, a skirt identical to the one pictured but a different color, a vest, a second tassel belt, a clip-on butterfly for the hair, and a headband - all of which were picked up at DDF!

Add to this the stuff that wasn't used in this performance, like a sword, a stick/cane, a tray or a Shemadan, any number of Zills; and my threat of buying a "pod trailer" to haul all this stuff starts looking like sense! Grin!

18 September 2009

The second Link opens in new window Gilded Serpent article: Link opens in new window A Quest for Beauty Part II: Damn the Torpedoes and Full Speed Ahead! Indeed, it wasn't long at all before a torpedo was launched at the article in the form of a letter to the (Gilded Serpent) editor. My metaphorical response: "Pour on more coal, flank speed ahead!". HA! Grin!

In other news, my wife and I have both picked up a new instructor - Bibi! We're in her intermediate Egyptian choreography class, although I'm thinking of sneaking in early from time-to-time to partake of her immediately preceding "Gypsy-style" class with all the cool skirtwork!

13 September 2009

Performances with Dancers of the Crescent Moon (DCM) and Damascus (née Daughters of Damascus (DoD)) at the Desert Dance Festival.

The first performance with DCM went pretty well. We danced the signature dance for the group, Halay, which I'm still a bit rough on, but the Mighty Siwa who was fortunately dancing right next to me, kept whispering the "next move" in my ear so I wouldn't screw it up! Smile! This was followed by the folkloric "Pot Dance" which I first did with the group at this year's Rakkasah. It went well, no-one's pot fell off their head, and the floorwork is getting easier for me all the time! Lastly came a Zill dance that I don't know yet so I was background on that one.

The DoD performance on the other hand was, uh, "interesting". We start with a tambourine dance which we've been working on for some time. I was wearing a brand new costume, parts of which I'd never even seen before, much less practiced in. We enter wearing one of Cory Zamora's veil wraps. The veil is a four yard polyester affair which weighs a ton - not my usual veil preference, but it works well enough for this type of dance. Regardless, the shoulder of my vest is very slick, and I kept fighting the veil which was trying to fall off the entire time of the tambourine dance. I felt like I really blew the tambourine dance - but it turns out that it apparently didn't telegraph to the audience as several people claimed it looked fine. Probably had to do with at least one of my dance sisters also having similar problems with her veil.

Afterwards, we did the veil dance which actually came off pretty well, even though my timing on the turns at the end was off. Lastly was a dance called "RB-BB" that I was also background in - although I'll probably dance it next time its performed as I've been learning it.

This picture just in from the Cherry Bean performance of 4 September...

Zorba, The Veiled Male

5 September 2009

This month's edition of the Link opens in new window Haute Enchilada show! This month it was Janelle, Cristy, Amara, and myself. I did the same routine as I did last nite, but used my 4 yard silk orange/red veil and Nadia Gamal's cane #2 (but used the same Zills). Went pretty well - it was a HUGE crowd, but somewhat low energy considering the size. They seemed to like all us dancers well enough, they tipped well, despite the somewhat subdued energy level. The show received several compliments from patrons who had come in because they saw a flyer.

Cristy and I debuted the very first Mirage troupe dance, a skirt dance that was derived from a choreography I learned from Mahalia at least year's ANAS. We hastily adapted it to a duette on a lark during the weekly Mirage practice so we could perform it tonite. It went quite well - Mariama was in attendance and wants us to perform it at the next Cherry Bean showcase! Hopefully we'll have the entire troupe there. I was gratified that all our hard work on this dance was immediately vetted by a dance teacher!

4 September 2009

Performance at Mariama's quarterly showcase at the "Cherry Bean" coffee house in Salinas. This time I did "Routine-2" - the full length version. I used my Grecian Zills, "Greenie", my 3 yard "Kelly Green" silk veil (my very first veil I ever owned!), and Nadia Gamal's cane #1.

Went quite well - the audience seemed to like me, I didn't make any major blunders like I did last time I performed this venue, and I received several compliments - the most remarkable of which was from a guy whose wife has recently started dance classes with Mariama. I don't get a lot of compliments from guys for fairly obvious, but still unfortunate reasons. Its nice to see a guy who is secure enough to enjoy my dancing!

Cannot close this entry without mentioning 4 Tribal gals who came from San Francisco. Like I told them afterwards, the stamp of Carolena Nericcio on them was obvious - they were FANTASTIC!

Also must mention the presence of my dance brother, Sharif - its been QUITE a long time since we've shared a stage. He was dancing with three of Crystal Silmi's girls - Belly/hip-hop fusion. His dance has grown considerably since I saw him last!

3 August 2009

Great Goddess Athena - help me! My Monday nite class with Janelle. As I've noted before, her class always beats me to a pulp - and is a sharp challenge! I've noticed quite a bit of difference in my dancing since I started with her over a year ago now - not that her classes have gotten any easier for me! Anyway, I came the closest I've ever come to doing the splits in our warmup - not that I was anywhere near actually doing them; just closer than I'd ever come before. I got quite the Charley-horse in my right thigh for my pains - corpsman, corpsman! Over here! Wounded over here! Grin!

1 August 2009

The monthly show at the Link opens in new window Haute Enchilada. It was Tracy, Emily, Lana, and myself. Great dancing by all the gals! For myself, I did "Routine-2/Short version" and "Solo-10/Om Kalsoum" with my Grecian Zills and "Greenie", my Kelly Green 3 yard silk veil. The only damper on the evening was that this was the worst attended show since we started this gig - but there were plenty of Belly Dancers in the audience to make up for it!

25 July 2009

Glitter. There is glitter, and sequins, everywhere in this house - and I mean EVERYWHERE. I found a sequin on my bicycle seat the other day - how it got there I haven't a clue. There's glitter on the floors, glitter on the couches, glitter on my face, glitter on my wife's face, glitter in the bed - and sequins scattered about everywhere!

This is from the combination of Mirage rehearsals, and various "stitch and bitch" sessions with my dance sisters working on the wings for Lana's class. Last week, our family room looked like an explosion at Rakkasah - veils, skirts, finger cymbals, dance bags, and wings in varying stages of construction lying around the entire room. The sewing machine, which lives in the library, is also covered with glitter with kazillions of sequins on the floor as this is where we were cutting the sequined elastic we're using for arm bands!

Glitter! After today's Mirage rehearsal, we all went out for lunch at a local Mexican place (still in practice wear) - and we were ALL covered with the stuff. Looking like a bunch of sparkly Divas; in our hair, on our faces, arms, bellies, cholis/tops, skirts, feet...

In other, but somewhat related news, I purchased a serger! It will be, unfortunately, a couple of months before I actually lay hands on it (I had an out of state family member act as my purchasing agent); but it should be an excellent addition to my sewing arsenal. I hope it doesn't choke on glitter and/or sequins!

18 July 2009

Lana's wings choreography class was taught at an alternate location due to our usual venue, Wave St. Studios, being closed today. This alternate location was outside on the lawn of Monterey's El Estero park, between the very busy Del Monte Avenue and "lake" El Estero! So here we are, five or six Belly Dancers practicing to the accompaniment of honking horns, catcalls, yells, and the occasional squealing brakes! It was absolutely hilarious! We've promised ourselves that if this happens again, we're going to show up in full regalia! If we're going to have people watching us in a public place, we might as well be beautiful - class or no...

8 July 2009

This, my friends, is what you call "two fisted sewing"! Nothing complex, just armbands for an arm veil/wing thingie for Lana's veil/wing thingie choreography. Its easier to sew the smallest of them on the little micro-Bell machine (right). Yes, the Bell is padded, both on its bottom and on its clamp. No scratched wood!

Two Sewing Machines

And because I couldn't resist the "artistic shot", here's the same scene in the dark. Slightly blurry yes, but I'll boast that it was handheld in the dark for a 4 second exposure - that's what modern image stabilization can do!

Two Sewing Machines

7 July 2009


5 July 2009

Taught my first workshop! "When Good Veils Go Bad, Overcoming Veil Phobia". This is a subject that I've written at length about for years, and have been asked multiple times to do a workshop on the subject - so I persuaded my dance sisters in DCM/DoD to be the "Guinea Pigs" to help me learn how to teach the darn thing.

Overall, it went well. My dance sisters came away feeling newly empowered with their veils, and I learned some things about how to organize this topic! I'll be teaching it again to a broader audience soon.

4 July 2009

The monthly show at the Link opens in new window Haute Enchilada! Instead of myself and 3 guest dancers, it was myself and an entire troupe! Mariama and her troupe, Amis Doré, eight dancers in all (plus me). They were wonderful, put on a really nice show. Reminded me of Kalisa's in some ways - seeing seasoned vets and nervous "baby bellies". They did veil, they played Zills, they did fan veils, they did drum solos, they just pull out all the stops and gave it their all! Bravo my dance sisters, bravo!

As for myself, I did "Routine-1" with my 4 yard silk-chiffon mottled orange veil and "Grecian" Zills to a very good reception from the rather large audience!

As a side note, this was my first performance since I had my hair hennaed by the Mighty Siwa - I'm really loving my hair right now!

28 June 2009

Every Belly Dancer who dances in festivals is used to this sound going for several hours...

The upshot was that by two fisting a pair of phones, I got Daughters of Damascus into this years DDF. Unfortunately, I had to choose between soloing myself; or dancing with the troupes. I chose the troupes (DCM and DoD). It should be fun!

27 June 2009

My own mother probably wouldn't notice the difference, at least in this photo, its so subtle; but here is the henna job:

Zorba with Hennaed hair.

23 June 2009

Hennaed. This single word, inserted into my Belly Dance poem on the video clip page, tells the tale of this nite's work. The line now reads: I veil my face with my long hennaed hair.... What's up? I have at long last hennaed my hair after the ancient tradition. Not so much for the color - I only as yet have a very small amount of grey - but for its conditioning properties. I join a very long line of Belly Dancers with hennaed hair, including the Mighty Siwa, who did the deed for me; as well as Masha who, at half my age, hennas her hair much for the same reasons as I've done mine. I'll never have to worry about grey - and I'm in love with its soft, silky texture. The color is cool too - its very subtle on my auburn hair, which is the most henna compatible hair color there is! I'm truly blessed with a beautiful head of hair when so many males are not - having the option of henna for it is just "icing on the cake". Thank you Athena, thank you for this blessing...

13 June 2009

I haven't posted much in some time about our community troupe, Mirage, but we've been quietly rehearsing away every Saturday afternoon. We just finished - finally! - our very first "home grown" choreography, a skirt dance that I took the lead on; adapting it from one I learned at last year's ANAS from Mahalia. It still needs some polishing, but the core dance is done!

We also have a Tribal number, Shiraz, learned from the ever sublime Firefly. We're hoping to perform them both at Tribal Fusion Faire in December. In addition, we're learning a veil-wings dance from Lana, who's teaching it to us in a special workshop.

6 June 2009

The monthly show at the Link opens in new window Haute Enchilada! Caitlin put in a reprise appearance, the Mighty Siwa appeared as "Magda", and my lovely wife Zarah were the 3 guest dancers this nite. All put on a wonderful show - the audience was large - pushing huge - and a good time was had by all! My boss even came!

As for myself, I did "Routine-2" (full version) as well as "Solo-8/Serpentina". "Routine-2" includes a condensed version of the cane dance (using Nadia Gamal's cane "#2" this time) that I screwed up so badly last nite - but thanx to wearing the same costume - but WITHOUT the treacherous string skirt; it went off well. Used same veil as last nite (4 yard A'kai red/orange silk) and played my faithful Saroyan "Grecian" Zills.

I forgot to mention that I won a silver (toned) slave anklet last nite at Mariama's show - the kind that has a toe ring and a chain connecting it to a binty-bell anklet! Very cool - so I wore it tonite!

5 June 2009

Performance at the "Cherry Bean" coffee house in Salinas. This is a quarterly performance showcase put on by local instructor Mariama. It was fun all around - good audience, plus I got to see some dance sisters I hadn't seen in a while (and meet some new ones!).

I did two numbers, "Veil-6/The Dance of Untold Sorrow" with my 4 yard A'kai red/orange silk veil and "Solo-7/Cane" with Nadia Gamal's cane "#1". The first went off very well, I was emoting heavily and received lots of complements on it from dance sisters and audience members alike.

Alas, I can't say the same about the cane dance. It went pretty well at first, but I now have a new rule: No string skirts when dancing cane! Ask me why... frown! Actually, it wasn't what you might think - I'm way better at cane than to get it tangled in my skirt - string or otherwise! However; the mincing, prancing style that goes with cane dancing resulted in my feet getting tangled in the long strings. And just in case someone in the audience missed this wondrous display of talent and grace, I did it again - with the other foot!

2 May 2009

Performance at the monthly show at the Link opens in new window Haute Enchilada. Two of my Santa Cruz dance sisters; Paula, and Caitlin; as well as Cristy of Monterey were the guest dancers tonight. A smashing success all around. A good sized, enthusiastic crowd. I opened the show with what I'll call "Solo-13" - danced to the rather famous "I Put a Spell on You" by Natacha Atlas, a Belly Dance favorite. I also did "Routine-1/Long version" (Neé "BellyGram 1") with my Grecian Zills and 3 yard dark red polyester-chiffon veil. I later did a version of "Veil-1" with my 4 yard purple Organza veil - rather tricky using a veil that size in a restaurant!

26 April 2009

The third annual Cory Zamora workshop! My wife and I were both in attendance. As always, Cory is an awesome instructor of the "old skool", and all the power, beauty, and grace that entails.

25 April 2009

Performance at the Cypress Lounge Restaurant in Santa Cruz. Those who remember my previous visit there last October will recall that I was less than impressed. Much, much better this time. No misandry and no stereo mishaps. I did "Solo 10/Om Kalsoum", doing the Egyptian style entrance with my fuchsia veil. Although I've danced this music better, it wasn't bad either, and came off well.

This was in conjunction with tomorrow's Cory Zamora workshop. Cory, myself, the Mighty Siwa, Janelle were among the dancers there. Siwa did a VERY beautiful, passionate dance!

9 April 2009

An article on Link opens in new window The Gilded Serpent. written by me! Link opens in new window A Quest for Beauty part I. We all know how thrilled I am (NOT!) with YouTube, but people insist on uploading videos of me - the Gilded Serpent article includes an embedded YouTube video which you can also see at Link opens in new window this direct link.

I'll add this stuff to the media, links, and video clip pages as appropriate. Enjoy!

4 April 2009

Man, what a day! But first, I must relate the phone call I received from the Mighty Siwa 2 nites ago. It seems that after I went home from a screening of our Rakkasah videos, my dance sisters and the Mighty Siwa had a discussion - about me!

They decided to invite me to become an official member of The Link opens in new window Dancers of the Crescent Moon! As this is one of the oldest Belly Dance troupes around - and has won many awards over the years - I'm quite flattered and gratified. Even more so as I was told once upon a time that no male would ever be a member!

It will be a good balance for me - as I'm a Cabaret style dancer - the "heavy metal" folkloric style that this troupe is will be a fun change.

Back to today - where my Cabaret side got quite the workout! First thing this morning was my usual Saturday morning class with Masha. Masha doesn't beat me up quite as much as Janelle, but she still does a pretty good job of making my muscles scream!

Then it was off to the very first troupe rehearsal for our new community troupe, Mirage. I taught the skirt dance that I, in concert with my wife and my dance sister Cristy, had adapted from one I learned at last year's ANAS from Mahalia. Everyone seemed to like the dance as it exists thus far.

Then I had to practice for, then perform at the monthly show at the Link opens in new window Haute Enchilada. Three of my Monterey dance sisters, Thiem, Annette, and Emily - as well as myself - were the dancers tonight. I even was able to finish the bookings for next month's show - it will be Cristy, Paula, Caitlin, and myself - as Paula had brought Caitlin (whom I'd never met) to watch the show! One thing led to another, as Cristy and Paula were already booked, and as I needed one more dancer - Caitlin fit the bill!

The show itself went well, everyone danced well as usual - and the crowd tipped us well too! What more could a Belly Dancer ask for? I performed 3 numbers - "Routine-1" with my flaming pink veil and Grecian Zills, "Solo-6/Shemadan" with the fake candles (no live fire at this venue unfortunately) and Grecian Zills, and finished off with "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance" also with the pink veil.

No, I wasn't done yet. Lana was getting another version of the "Monterey Mystique Show" off the ground at a coffee shop in Monterey. So after I left the restaurant, I beat feet it over there and danced to live music. Three times. Got a couple of more tips, even though this wasn't really a "tipping environment" as I had inadvertently left a couple of bills at my right hip, the ol' "seed money" trick really works!

I wanted to be a "working dancer" - be careful what you ask for, you may get it! Smile! I'm truly loving it! Time for bed...

2 April 2009

I've been kavetching about my dance bag for 1.2 forevers - hate the damn thing. Today, in the mail, I received my "Raks Sack" (Recommended by Zorba! Link opens in new window www.rakssack.com). Finally, a dance bag made by a dancer for dancers! 15 million pockets in all different sizes; one for everything, and I mean EVERYTHING! There's even a little pocket that works perfectly for that veil dancer's necessity, a fingernail file! Pockets for makeup, compacts, and all the associated brushes and cruft that go with it. Cell phone, iPod, you name it, there's a pocket for it. Yea, even one for business cards and no more digging for Zills! Then a very roomy main compartment for the 15 veils and hip scarves we all insist on hauling around! Nice long handles/straps, makes it easy to carry or sling. The "hip scarf" decoration is very cool.

Raks Sack

1 April 2009

The Mighty Siwa really has a "Mighty amount" of class! We all got together tonite to review the Rakkasah videos - and Siwa gave us all earrings and buttons and thanked us for being part of the show. My earrings are glitzy-looking (5 pointed of course) stars. We all sat around, watched the DoD video (the DCM video was unavailable due to circumstances beyond the Mighty Siwa's control), which looked pretty good. Then "Madame Nuit" played some old tapes of DCM from years past - cool dancing and we had lots of fun!

15 March 2009

Link opens in new window Rakkasah. Performed with the Mighty Siwa's folkloric troupe, Dancers of the Crescent Moon, doing the much rehearsed "Pot dance". It went well. No-one, not even me, lost their pot. It even stayed on during the floorwork portion - this being the VERY first time I've ever done true floorwork. Thanx go to all my current teachers for the help and strengthening that enabled this.

Then it was time to dance with (the Mighty) Siwa's cabaret troupe, Daughters of Damascus where I did a Shemadan duette with her (although she used a candle tray as her Shemadan isn't ready for prime time). This also involved floorwork, the whole belly roll and flutter routine - thank you Janelle for your weekly "beatings" in your Monday nite class!

This routine came off far better than it had any business doing - one of the cardinal rules of Belly Dancing is to NEVER, EVER perform with/in a prop/costume that you haven't tried/tested in rehearsal before. I've personally seen LOTS of dancers get into trouble by not adhering to this! Well, I wore a new costume (made by the Mighty Siwa) for this routine that, not only had I not rehearsed in it, I'd never worn it nor even seen it! It was presented to me in the dressing room at Rakkasah! White with gold trim. What Jamaica refers to as "the sacrificial virgin look". The Mighty Siwa also wore white, with silver trim. The whole idea was to honor the wedding origins of the Shemadan dance, as well as balance masculine (gold) with feminine (silver). The new cossie looks good, although it needs a bit more bling (which will be added). I probably should have played my Saroyan "King Tuts" with this as they're shiny gold (brass), but I played my Zildjians for their carrying power in the large hall.

Due to the "no live flame" rule at Rakkasah, and a distressing number of other venues, we used battery powered LED candles instead. Although not as dramatic as the real thing, they looked surprisingly real all things considered. They are NOT the usual ones powered by size AA batteries that weigh a ton - they're powered by three hearing aid lithiums in the base - vastly lighter and what weight the batteries do add is in the base of the "candle" where it belongs. I do have to confess that they're a lot nicer to deal with than the real thing. Twist them on, and twist them off, no wax, no need for a helper to light the Shemadan just before I go on (stage), etc.

The crowd loved our belly rolls, flutters and "Baraka Butts" with Zaghareet sounding throughout the hall - even at the late hour of our performance!

Even though I got there (Rakkasah) around 1 PM, and didn't have my first performance until 5 - I really did zero shopping and only really saw one other group perform! From the moment I walked in the door, it was "Zorba, Zorba, Zorba" as I kept running into people I know! Good to see some folks I haven't seen in a while - including Firefly who was there. Then I had a one and one half hour interview with a gal who is interviewing LOTS of Belly Dancers in order to write her Ph.D thesis. Then there was the photographer who was shadowing every male dancer he could find - he's doing some kind of photo-journalism piece on male Belly Dancers. Links when they're done.

There was a bad rumor going around Rakkasah, as well as Link opens in new window Bhuz.com and other online Belly Dance message boards. Alas, it turned out to be true, Bert Balladine has passed on. Very ironic, he passed on last Friday, the first day of Rakkasah where he taught for so many years. It was at a Rakkasah workshop that I took a workshop from him several years ago. But as the Mighty Siwa says, he lived a full life (he was in his late 80s), brought joy to thousands, and will be remembered with love by Belly Dancers world wide. He was one of the very first male Belly Dancers of the modern age.

7 March 2009

What a day!

First, the bad news. 2 weeks ago, we "lost" Firefly as an instructor. She got a job offer in the SF bay area, and in this economy, you take it! I'm happy for her, but miss her terribly. Stepping in to fill her place is Lana's daughter Masha, who is turning the class into a kind of "quality of movement" and drill class.

It was a bit of a shock losing Firefly so suddenly, not to mention the loss of our Tribal stylization class. However, Masha is an excellent instructor - and proved it today by having me actually doing triple layering in class; a first. Upper body undulations over a shimmy while doing floreos and playing Zills. It wasn't pretty, but I was doing it! I've tried something similar in Janelle's class - so between the two of them my technique is improving rapidly. Masha's warmup is quite the workout also - but not quite as "bad" as Janelle!

Then I had a rehearsal with the Mighty Siwa and her two troupes for Rakkasah next weekend. First was with Dancers of the Crescent Moon where I'm doing a "pot dance" (with a paper maché pot that I've been working on), then with Daughters of Damascus where I'm doing a Shemadan duette with the Mighty Siwa!

And lastly, the first "official" show at the Link opens in new window Haute Enchilada. The Mighty Siwa, Lana, one of my dance sisters Tracy, and myself were the dancers. As before, the owner LOVED us, the patrons did too - and we all came home with a nice stash of tips! We're going to do it every first Saturday nite of the month - next show 4/4!

I did the exact same two routines as for the "tryout" on 1 Feb, "Routine-2" and "Solo-3", although I was smarter this time and used a 3 yard veil ("Greenie", my first ever veil). The "King Tuts" were pressed into service for my Zilling.

So between last nite's performance, and all the dancing today, I've pretty much shimmied my belly off! I have things I didn't know I had, and they all hurt!

6 March 2009

The very last "Monterey Mystique" variety show, streamed live from Link opens in new window http://livenetworks.tv/.

It will continue in the future, but under other guidance than Lana's. There should still be some Belly Dancing, but the focus will be elsewhere. Hope to be able to perform in it, whatever its new guise!

Tonite's performances were spectacular - my dance brother Sharif of Santa Cruz came over to perform. Its been quite a while since I've seen him dance - his improvement is remarkable and he's really developing his style; which is, I'm glad to say, very smooth and fluid.

Myself, I uncorked a very old chestnut, "Veil-1". I used my rarely used ultra-light silk chiffon 3 yard lime green veil - the one that twitches if someone in the back row of the audience sneezes. Its a hard veil to dance with - between the lightness and the clinginess - but rewarding. I was in a sad mood tonite - this dance with this veil suited my mood, several told me they could really feel the emotion. Lana herself picked up on it, complimenting me on my dance (bless her!).

19 February 2009

The first video mini-review for 2009: Gypsy Passion, Belly Dance Fusion Choreography by Vashti.

9 February 2009

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

"Solo-10/Om Kalthoum". Probably my best Om Kalthoum yet - this is an exceedingly difficult and somewhat over my head piece of music. I'm starting to become more subtle with it, and the Middle Easterners in the crowd went nuts when I switched to folkloric Saidi steps at the correct time (when the Saidi beat came on, of course)! Fun nite.

1 February 2009

Haute Enchilada Flyer

A "debug/try-it-out/audition" type lunch-time performance at the Link opens in new window Haute Enchilada, a local Mexican eatery. The Mighty Siwa, Firefly, one of my dance sisters and dear friend Sapphira, and myself were the dancers. The owner LOVED us, the somewhat surprised patrons did too - and it was an all around success. We'll be doing it on a Saturday evening starting in March, and hopefully once a month thereafter.

Restaurant gigs are hard to get, and harder to keep, but as long as it lasts, I'm the "house dancer" and scheduler! I'm just stoked about this - and very grateful to my dance sisters and teachers who came out to support me in this milestone endeavor.

This time, I did two numbers. First I brushed the dust off of "Solo-2", figuring that even though I've kind of outgrown it as a cabaret/stage number, that it would be perfect for a restaurant setting. It is. Then I did "Routine-2/Short version" for my second number, using my 4 yard "dragon's blood" silk veil for both. In retrospect, using a 4 yard veil isn't necessarily the best idea in a restaurant setting, but there was actually plenty of room to do it, esp. since virtually all the patrons were outside on this nice afternoon (the restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating).

30 January 2009


8 January 2009

Another performance on Kalisa's Link opens in new window livenetworks.tv show. I received an email from Janette late yesterday asking if I'd like to perform. Sure - there was some confusion that I had to call Kalisa to resolve, but I was there. It was basically a reprise of my "Solo-11/Cabaret" with my (gold) Isis wings that I did for Lana's show last 5 December - by Kalisa's request.

Zorba, Male Belly Dancer
This picture, by photographer Matt Basile, was actually taken
at the 12/05/08 performance, but tonite's was the same costume,
same prop, same venue, same dance - Kaleegi head tosses and all!

7 January 2009

Well... I had been a little depressed with the start of the new year, no real performances on the horizon other than the monthly "Monterey Mystique Show" - which is a lot of fun - but I'm always looking for different/more performance opportunities.

I shouldn't have fretted - it looks like I'll be performing at Link opens in new window Rakkasah not once, but twice - and possibly even three times! I'll be dancing with "DCM" (Dancers of the Crescent Moon) doing a folkloric "pot dance" (Goddess knows if I'll be able to keep the pot balanced on my head - Athena help me!), plus the Mighty Siwa and I will be doing our long worked on Shemadan duette in conjunction with "DoD" (Daughters of Damascus). Then there's a possibility I'll be appearing with Lana's BellySema doing I'm not sure what. Lana mentioned something about a skirt dance, I dunno. Should be fun, especially as I've long since given up on trying to get a solo spot at Rakkasah - I just can NOT get through on call-in day!

But wait, there's more! I don't know how long it'll last, maybe just one show - but as of this moment I'm the "house dancer" at a local restaurant! A longtime dance goal and dream realized. I need to come up with 3 more dancers (The Mighty Siwa is already on board, so now I need 2 more) for a total of 4 of us for a couple of "let's see how this works" shows. I'll be on the phone tomorrow to my dance sisters...

4 January 2009

We have a troupe. The third "board meeting" of our community troupe, we adopted a mission statement and core values, and FINALLY figured out a name: Mirage. Maybe not the most original, but we all like it. Lana has graciously volunteered to come up with a logo - and being that its Lana, the logo will be a thing of beauty.

Click for Site Map
Site Map
Copyright and Terms of Use
Page footer