A Belly Dance Diary 2013
Zorba dancing at Carnival of Stars 2012 (08/04/12).
Photo by Carl Sermon
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.
21 December 2013
Happy Solstice! Performance with DCM at Santa Cruz's "Crepe Place" - we did our "Tribute to John Compton" with 2 Ouled Nail dancers (The rest of us are still learning and costuming to join them), followed by solos by both TMS and myself. I did a new number, "Mambo", dedicated to Marie O'Reilly as I had danced to this music MANY times with her at Kalisa's back in the day. Fun, fun!
An audience member kindly sent several pix of which I included a couple of in the 2013 Gallery.
28 November 2013
Dunia, of DDF fame, has been working on an Aughkstra (Stained Glass Window) for my wife and myself for almost the last year. It was installed yesterday (Thanksgiving):
Ankh, Hamsa, and Rosy Cross are featured in this Aughkstra. Slightly less than four feet in width.
3 November 2013
Several pictures from the 20 October show are up! See the 2013 Gallery.
27 October 2013
As I noted last year (15 November), I "lost" my navel piercing when I had my "work" done at that time. I thought I'd be able to re-pierce it after 2 or 3 months, but it ended up being almost a year. Tom at Staircase Tattoo once again did the honors. It didn't hurt anymore than it did last time - but the pain was a bit longer as he had to go deeper/behind the old site. Once again, I'm doing saline soaks 3X daily. As long as I don't have to take the darn thing out for a 24+ hour period over the next couple of years, it should be fine. It was fine when I had to take it out...
My wife got a nasal stud! Yay!
20 October 2013
Santa Cruz Raks. My wife Zarah and I were supposed to perform a reprise of our DDF duette - but she had a bad cold, so I ended up soloing with "Solo-3/Raks Africa" (with veil prelude). Used "Greenie", my very first veil and played my Saroyan "Grecian" Zills as my Zildjians were accidentally left at Siwa's house last week. Janelle and Hassan performed, and Lana was in the audience. I even won the door prize!
19 October 2013
HaflAdira in San Jose.
Danced with Didi's Nahaash Raks, both my wife and myself. We danced her latest choreography, the "Succubus Dance" (with 1 incubus (that would be me)!). It went well. Saw lots of other cool dancers, including the ever sublime Firefly! I noticed Adira's store had several videos by Cory Zamora in stock!
Sharp, claw-like nails for this performance!
10 October 2013
Bangles! Blessed Bangles! I have been on a quest for a number of years for a source of (eastern) Indian bangles in what they call size 2.16. I've inquired of many Indian vendors, both in person and on-line. Everyone's heard of this very large size, no-one ever has had any.
My dance brother, and sometime teacher Hassan was wearing Indian bangles at the All Male show last September. Turns out he had talked to a new vendor local to both of us about obtaining large bangles. So now we're both happy!
Several pictures from said All Male show now posted in the 2013 Gallery.
28 September 2013
Desert Dance Festival. Performance with Siwa's "Dancers of the Crescent Moon" - and a duette with my wife Zarah! The duette was done to the music for "The Dance of Untold Sorrow" ("A Time For Us"), re-choreographed as a love story. Something happened that I personally have never seen at ANY Belly Dance show for ANY performer. We got a standing ovation! The audience loved it!
DCM performed "A Tribute to John Compton" in the gala show in the evening. First up was a new Ouled Nail piece that half the troupe did, while the other half waited upstage. Then the "other half" (including me) performed the DCM Basked Dance, were re-joined by the Ouled Nail dancers who had changed costumes for Ya Bint al Shek (which was a John Compton/Hahbi 'Ru choreography), and finished with John's Zill dance.
It all went very well, despite Siwa forgetting her headpiece when returning to the stage for Ya Bint al Shek, she ran off and got it and rejoined us at an opportune moment. But we had to hang out in the dressing room in full folkloric costuming for the after show "meet the performers" thing back onstage. I like to have melted...
The great Cory Zamora joined us for the gala show, as did Hassan. The ever gracious Lana, and Masha performed in the day show, and saw my wife's and my duette! But it was a LONG day, we didn't get home until midnight, and slept till noon the next day!
7 September 2013
An ALL MALE Belly Dance show at Santa Cruz's "Crepe Place" restaurant! Myself, Hassan, and dance brother Sharif. I started the show with "Solo-11/Cabaret" with my 4 yard orange chiffon veil. It was followed by Sharif in his Genie/Aladdin costume - a look which works well for him. Then I was back for "Veil-5/Dark fire" by "Light Rain" number as a finale. Hassan then finished the show with a new number, followed by his double veil routine. A good time was had by all!
4 August 2013
Solo performance at Carnival of Stars! Unlike last year's disastrous flail, this year went well. I did a reprise of the 20 July performance, with my Zildjian Zills. Fun! No DCM performance this year, the Mighty Siwa was sick.
20 July 2013
Performance at Mariama's "Salinas Raks" at the Pajaro Street Grill. By Mariama's request, I performed to Natacha Atlas's "I put a Spell on You", followed by a "Light Rain" number as a finale playing my Zildjian Zills - the same number I performed in May at the Crepe Place where Mariama first saw this routine. Went well, well received - good times.
1 July 2013
Yet another installation in my "Quest for Beauty" series on the Gilded Serpent. This one is A Quest for Beauty Part IV: Beauty Has its Price.
20 June 2013
DCM performance at Litha faire in Santa Cruz. Halay, Sai'idi, basket dance and John Compton's Zill dance (Saroyan Grecians). All in all, a good performance despite continual sound problems. The CD kept skipping, a beat would suddenly just be not there - and it fell silent twice. The skipped beats weren't too bad, we know the dance well enough to compensate. During the Zill dance however, it was so bad that Siwa shut it off - and we finished the dance just to our Zills. We're now giving serious thought to always performing it this way!
12 June 2013
A performance in, and for, Mindy's class in Melbourne, Florida. Being that it was a class setting; no costume, no makeup, no contacts, rather stringy hair, and a borrowed veil sufficed to perform "Solo-4/Mary Jane's Dance" to a very kind, considerate, and enthusiastic audience of dance sisters and Mindy, of course. Mindy took a couple of pix, which have been have been added to the 2013 Gallery. A video was also taken, which I'll try to get added to the video page soon. It does show some roughness (that I've suspected for some time) in one part of the dance that I'll need Nikki's help on...
21 May 2013
Pictures from the 4/14 DCM performance have been aded to the 2013 Gallery.
11 May 2013
An ALL MALE Belly Dance show at Santa Cruz's "Crepe Place" restaurant! Myself, Hassan, and dance brother Sharif. I started the show with "The Dance of Untold Sorrow" performed to LIVE harp music. Dance sister and harpist Aruba graciously offered to play for my performance. She and her husband lugged her harp and amplifier all the way into the back of the garden area! This portion went well, and was well received. It was followed by Sharif in a cool looking kind of Ghengis Kahn meets Aladdin costume doing a sword dance. Now I don't normally care for sword dances, but his was very well done, and included floorwork! I'm always impressed by floorwork. Then I was back with my Zildjian Zills dancing to Natacha Atlas's "I put a Spell on You", followed by a "Light Rain" number as a finale. Hassan then finished the show with his double veil routine. A number of friends, teachers, and dance sisters were in the crowd, including Nikki Traylor-Knowles, Siwa, Dunia, etc. My wife, daughter and brand new grand daughter were also there!
4 May 2013
A performance with DCM at the Sacred Grove to help celebrate their 13th anniversary! Due to the small space, each of the 5 dancers present performed two of the four dances. I was in Halay and my ever favorite Sa'idi. In addition, the basket dance and the Zill dance were performed. A very gracious group of people - as Pagans generally are - I was personally thanked numerous times for performing (as was everyone else).
23 April 2013
Pictures from last Sunday's (4/14) Santa Cruz Raks performance have been added to the 2013 Gallery. In addition, there is a video of my Rakkasah performance on the video page. Scroll down to the 16 March entry. Its still a bit on the large side (52+ MB), but I'll work on getting it sized down.
14 April 2013
Two performances in one day. Doesn't happen often, but is a bit grueling when it happens. The first was with DCM at the Bay Area Belly Dance Festival, a relatively young festival that I'd never been to before. Full up "Heavy Metal" folkloric costuming and performance. As we've been doing recently, We performed Halay, our Basket Dance, the Sa'idi and finished with the Debke. It was a ton of fun, and we were well received.
Unfortunately, I couldn't stick around as I had to drive all the way home from Redwood City, to change costumes, touchup makeup, and get ready for the second performance of the day, a Cabaret style solo at Santa Cruz Raks! I performed "The Dance of Untold Sorrow" with a new, all-white "veil" that matched my costume, my "Sacrificial Virgin" all white with gold trim outfit. I say "veil" as it is as yet un-hemmed and was just the raw fabric. I'd like to eventually trim it with gold. Anyway, my performance was VERY well received by the audience. RedBekah, Lana, and Nikki were among the attendees, the latter two of which also performed.
A very nice day, but I'm tired!
5 April 2013
A workshop with Tribal instructor Paige Lawrence, "Seducing the Darkness". A workshop unlike any other - with the one exception of a series of classes taught by Janette years ago. Basically, how to get to your emotions while performing. Not easy to teach, not easy to learn. Invaluable when you've "got it".
30 March 2013
The performance that wasn't, but that was. Schrödinger's cat and all that. It was Lana's wedding! Of course, there were 50 million Belly Dancers in attendance. I had originally planned to perform, but due to a yanked neck muscle, I bowed out. But, when I got there, the drums were playing Masmoudi rhythm! I *LOVE* Masmoudi, I love to play my Zills to it. So with a set of most excellent Turquoise Zills I borrowed from RedBekah, I was in the center of things - in "civvies" granted, but nice civvies (A "Greek" shirt and a zebra striped Mermaid skirt Lana had given me several years ago.). Granted, I pulled a groin muscle (that I only found out about later) when I Maia'ed all the way down to the floor and Gooshied back up. Twice!
In any event, it was a beautiful, Pagan ceremony led by Dance Sister Isabella (I hand't known she was up for the whole Priestess thing!). "Wiggle Woman" (Janette), Janelle, Firefly, and of course Lana's daughter Masha were all in attendence. Dance brother Sharif and his wife, Dance sister Nakisa were also there. A wonderful day!
29 March 2013
Pictures from the Rakkasah performance are now in the all new 2013 Gallery. This new gallery is a bit of a story. I had to replace my faithful iMac G5, which meant I had to find, and vet a new gallery creation program. Still doing a little bit of debugging, but the new software - although expensive - is obviously going to work.
16 March 2013
Performance to LIVE music - Saqra's "Raks Band"; same sequence of songs as I danced to when I danced to this group in Seattle in '08. As then, it was a WONDERFUL experience! The first song, "Aya-Zein" saw me doing just plain ol' Cabaret Belly Dance. The second, a Greek number whose name escapes me at the moment (I have the Glykeria version), had me doing veil. As the third - "Pom-Pom-Perot" - had me playing Zills (Zildjians), this meant I had them on in the veil number. I had a bit of a veil problem - and I was able to actually fix it with my Zills on! A first for me! Wait until I tell Cory Zamora!
In any event, this was my very first time soloing at Rakkasah - I've always danced with one or more troupes. Live music, veil while wearing Zills - what could POSSIBLY go wrong? In any event, I was really feeling "in the groove" and the joy was bubbling out of me. Hassan, who was in the audience, told me that I smiled a LOT. He's often told me I needed to smile more - I think its just the magic of live music. Received a TON of compliments!
I was even able to dance with a bare midriff again - my belly continues to smooth out. Although it wasn't perfect, it was "good enough", especially since I wore my "Crystalline Curves" necklace/bellydrape (and earrings) set to distract from any remaining lumpiness. Immediately after my performance, I beat feet it over to the Crystalline Curves booth to have them re-adjust my lovely. My smaller belly had it hanging too low and not fitting right. Fixed now! I wore the costume depicted at the top of this page.
Of course a Belly Dance festival wouldn't be complete without all the "bump intos". The exquisite Fahtiem, any number of vendors, the above mentioned Hassan, Saqra, and many others. A good time was had by all!
As for dancers - the group that really stood out for me this year was a Tribal group called "Wildcard Belly Dance". I've heard of them, but don't recall seeing them perform. They're a REALLY good Tribal troupe - what makes them good is they're "dead nuts on" with EVERYTHING. Good, tight dancing in the ATS style.
2 March 2013
Private party performance. A Moroccan themed party in a private residence. They wanted both a male and a female dancer, so I drafted Nikki Traylor-Knowles for the other half the the show. We alternated: I went on with "Solo-11/Cabaret" with a brand new set of gossamer Isis wings, followed by Nikki doing a veil routine, then I returned with "Solo-2/Raks Afrika" playing my Zildjian Zills, then Nikki did a killer drum solo, and I followed that with "Goddess Dance" (double veil with my A'kai silks veils), then together we did 2 songs to get everyone up and dancing!
We were a big hit, the crowd loved us and we received many compliments and thanks. The space was a bit small, especially for Isis wings - with an 8 foot ceiling - and I decided NOT to try a barrel turn with my double veils. They would have caught on something for sure!
This is my first solo performance since I had my "work done" last November. The DCM performance on 23 Feb was Folkloric style, so I didn't need to worry about my not quite ready for prime time post op belly - but today was a Cabaret performance. So I wore my "Majida Dress", which covers the belly. Problem solved.
Next performance is Rakkasah in 2 weeks - I'm hoping my belly will be ready by then (it continues to "shape up"), but if not, the Majida Dress will suffice!
23 February 2013
A DCM performance at Litha Faire. We performed Halay, our Basket Dance, the Sa'idi and finished with the first performance of a brand new Debke put together in honor of the late, great, John Compton!
8 February 2013
Did a link verification of the links pages. It hadn't been done since October of 2011; as always, many had disappeared, a few had moved about a bit.
Also updated the events page.
16 January 2013
I was in central Florida, so squeezed in a class with Mindy! I really wish I could study with her on a regular basis, she could do me a lot of good. She has movement combinations that I haven't really seen elsewhere. Cool group of gals in her class!
Also, did some minor additions and tweaks to my Skirtsmanship article.
10 January 2013
Big news! Got a solo dance spot at Rakkasah to LIVE MUSIC! I'll be dancing with Saqra's "Raks Band"! I'm really stoked! I danced with this group once before, back in 2008. Their music is great, and Saqra's "Da Bomb"!
I also added an upcoming events page, replacing the online shop which wasn't doing anything for me anyway. Now folks will know where they can come see me dance!