A Belly Dance Diary 2017
Zorba at Raks Santa Cruz
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.
8 December 2017
A Christmas hafla at Bellywood Studios in Orlando. Performed with Jenn as troupe "Luna Habibi" as well as a solo number, "Mambo" with Zildjian zills! Solo went fine, the troupe went fine - we did our veil number and drum solo - except I blew the choreography in the chest work section of the drum solo. My mind went completely blank, dunno what happened! Old age, probably. When we first went onstage, I was ahead of Jenn, and my veil seemed to catch on something. Never figured out exactly what it was, I had to re-do my veil hold - but Jenn was looking awfully innocent...
Best of all, as far as I was concerned, NOBODY did a routine to "Santa Baby"! BUT - the worst of all was news reached us that the fabulous and famous Jamila Salimpour, dance grandmother of just about everybody (including me), passed this day. Goddess Bless her...
3 December 2017
A Jamila format workshop with local teacher Yvonne. Yvonne is a Suhaila instructor, and knows Janelle.
28 November 2017
New video from the "Dangerous Curves Hafla" of 28 October: YouTube Video. My arms could have been better...
22 November 2017
Workshop with "Amar", a Puerto Rican dancer visiting Orlando. This one was interesting to say the least. It was a combination workshop with Twerk, Burlesque, and Belly Dance. The Twerk segment, which was first - thank Goddess - just about did me in! Very high energy - no way I'm going to perform that! Then there was the Burlesque segment. A lot of Belly Dancers, myself included, do NOT like mixing Burlesque with Belly Dance - nor was that how it was presented here. In about 20 years, I might be able to do Burlesque convincingly; so I think I'll stick with Belly Dance! And Amar's Belly Dance segment was quite interesting, including a type of shimmy I'd never seen before!
17 November 2017
New teacher, kinda-sorta! "Missy", the directrix of the local Tribal class as well as the president of the local Belly Dance club, invited me to her sometime Friday nite drill and combo class - a freebie! Learned some new combos, and I'm always up for drills. Entry on teacher's page forthcoming.
29 October 2017
A performance with troupe "Luna Habibi" at a local multi-cultural faire. This faire was very well attended, and seems to be a pretty "big deal". In addition to the two pieces we performed yesterday, "Op" and "I Put a Spell on You", we also performed our veil and drum solo routines. I did much better on "Spell" today, "Op" had one major mistake, that fortunately was of the type that no-one knew but us; and one of my earrings got caught on the shoulder of my vest during the veil number requiring manual intervention to fix. But overall, pretty good. We danced under the aegis of the American Belly Dance Club with a sister Tribal troupe - which was a LOT of fun! Lots of networking, we got ourselves at least 2 performances next year out of the deal.
28 October 2017
"Dangerous Curves" hafla in St. Petersburg. Put on by Adina AKA Adira, a very nice lady dancer who is a completely different person from the Adira I knew in California of "HaflAdira" fame.
Danced with troupe "Luna Habibi", performing our "Op" and "I Put a Spell on You" routines. Anytime one joins a new troupe, it takes a while to get up to speed with all their choreographies - and this performance wasn't any different. I did "ok" with "Op", as I had (mostly) learned it in California, but "I Put a Spell on You" was pretty much a disaster on my part. I just don't know it well enough yet!
Then I did a brief solo to "Light Rain's" song, "De Ann's Dream", with Zildjian Zills. It went off pretty well, and I was the only dancer there who played Zills - which happens with distressing frequency!
30 September 2017
Performance! The "Hip Impressions Fall Hafla", where I danced with the troupe I joined here in Florida, "Luna Habibi". We did Jenn's new veil choreography and an even newer drum solo choreo. Veil choreographies are problematic to start with - this one was carefully crafted such that when veil mishaps occur, recovery is possible. Good thing too - my veil was misbehaving (I think there was some kind of downdraft) and I had to recover from the "instant Burqa" that it decided to become. All in all, the troupe performance went well!
Then I changed costumes into my Beledi dress made for me by Dunia, and performed my cane number with Nadia Gamal's cane "#2". Aside from a mix up with the music, that went well also.
We were expecting about 65 people - instead we had about twice that, we ran out of chairs, it was standing room only! By far the most successful fall halfa ever by all accounts, and it was Jenn who put it together. It was her first Belly Dance event, and she pulled it off spectacularly even if she did forget to breathe...
23 September 2017
Is been over two years since I last went through the links pages and checked them for broken links. As always, I had to delete pages, many of them "old friends". The hardest were bhuz.com, and arabian nights at sea.
17 August 2017
Finally, some pictures from the ABDC (American Belly Dance Club) spring hafla way back on 20 May! As I was wearing the same costume as the previous performance I did on 15 April, I placed a filler picture in between the two performances as viewed on the 2017 gallery to try to lessen confusion!
30 July 2017
My first workshop (as student) here in Florida! This was "Beyond the Stage Curtains" with Jesenia. It dovetailed nicely with what I was studying in California with Sese, and Jesenia did a good job teaching something which is almost unteachable. She's a beautiful dancer too.
20 July 2017
Its not often I revise an article about something that happened about 15 years ago, but in this case, another picture of my 3rd performance in my first performance article has surfaced. So the "new" picture has been added, but I'm not convinced that these pictures are of the "Spanish Attitude Dance" as stated. They might be of the Tsiftetelli instead. No matter - I left the caption on the existing picture as is.
11 July 2017
Not much going on in the performance realm, getting ready for the local fall hafla, where I will dance a solo as well as dancing with "Luna Habibi". If its anything like the spring hafla was, it will be excellent, although the 3 minute, 30 second time limit for soloists makes things a challenge! I hoping to find, or start if I have to, a weekly or monthly showcase somewhere where I can dance more frequently and for a longer period of time.
In the meantime, besides attending Jenn Lane's classes, I have been doing some teaching as well. I am teaching the gals a derivative Jamaica's "Spanish Attitude Dance" to teach them finger cymbals and get them actually dancing while playing the darn things! Jenn has been teaching them their rhythms, but they weren't quite there as far as actually dancing with Zills. Since Jamaica's dance was how I first overcame this hurdle, I figured it would work for others. They are "lapping it up" as the saying goes, and are doing FAR better than I did back in the day! I'm very proud of them!! I call it a "derivative" of Jamaica's dance, as its been about 14 years since I last danced it, and as simple as it is, there are some parts that I have forgotten. Kinda like a "Jurassic Park" T-Rex, I filled in the missing strands of DNA with frog DNA - so to speak.
Lastly, I've had pictures from Sese's Soloist Showcase for some time, I received them while I was on the road moving to Florida. They are now posted in the 2017 gallery. Enjoy!
2 June 2017
Getting caught up with web work that has piled up as a result of moving. The video page has been updated with the DCM memorial dance for Madame Nuit at Rakkasah 2017. Direct link. Also added pictures from this performance, as well as the Santa Cruz Raks performance of 19 march to the 2017 gallery.
20 May 2017
First performance in Florida, the "Hip Impressions Spring Hafla". I danced to Light Rain's "DeAnn's Dream" with my Zildjian Zills. It was a bit of a thrash getting ready, we're still digging out from boxes, the costume I wanted to wear was missing its sleeves, my next choice was missing its belt, so I defaulted to my trusty Majita dress that was made by The Mighty Siwa. Then I couldn't find the necklace I wanted, so had to use different jewelry. So it was "Plan C" costume with "Plan B" jewelry - but it all worked out.
The stuff I learned in Sese's "Soloist Showcase" class continues to pay off. The performance went well, the hafla is BY FAR the very best run Belly Dance event I've ever encountered, and the other performances were well worth watching! I was warmly greeted by the local dance community, and even met another male dancer! Received many compliments, and several more on my finger cymbal playing.
Jenn Lane's troupe performed, and I enjoyed Tambil's performance very much, as well as talking to her backstage. She danced veil with Zills - respect! A dancer named Yvonne performed, a friend of Janelle's, so I gave her (Yvonne) greetings from Janelle!
Pictures were taken of the event, I expect to have some soon. In the meantime, pictures of a couple of previous events have surfaced, I need to get caught up and get them into the gallery as well as update Siwa's gallery. I just got my main computer unpacked yesterday, so as soon as I find two minutes to rub together, I need to get all that done!
20 April 2017
I try to keep this diary focused on my Belly Dance life, and leave the rest for my political 'blog/rant page at http://thingsoughttobe.blogspot.com/. However, I'll make this one exception as today's events are huge and have a direct impact on my dancing. This is my last full day in the People's Republik of Kalifornia - or "Commiefornia" as some like to term it. This just happens to be Adolf Hitler's 128th birthday, pretty appropriate all things considered - I feel like a jew escaping Nazi Germany.
I will sorely miss my wonderful dance sisters, but I'm DONE with this state, and I am OUT OF HERE! Leaving tomorrow for the state of Florida where the cost of living is less than half, and the politics are at least mostly palatable.
I call this "Zexit". My first performance in Florida is already booked!
15 April 2017
Zorba's "Farewell (and good riddance) to California tour", performance #6 - last one!
Performed a new solo to Fahtiem's piece "Spheres" as part of Sese's "Soloist Showcase" at the "Pacific Cultural Center" in Santa Cruz. This was the culmination of 4+ months of work on this piece in Sese's class of the same name. I set myself the challenge of this piece as I've always loved it, but couldn't figure out how to dance to it as it is not a traditional piece, and has no "edges" to hit, no changes in the music to work with, nothing - just a smooth, flowing piece of music. All I'd ever managed was a bad case of "repeat-itis", doing mostly Maias over, and over again. I figured that if I could dance this piece, I could dance anything, so "challenge accepted"!
I'm told it across very well - indeed, one dance sister told me that it was the best she'd ever seen me dance! It certainly was a learning experience and I'm hoping what I've learned will propagate to my other dances.
A dark, but watchable cell fone video has surfaced: YouTube Video. There may be an "official" video and some pix eventually as well.
8 April 2017
Zorba's "Farewell (and good riddance) to California tour", performance #5.
DCM Performance at Rakkasah. Very bittersweet as it is 1) my very last performance at Rakkasah and with DCM for the foreseeable future, and 2) it was a dedication to Madame Nuit, the longest serving DCM member whom we lost to cancer last October.
With all that said, the performance went swimmingly, even though we had to proceed without our beloved leader, The Mighty Siwa, who was unable to attend for unrelated reasons. We performed Halay and the basket dance, both "flying missing woman formation" - we danced with an invisible Madame Nuit. It took quite a bit of practice to be able to do this, but it was all worth it!
6 April 2017
Another video from 1 April, this one of the group 9/8ths routine. The sleeves still suck! YouTube Video.
3 April 2017
A video of the 1 April performance has surfaced: YouTube Video.
I'm NOT liking this version of my "Floating Sleeves", these are going to be reworked into something more elegant.
1 April 2017
Zorba's "Farewell (and good riddance) to California tour", performance #4.
Even though I'm going to miss my wonderful dance sisters and teachers here!
My last performance at Santa Cruz's "Crepe Place" restaurant. Opened the show performing "Mary Jane's Dance" with my 4 yard silk chiffon multi-colored veil. Then the show closed with me dancing with Dunia's troupe, doing the 9/8ths routine we did last December (Zildjian Zills). Dunia herself honored us with a beautiful performance herself, as did Desma, Usha, and Janelle, who was a last minute surprise addition to the roster with an a capella Zill dance which was very lovely!
Then I was "roasted" with a HUGE going away card that everybody signed, including Rebekah, Hassan, and Caroleena who were among the many who were present. Got all kinds of cool gifts - mostly earrings - to add to my collection as well.
20 March 2017
Yes, the pistols have been cleaned. Good ole Hoppe's #9!
19 March 2017
Zorba's "Farewell (and good riddance) to California tour", performance #3.
Santa Cruz Raks, at Bruno's BBQ in Scott's Valley. This one was "interesting". I had gone to the shooting range earlier in the day, with the intent of coming home and practicing for the nite's performance. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I had no time to practice. I also didn't want to do "mambo/veil/kiss" as its been overplayed. So quick! What can I do that shouldn't be a problem, that I haven't done in awhile?
I ended up doing a reprise of a pair of very old favorites, "Mary Jane's Dance" coupled with "Raks Africa", I had a CD of this combination that I had originally burned for DDF 2005! Using a 4 yard, 4mm pink veil and my Zildjian Zills, this came off better than it had any business doing - not to be confused with "good". My dance sisters - including a couple of teachers - told me it was just fine, but I wasn't particularly happy with it, because it hadn't been rehearsed and it felt rough. Adding to the "fun" was the factoid that I kept stepping on the hem of my underskirt, AND I could feel "something" slipping down at the hip. A post performance forensic analisys indicated that the two were connected, not sure of the how and why of the whole thing, but something to watch with that particular costume in the future!
A rather emotional night as the hostess, Setareh, made it her business to give me a beautiful Egyptian themed caftan and a well-wishes card that she had managed to get just about everybody present to sign without my knowing a thing about it. Thank you and Goddess Bless Setareh and my Santa Cruz Dance sisters!
I still haven't cleaned my pistols, fortunately there's no corrosive ammunition involved, so they'll wait a day or so.
9 March 2017
Pictures from the 5 February HaflAdira performance are now in the 2017 gallery. This was the first time they've held this event inside - which is nice - but the lighting was a bit harsh. The photographer, Duane Stevens, did a bang up job despite the sub-optimal lighting.
7 March 2017
Its a small beginning, but my Realtor took some cell fone pix at the Pajaro St. Grill. They are in a shiny new 2017 gallery.
4 March 2017
Zorba's "Farewell (and good riddance) to California tour", performance #2.
Showcase performance at Pajaro Street Grill. "Mambo/Veil/Kiss" with my Zildjian zills and my sequin edged black/gold veil again - but the last time I anticipate performing this particular routine in California. Lots of luminaries and teachers here tonite, including Mariama (who was back in town on a visit), "Wiggle Woman" (Janette), Janelle, Hassan, Artemis, and Lana - the latter of which I was honored to share my nail polish with as she had forgotten hers!
"Lauren" - the Realtor who just sold our California home, was also in attendance and took a few pix that should be forthcoming soon.
5 Februry 2017
Zorba's "Farewell (and good riddance) to California tour", performance #1.
HaflAdira. San Jose dance event put on by Adira - I performed "Mambo/Veil/Kiss" with my Zildjian zills and my sequin edged black/gold veil - which as it turns out was the same routine I did last time I performed at this venue. It was accidental, but I doubt anyone remembers as it was on 12 September of 2015! Not only that, but I really feel I'm dancing a LOT better these days - and received a lot of compliments including one gal who told me my performance moved me to tears!
4 Februry 2017
Another new article: Musical Zill Playing.
22 January 2017
A new article! How to make your very own "Floating Sleeves" for your costume!
13 January 2017
Sese now has her own entry on my teachers page.
12 January 2017
Better late than never! Pix from the Santa Cruz Raks performance of 20 November of last year are now posted in the 2016 Gallery! In addition, there is a YouTube video that can be found here.
9 January 2017
A new teacher! I have wanted to take Sese's "Soloist Showcase" class for several years. I finally managed to do so this year! My goal for the class is to overcome "repeat-itis" in my improv dancing. To do so, I am attempting a non-traditional, but very pretty Belly Dance tune from one of Fahtiem's albums called "Spheres". Its changes are very subtle and I figure if I can get to where I can dance to this, I can dance to anything! Right now, I don't have the square root of "eff all" of an idea of how to do so!
Teacher's directory entry for Sese coming soon!