Zorba, Male Belly Dancer

Henna Design A Belly Dance Diary 2019 Henna Design

Zorba at the Spring Hafla!

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.

29 December 2019

Well, it took 15½ years, but the old news story done on me back in 2004 is finally digitized and online! Being a digitization of a VHS off the air recording, it was very poor to start with. Add to that YouTube's insistance on showing it in a large format makes it downright abysmal! But it is what it is. Link opens in new window Very bad digitization on YouTube.

9 December 2019

Zorba's DCM Sa'idi dance performance from two days ago: Link opens in new window YouTube Video. One minor mistake/hesitation.

8 December 2019

Two older pictures were emailed to me today from last year's spring hafla double veil performance! They have been added to the appropriate location in the 2018 Gallery.

7 December 2019

A Christmas Hafla! Just to do something different, I put on my DCM (Dancers of the Crescent Moon) "Heavy Metal" costume and danced the DCM Sa'idi dance! So in a way, DCM dances again! The older women in the audience "got it"! No surprise air attack at dawn either! Video was taken by me, or my camera at least, I'm not sure about stills - hopefully! And of course, "Claudette" was in attendance!

15 November 2019

A couple more pictures of the Didi memorial dance, plus a pair of photos from the fall hafla have been posted to the bottom of the 2019 Gallery.

14 November 2019

Luna Habibi troupe performance video from 9 November: Link opens in new window YouTube Video.

In addition, don't miss Link opens in new window Jenn's wonderful veil solo! She has officially passed me up in veil dancing!!!

11 November 2019

Video of my solo from 9 November now up! Happy Veteran's day!! Link opens in new window YouTube Video.

9 November 2019

Belly dance club fall hafla - I performed a solo to a John Bilezikian tune that went far better than I expected. I took a veil onstage with me and danced with it a bit, as I wasn't feeling confident with the music - but it was going so well, that I ditched the veil. This is probably the first time in my entire dance career that I've ever ditched a veil because things were going well! In any event, it was nice, and I had fun. A video is on the way, hopefully pictures too.

Also danced with "Luna Habibi", an older choreo of Jenn's to the ever classic "I Put a Spell on You". Claudette the camel graced the event with her presence as well.

31 October 2019

Happy Halloween, dearest Didi. Now you are safe in the loving arms of the Goddess.

26 October 2019

Video - such as it is - is now on YouTube: Link opens in new window Didi Memorial Video. Honestly, its a real disappointment, you can barely see the performance, due to the darkness and the fog machine, but its still "good enough" to NOT hide my performance blunder. It is what it is...

22 October 2019

Pictures from the Nazirah hafla of Jenn and I performing the Didi memorial dance have been posted to the bottom of the 2019 Gallery. The pictures aren't the best due to the "ambiance", but viewable. Now I can start looking at the video.

20 October 2019

A birthday party/hafla by local dancer "Nazirah", with a Halloween theme, of course. Jenn and myself performed our Memorial/Dedication duette for the late Doreet "Didi" Gordon, in what I'll call a "pseudo-Tribal" style. From the introduction:

Zorba and Jenn, the "Choreography Queen", will perform a duette that is dedicated to the late Doreet "Didi" Gordon, of Santa Cruz, California; who Zorba danced with for several years. This is a "Cabaret Dancer's interpretation of Gothic Tribal Fusion", danced to one of Didi's favorite songs, "Voo-Doo", to which she and her dance partner, "Vulgaire Turpentine" often performed. We have attempted to incorporate some of Didi's signature moves, but the "Cabaret Headache" poses are an inside joke between Zorba and Didi, who actually detested the things! Enjoy!

P.S. Zorba's dreads were made for him by Didi a number of years ago...

I had forgotten how painful it is to wear dreads - the price we pay for beauty...

Overall, it went well enough. Aside from my usual minor mistakes, I completely blew it at one point, and got ahead of myself by about a measure. I just shrugged and let the dance catch up with me and continued, what else could I do? I'm still annoyed with myself, as it was a part that I had down cold that I had never messed up before! As Janette used to tell us, "If you're not messing up onstage, clearly you're not onstage enough!".

I was supposed to bring "Claudette", but in the rush to bring all the camera gear, I forgot her. It was just as well, the limited floor space plus the dark ambiance and run-away out of control fog machine meant that nobody would have seen her anyway. It was hard to see the dancers, and we all could have easily dispensed with makeup!

I photographed and videoed the entire show - Bianca was kind enough to take over while Jenn and I danced our duette. The pix came out better than they had any business doing, and will be up soon. Haven't had time to examine the video yet. The camera flash lit things up for the stills, I'm worried that the video will have grain as big as boulders.

29 September 2019

Nadirah Johara teaches the second workshop in the series "10 Songs Every Belly Dancer Should Know". This time it was a drum solo routine. I'm always looking for new ways to interpret the music and new skills. This workshop didn't disappoint, although some parts of the taught choreography were a bit faster than I'd like (I'm getting old!).

4 September 2019

The Video Page re-do is complete. All but one of the old videos formerly hosted here on doubleveil.net have been transferred (in better versions) to YouTube, plus numerous never before seen videos have been added. The missing video had an unresolvable copyright claim, so EVERYBODY misses out thanx to corporate greed. The video page is now organized in reverse chronological order much like these diaries are - although one or two videos I had to guess at their approximate date. Enjoy!

In other news, I continue to work sporadically on the "Serena veil trick" - I can now do it fairly reliably, although slowly and still not in a spin. Today, I tried it for the first time without my glasses on, which went about how I figured it would: Epic fail! Not because I couldn't see (can't see what I'm doing anyway, this is all by feel), but because the glasses are apparently helping to anchor the veil! More practice is warranted.

Lastly, Jenn and myself continue to work on a Memorial/Dedication dance for the late Doreet "Didi" Gordon. We're 6 weeks out and its still pretty shaky!

27 August 2019

I think this is the last of the old videos to be posted up to youtube, this one another Mirage Tribal video at Tribal Fusion Faire 2010. Link opens in new window Mirage Tribal Video.

26 August 2019

Another never before posted, Kalisa's on 26 March of 2004. I've long since forgotten who put this video together for me, but has a double veil performance to "Agonia", as well as my "Raks Africa" routine. Then Jamaica does her sword dance, then there's "after party" footage with everybody dancing, including me with very BAD arms! The ever incredible Lana can also be glimpsed. The video was originally 29+ minutes long, I was only able to extract about 23 of those. Old recordable DVDs don't hold up well. Link opens in new window Kalisa's La Ida Cafe performances from 2004!

25 August 2019

Several more old pictures have been added to the Old Pictures Gallery, all dating from 2002-2003! Second page of thumbnails, at the bottom.

24 August 2019

"Regurgitations" today, previously posted:

Carnival of Stars, 10 October 2009 - "The Dance of Untold Sorrow". The camera work is a bit on the annoying side - too close to the dancer in general, and cuts my hand off at the MOST critical point in the dance - the point of the whole thing! Link opens in new window The Dance of Untold Sorrow, CoS 2009.

Rakkasah, Cabaret Stage, 16 March 2013 - Live music to Saqra's "Raks Band". Video by Once Upon Exposure. Link opens in new window Greek Veil Number, and more!

This was shot at Lana's venue at the mini-mall on 13 June 2008, "Solo-11/Cabaret" with my Isis wings - then followed by a mini "roast" I did for Lana! Link opens in new window Cabaret routine and Lana roast. Same venue, same day, different dance: Link opens in new window Serpentina.

23 August 2019

Never before posted:

Link opens in new window Dancers of the Crescent Moon at Rakkasah 2015, Cabaret stage. This one had John Compton's "Jamilo" Choreograpy - danced to music, as well as his "Bin Al Shek", wich we danced a capella. Our 9/8ths Zill dance was also performed - unfortunately, the space wasn't mic'ed for singing or zilling from the stage area, so the sound is fairly faint.

Link opens in new window Dancers of the Crescent Moon at Rakkasah 2016, Cabaret stage. I was not with them for this performance as I had danced a solo in the same show and Rakkasah rules prohibited me dancing with a troupe as a result. This performance included "Halay", and John Compton's "Bin Al Shek", and "Jamilo" choreographies, danced a capella.

Link opens in new window Dancers of the Crescent Moon at Rakkasah 2010. The original "Claudette" the Camel was featured in a "side show" with a couple of "village people", but this video only shows that at the beginning and very end.

Link opens in new window Dancers of the Crescent Moon at Rakkasah 2009. This was just before I was invited to join the troupe as a full fledged member, the first of the three dances ("Halay") I didn't know yet, so I joined our "Sherpa" while the rest of the troupe performed that dance, then joined them for the Pot dance and our rendition of John Compton's famous Zill dance. Don't miss the "side show" with the Sherpa (and myself for part) washing and otherwise "dealing with" the original "Claudette the Camel". In fact, I recommend viewing the video twice, once to watch the dancing, once to watch Claudette!

22 August 2019

Another "Never posted video". This time I opened the evening gala at Tribal Fusion Faire 2008. I don't like doing openings, but considering the rest of the billing, I was more than happy to do so. Following Amy Sigil and Unmata, Zoe Jakes, Steven Eggers, et al would NOT have been good. Besides, I was probably the only dancer who performed a 5 part cabaret number at a Tribal event!

Link opens in new window Cabaret dance at TFF 2008.

20 August 2019

Three more "Never posted videos", all of Troupe Mirage.

Link opens in new window Mirage Video from Desert Dance Festival 2012, Zorba and his wife Zarah representing the troupe that day. Choreographies by Doreet "Didi" Gordon, and Firefly.

Link opens in new window Mirage Video from Tribal Fusion Faire 2011, rare shawl dance followed by our signature skirt dance.

Link opens in new window Mirage Video from Tribal Fusion Faire 2009, with the sublime Firefly! This was the same set as the Rakkasah 2010 performance.

16 August 2019

Another never before published video - Carnival of Stars, 1 August 2015. Forgotten contact lenses resulted in a very sub-par double veil performance, so the veils were discarded early and dancing continued without them. Good for showing when its best to "cut your losses" with misbehaving veils - and shows one possibility for dealing with finger cymbals later in a performance when you can't wear them the entire time. Link opens in new window Double Veil Disaster.

I keep finding videos I never put anywhere online, this is another of Troupe Mirage at Rakkasah 2011, Cabaret Stage. Complete Tribal Fusion performance, starting with a choreography by the late Doreet "Didi" Gordon, then a semi-improv called "Flock of Seagulls", and ending with "Shiraz", a choreography by Firefly. Link opens in new window Mirage Tribal Video.

15 August 2019

Three more replacements. The first is the earliest known video, ca 2005 best I can tell. 13 seconds of my dance to Light Rain's "Serpentina", very poor resolution. Link opens in new window Serpentina at Kalisa's Video.

This second one, Link opens in new window Double Veil on ANAS Cruise, has been problematic ever since I got it (2005), although it may be my very best video of all time! This one was a PAIN IN THE ASS to get into shape to upload - the original video's audio track was very soft. Long story short, there is a drum POP right at the end of the video which threw off the normalization of the entire track. I had to extract the audio, load it into Audacity, attenuate the pop down to the level of the rest of the audio, then amplify the audio, then use QuickTime to glue the audio back into the video (which was its own tale of pain)!

Lastly this one, Link opens in new window ANAS 2010 Cruise performance, live performance to Light Rain playing "City of Dreams". Both the sound, and the camera work were vastly better than the 2005 ANAS performance - indeed you can even hear my Zills! Miking Zills is always problematic. The camera's iris is a bit too wide open for my white ("Sacrificial Virgin") costume, it tends to get blown out. Still, all things considered, this is probably my best video from a camerawork perspective.

14 August 2019

First "replacement" video: This one was taken at the short lived "Kalisa's Cabaret Show" at the Monterey Vet's hall (07/28/07), dancing Shemadan. It is a rather dark and when I started playing my zills, the close proximity of the camera caused its audio circuits to overload, so the sound sucks in the second half. Link opens in new window Old Shemadan Video.

I also had a phone call with a delightful dance sister in New York, Link opens in new window Layla, who teaches at Serena Studios. Years ago, "Marie" of Monterey, Ca, was famous for a fairly obscure veil technique that she told me was pioneered by the legendary Serena - but she was never able to get my "pea brain" to understand the most essential part of it. I've thought about this technique for years, and started messing around with it again recently. I had no better success than I ever had before, so I decided to see if I could find a protogé of Serena who could help me debug it. Layla was the result of that search - I can now do the basic "trick", however clumsily and un-lovely as it is right now. "I have the key to One-eyed Willie" as was said on the movie "The Goonies". Very impressive that Layla was able to debug this mess over the phone! I love the dance sisterhood because of stuff like this!

13 August 2019

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be uploading some older videos to Youtube. Most of them are ones that are posted here on the Video Page that are no-longer working. Youtube means they'll work everywhere, and not impact my bandwidth here. However, there will be a few that have never been available on the web anywhere before, such as this Link opens in new window Mirage Video from Rakkasah 2010. Never mind my rather bad "gooshies"...

And this Link opens in new window Shemadan Video from 2008 with the lovely Lana doing the introductions.

7 August 2019

The death of Didi is like an open wound...

Last nite (8/6) they had a Memorial for Didi. It was put together "at the last minute", otherwise I probably would have flown out to Santa Cruz to attend it. However, they graciously read the following eulogy that I wrote:

Memories of Didi

Years back, my wife, several dance sisters, and myself came to Didi wanting to learn Tribal Fusion Belly Dance as we'd lost our TF instructor in Monterey. Didi told me later that she was intimidated a bit because we were experienced dancers, which was silly as I told her, as she was Ansuya certified!

In any event, several years ensued of fun, learning, and performing. A highlight for me was dancing the element "Fire" with her and a small group at PanTheaCon one year. I'm a cabaret dancer, "born and raised", sometimes it was a bit frustrating for Didi as she'd yell "Cabaret arms, Zorba; Cabaret arms!!" when I wasn't exhibiting the proper Tribal arm positions! I, in turn, would demonstrate the "cabaret headache" pose just for her benefit which would drive her nuts!

She showed up, Thank Goddess, at Staircase Tattoo when Teresa was applying my first tattoo, my "tramp stamp" with 3 black roses. She held my hand figuratively speaking for the first hour and a half or so of my tattoo initiation, and talked me through the pain. She also helped when I got shocky about 45 minutes in!

I used to tease her that "My tramp stamp is bigger than your tramp stamp!" - to which she replied, "That's because you're a bigger TRAMP than I am!"

A more helpful, generous and loving, genuine and REAL person I don't think I've ever encountered. She was, and remains, a friend, teacher, dance sister, and mentor. I spoke with her frequently on the phone during her illness, she was ready for the journey she has undertaken, with her knowledge she sees her way clearly.

My dance teacher here in Florida - and I - will be doing a tribute dance to her this October, to the song "Voo Doo" as Didi and Vulgaire Turpentine used this song for a duette they did together frequently. Our dance won't be the same of course, but will be done in our best "Didi" stylizations (For those interested, keep an eye on my dance diary on my website.). Goddess Bless you Didi, you were - and are - an inspiration, and I know that you're now pain free and dancing in joy! I'll see you when I catch up with you!

-Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

I'm informed that her riposte to my "Tramp Stamp" joke got a lot of laughs!

I'm also in receipt of several pictures, including this one of her Memorial Altar:

didi memorial altar
A fitting memorial for a Belly Dancing Wiccan Priestess!

didi and zorba show off their tramp stamps
Didi (right) and Zorba show off their "Tramp Stamps" (2010 photo).

2 August 2019

Jenn's fantastic Zill solo followed by drum solo: Link opens in new window Video here. I am SO VERY proud of her!

31 July 2019

Jenn took some pix of last Saturday's performance - they're now in the 2019 Gallery. There's supposed to be more on the way!

Video at Link opens in new window https://youtu.be/yHlMsjHwYeM.

27 July 2019

Sagheer hafla at Link opens in new window "The Love Hut". I actually performed Janette's "Story Dance", a skirt dance choreography that I resurrected as I'm probably going to be teaching it sometime next year. That's the good news, the bad news is I'm not exactly proud of how it turned out - I saw the video (more on that below), and my Maias were twitches and my pelvic drops were sub-par. I hope it was only because I was concentrating on the choreography and my technique slipped. Regardless, I'm not particularly happy, although I'll probably go ahead and post the video in a couple of days. Should have pix soon also.

I actually ended up videoing the entire hafla, and will be sending videos to everyone who performed. The lack of video and still photography at these events is HIGHLY annoying as its pretty much a given in California, even though you oftentimes have to pay for them. Since I have the equipment, I decided to be a part of the solution and brought the video camera and tripod. Someone else had the stills covered, so I didn't have to do that.

In other news, Jenn performed her very first Zill solo this nite - and did a SUPERB job! I think this was probably the best public performance I've seen her do yet! She's becoming increasingly relaxed and confident onstage, and it shows. Good projection and good emoting - and good Zilling too. I've been helping her learn the very difficult art of playing finger cymbals, and she's come a long way! I'm VERY proud of her!

Following her Zill piece, she did a kind of drum solo - which was utterly beautiful. Makes me look completely inadequate by comparison!

And yes, "Claudette" was in attendance by invitation. That camel is turning into a real DIVA!

14 July 2019

Very sorrowful news reached me last nite: Didi lost her long fight with cancer and has passed through the veil. Apparently sometime last Thursday (7/11). {UPDATE:, I've read now that it was actually Friday, 7/12 when she passed through.} I'd been in frequent contact with her while all this was going on, but hadn't been able to raise her the last couple or three weeks. Although very much expected, this still sucks. However, she was ready for this journey as she's made it before and had enough spiritual knowledge to make it "with her eyes open" so to speak. Goddess Bless you Didi, and may you dance in joy!

didi and zorba
Didi and myself a few years back at The Mighty Siwa's Samhain celebration!

30 June 2019

Workshop with Virginia of Miami. This was one of the better workshops I've attended in some time, it was "Dynamics of Dance" - how to bring emotion, feeling, and drama to your performances. As stage presence, projecting emotion, "being real" etc, has been my #1 "work on this" item for the last few years, this workshop was well timed for me - and well done. She taught things that aren't easy to teach - and aren't easy to learn, but that dovetailed well with things I've learned from Janette and others.

8 June 2019

Workshop! Local teacher Zaira taught a challenging candle tray balancing workshop. Her choreography had several turns in it that were far faster than what I'm used to when I have something balanced on my head - a sharp challenge!

14 May 2019

A bunch more old pictures have been added to the Old Pictures Gallery. If you already perused said gallery before, start on the second page of thumbnails. There were a few digitals I added, but most of these I just scanned in from old prints - mostly from 2006, but a few earlier. Some of the quality isn't the greatest, but enjoy!

1 May 2019

A pile of old pictures, mostly from 2008-20010 have all been put into a brand new Old Pictures Gallery. There's little order to them, and there may be a couple or three that are duplicated elsewhere. I'll probably add a few more as time goes by. Enjoy!

27 April 2019

First things first:

Introducing, "Claudette"!

Claudette the Camel
"Claudette ][" just after completion.

More technically, this is actually Claudette 2, stylized as "Claudette ][". Her story is long, but interesting!

The original "Claudette" was owned by Siwa and Dancers of the Crescent Moon for many years, and would often appear onstage with us. She was originally won by DCM in a competition at a festival in Reno called "Wiggles of the West" - this was years before I was a part of the group. The name "Claudette" was randomly chosen, according to The Mighty Siwa - it needed to be a feminine name that started with "C".

Claudette the Camel
The original Claudette in her original configuration with DCM, ca 2010.

The Mighty Siwa retired from Belly Dancing late last year (2018), and the long running DCM was shut down. This was one of those situations where I was NOT in the "right place at the right time" - Desma, another dance sister, ended up with Claudette. So, with Desma's help, I made another one! I found the original plans online, and I decorated her similarly, but still different from the original. The "saddle blanket" is partially made from fabric given to me several years ago by Siwa. I had used most of it to make valences for my Library, but had a tiny piece left over which was enough to make the "inset" portion of the blanket. The original Claudette eventually had a similar saddle blanket made for her, which is what gave me the idea!

The fringe on the blanket was given to me years back by Imzadi.

Claudette the Camel
The original Claudette with updated bridle.

Claudette the Camel
The original Claudette with updated saddle blanket.

So now, I have a "Claudette" of my very own to take to shows, and she had her very first appearance at the...

2019 Spring Hafla!

Claudette ]['s very first appearance, she was given a round of applause at the pre-performance meeting! Everyone just adores her!

Claudette the Camel
Claudette ][ onstage for the very first time. She was a bit nervous!

I danced a new number put together from some music I first heard in Dunia's class, playing my Zildjian zills and wearing my "Harlequin" costume which I hadn't worn in several years from my "Daughters of Damascus" days! Then there was a cute routine with troupe "Luna Habibi" - Link opens in new window Video here, you can see Claudette ][ in front of the podium!

Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Jenn's wonderful veil solo - Link opens in new window Video here.

Three pix are in so far, and are in the 2019 Gallery with more to come I hope. Probably not a video of my solo though.

13 April 2019

Workshop! A certain Rachel George of San Diego was in the area under the auspices of Yvonne. Rachel is a level 5 Salimpour instructor - before this workshop I didn't even know there was such a thing as level 5! Yvonne and Janelle are both level 4 as I write this, but working on their level 5 certification.

In any event, Rachel was teaching a choreography workshop, so I picked up some cute combos I hadn't seen before. She didn't put us through the whole Salimpour style warm up, thank Goddess! Still, she managed to dance this ol' boy into the ground - I had a suger crash about 20 minutes before the end of the workshop. When I recovered from that thanx to an energy bar from Jenn, I danced for another 5 minutes or so, but was too knackered to continue on. By then, it was almost over anyway, but it's been quite awhile since I've crapped out in a workshop!

19 February 2019

Much to my joy, some very nice pictures came along from last Saturday's performance. They have been placed into a brand new 2019 Gallery.

In addition, two pix from last year's spring hafla surfaced, so those have been added to the 2018 Gallery!

These photos kindly provided by Link opens in new window Lisa Darmana Photography, in downtown Melbourne.

17 February 2019

A Jamila style choreography workshop with local teacher Yvonne. Yvonne is a wonderful dancer and teacher with whom its a privilege to study under! I'm happy, but a bit sore!

16 February 2019

Another hafla held at Link opens in new window "The Love Hut", in downtown Melbourne. Danced "Mary Jane's Dance" with my pink 3 yard veil to a very receptive audience. Lots of good dancers, lots of fun, reminds me of Kalisa's in some ways.

I had to create "more years" for this diary, since its a bit of work to do so, I went ahead and created entries all the way out to 2025. We'll see if I'm ready to retire by then!

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