A Belly Dance Diary 2021
One of the very few live performances from 2020!
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.
19 December 2021
Chantrea's virtual hafla went live last nite - although I didn't get the link until today. FANTASTIC SHOW - I'm not really worthy to breathe the same air as the rest of the dancers in this show! YouTube Video. My own segment by itself: YouTube Video as recorded on 14 November.
17 December 2021
Videos are coming in from the Hafla performance 2 weeks ago.
First up: Luna Habibi Christmas Cane dance, which actually came out looking better than it felt at the time. That chick in front needed to move stage right a bit - BUT - she fortunately blocked most of my goof-ups in this routine!
Next up: Jenn Lane's Smokin' Hot Drum Solo!
Last up: Zorba Dances "Raks Africa" with Veil Prelude. This video is a composite. Something happened to the main camera and the last minute and some seconds were cut off. However, thank Goddess for Bianca! She shot the last minute of this performance with a cell phone - so I glued that onto the end of the other, albeit clumsily, thus most of the dance is presented here. Introduction got omitted also, and I had to amp up the lighting on the main part of the vid a bit. Finger cymbals did NOT come through on the sound, to exactly nobody's surprise, and my performance of this piece isn't as good as the previous time I did it as I wasn't prepared to do this piece and thus forgot most of what Jenn had me change!
Here's the original, as posted version: Zorba Dances "Raks Africa" with Veil Prelude.
10 December 2021
This has absolutely NOTHING to do with Belly Dance, but after 40 years, I now know what "Invert and Telephone" really means! I can now die happy - but had to write it down somewhere: To get the calculator and get out of the room, "invert and telephone"... 317 upside down is LIE. On a telephone keypad that is 543.
8 December 2021
A pile of pix are in, over 150. I added a few to the end of the 2021 gallery.
7 December 2021
Just in time for the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, a brief snippet of my "Raks Africa" performance last Saturday. A better vid is supposedly on the way, if so, I'll replace this one as it has the usual vertical video endemic with smartphone users!
4 December 2021
Live performance the outdoor amphitheatre, a Christmas show under the auspices of Zaira. Very full show, lots of GREAT dancers! First, I did a solo:
They screwed up my music - instead of playing what I had sent them, they played what I sent them for LAST year - "Raks Africa with veil prelude"! "I wasna prepared to take her into battle, Captain!" I hadn't planned on doing a veil dance tonite, but after a hasty conference, a veil was produced and onstage I went! This picture was later in the dance after the veil had been discarded. It went well. Played my ever faithful Zildjian Zills.
After a partial costume change (lose the skirt, change hip scarves), danced a Christmas piece with canes to "Deck the Halls" by "Brothers of the Baladi". I actually did better than I thought I would with it. Pix and possible videos of both performances will be forthcoming.
Lastly, Jenn posted the third take video of our veil number in the ABDC semi-virtual hafla:
The hafla used the first take, this third one was probably the worst of the three, although unlike the other two, it actually ended correctly.
27 November 2021
The ABDC semi-virtual hafla went live tonite: YouTube Video. My own segment "Orville's Dance" by itself: YouTube Video. Very wistful!
20 November 2021
A drum workshop with Anthony Darmana under the auspices of Bianca. I don't have much experience with drumming, although I did take a workshop with Reda Darwish on the long defunct ANAS cruise years back. I had forgotten most of what I learned, my technique was all wrong. It got corrected, although my Zill technique plays havoc with it - it'll take me a while to be able to switch back and forth between the two if indeed I continue with the drumming (its fun!). Also, some fun pix from Bianca's class as well as one from the drum workshop in the 2021 gallery.
18 November 2021
The rest of the pix are in, and added to the end of the 2021 gallery. The gallery now has a second page!
15 November 2021
First pix are in, and added to the end of the 2021 gallery. More on the way!
It pleases me to no end to announce that, after a 5+ year hiatus, the beard is BACK! I think I look a lot better with it, no?
The beard is back!
14 November 2021
Three performances! All recorded for virtual showings. The first was recorded at home for Chantrea's 2nd annual Xmas virtual show. I did two takes of it, and although I thought at the time the second take was the best; it turns out that the first was the better of the two, so that's the one I'll be sending in to her. It was danced to my old favorite "Mambo" whilst playing my Zildjian Zills.
The other two could be called "Semi-Virtual". A number of dancers and troupes converged for a real life videoing that will also be premiered virtually. Today's performances will be combined with at home videos that other dancers sent in. First up was the "Luna Habibi" veil performance, which frankly was a "Charlie Foxtrot" of EPIC proportions. The first problem was the stage arrangement had to be changed last minute. The mistakes resulting from the confusion screwed up the first two takes (of three total). On top of that, Jenn had wanted me to use a matching veil that she had gotten from Goddess knows where. This veil was only about 2-½ yards - far too small, and I had been having problems with the darn thing from the get-go - and it fouled up the second two takes! I told Jenn that I was going to burn that damn thing...
After a bitch of a costume change, I then did my new "Orville's Dance" (no relation to the old Damascus dance of the same name other than the music), which is my very first solo skirt dance if one doesn't count a one time solo performance of Janette's "Story Dance". I've done my share of skirt dances, but with that one exception, they had always been with a troupe. This is the first skirt dance that I can call my own. In any event, it went so well that I only needed one take - which helped mitigate my annoyance with the veil fiasco.
Lots of pix and videos are coming - I've already seen some of the stills...
7 November 2021
5 stills from yesterday have come in (thanx Nadirah!), and are appended to the end of the 2021 gallery. Includes the infamous necktie - first time I've worn one since about 1997, hopefully I'll never wear another one. Plus there are a couple of grab shots of the beach filming. These are VERY soft having been taken from the 7th floor of a nearby highrise condominium - but show the fun being had nonetheless! I'm in the red/fuchsia costume! There may be more forthcoming, including a video segment separate from the main video project.
6 November 2021
A weird yet interesting performance. Several Belly Dancers gathered together today for a video project headed by Nadirah Johara. It involved a prelude in drab clothing, followed by dancing in bright costumes on the beach. A necktie and a tiara were both involved with my part of it as well. Had to explain, the video will now be edited into a final version which may be weeks or even months away - but will explain itself far better than I can here. Jenn Lane, Thalya and Bianca, and several other local dancers were involved as well. Some stills should be forthcoming soon!
14 October 2021
I added a memorial page for Didi on Find A Grave. Another contributor was able to go out to her tomb and take a very nice picture, and contributed a couple of more pix to her memorial. The gravesite picture and a High School yearbook picture I swiped and added to my own Doreet "Didi" Gordon Memorial Gallery as well.
9 October 2021
Videos from the 2 Oct performance. Horrid, 240p (non) quality, but it is what it is. You can kinda-sorta see the dances...
Veil Video with Jenn, Liz, Natasha, and Zorba! This is the VERY first performance of this piece that was developed during the CCP virus scare.
Drum Solo with Jenn.
"Op" with Jenn, Liz, Natasha, Bianca, and Zorba! I was kind of blundering around with this one...
A few pix of that performance are also in, added to the end of the 2021 gallery.
2 October 2021
Performance! Jenn Lane and Bianca got a booth at a local women's faire to promote Belly Dancing and their classes. We did a short performance - Jenn's veil piece that we've been practicing for the last year and a half (with my blue varicolored veil), then she did a STELLAR drum solo, then we finished up with "Op". We wore simple outfits with black flare pants and our "Luna Habibi" branded shirts. The audience certainly loved us, we got LOTS of compliments and interest in classes. Pix and vids should be forthcoming...
29 September 2021
The Doreet "Didi" Gordon Memorial Gallery is now open for business! I've thought for some time to gather some more pix of her and create a special gallery. Its been 2+ years now since she passed through the veil, I miss her still. Some of the pix are already elsewhere on this site, but many are not and are shown here for the first time...
I also ran across a few more pix that I added to the Old Pictures Gallery. They've been added to the end of the existing gallery, towards the bottom of page 2 of thumbnails, plus an all new page 3!
4 August 2021
It has come to my attention that male Belly Dancer Jim Boz has apparently passed through the veil. His Website references charities "in leu of flowers". I asked around, and Cory Zamora was able to scare up this text:
I'm greatly saddened to hear the news that Jim Boz has passed away. I'm not sure of any details at the moment, but my heart reaches out to his loved ones and everyone in the belly dance community that knew him. It was an honor to host him as an instructor and performer on several occasions. You'll be missed, mister.
... but nothing further seems to be forthcoming. Not sure when this happened, Cory thought it might have been sometime last year or the very first part of this year - which leads one to wonder if the CCP virus had anything to do with it or not. In any event, we've lost another one...
24 July 2021
A Nadirah Johara workshop, the third in her "10 Songs Every Belly Dancer Should Know" series. The song this time was "Warda", which is the basis of my "Cabaret Routine" that I've danced for years as choreographed by Janette. There are things Nadirah does that I like better - and I'll incorporate next time I perform this number; and there are things I like better about Janette's routine that I'll keep.
There weren't too many at this workshop: It was a two parter where I was only doing the second half. The first half was supposed to be taught by Vanessa, but she fell ill at the last moment, so Nadirah had to teach the 1st half as well. At least two students also called in sick - let's hope not with the CCP virus! I just can't do back to back workshops on the same day anymore - I would have loved to have taken the 1st half as well (regardless of who taught it), but as it was I had to choose. In any event, it was a wonderful workshop that will help me with this song in the future. There's a couple of group pix of this, and the previous Vanessa workshop in the 2021 gallery.
14 June 2021
Fixed, I hope:
Bright white shows anomaly in Zorba's right leg.
I discovered what I initially thought was a lipoma in my right leg last November. It took until now to get it taken care of, as nobody knew what it was. Very long story short, it was a benign tumor, called a schwannoma, wrapped around the Sural nerve, which was causing me pain in my right foot - and apparently had been for some years. Now its been removed, thank Goddess, and the foot pain is gone! I could tell the difference the moment I awoke in the recovery room. It turns out that schwannomas are "very uncommon", and Sural nerve schwannomas are apparently quite rare even among schwannomas in general. I think its caused by a Schwarma deficiency!
5 June 2021
First live class since this CCP virus crap started. It was with Jenn Lane, who had a look of utter joy on her face! Good class too.
In other news, I have decided to dip my toe into the water of teaching! I've taught a(n apparently well regarded) veil workshop on and off for several years. But I seem to have found my stride in one-on-one coaching, particularly with veilwork, finger cymbals, and stagecraft. So I've just hung out my shingle for workshops and privates on these subjects. I don't feel qualified to teach basic Belly Dance though - I have too many problems. I'll see what happens, if anything...
I've added a new page as well as a new button in the main menu to promote this new endeavor.
15 May 2021
A day like I haven't had in well over a year! LIVE Workshop and a show - with a twist. The workshop was with Vanessa as hosted by Nadirah Johara, but the show was hosted by Zaira!
The workshop was very fast paced in the Egyptian style. It was fun and VERY nice to have some normalcy again. The two hours just FLEW by! Vanessa is a great dancer and instructor, and is very kind and personable as well. We could have spent the afternoon yakking about dance and the dancers we both know!
The show was similar to last December's outdoor holiday hafla, held at "Field of Dreams". I performed good ol' "Solo-2 with veil prelude", wearing my red "Dragon's Blood" outfit made by The Mighty Siwa years back that saw me to this dance so many times at Kalisa's back in the day. I used the matching "Dragon's Blood" 4 yard veil (more on that in a minute!), and played my Zildjian Zills.
I don't know what was in the air, but almost every dancer at this event did veilwork or similar. Any number of single veils, one double veil, one set of Isis wings, two dancers with fan veils. What nobody was counting on was the 10 to 15 kt cross wind! When I arrived at the venue, there was a guy flying a parasail kite in the nearby field. There's your first clue, Sherlock: Maybe veilwork isn't the best idea? Never mind a four yard with finger cymbals! But we all did it, including the gal with the Isis wings who was wearing a long, trailing Flamenco skirt that she would manage with precision kicks to keep it out of the way (A skirt and technique I'd never seen before.). So here she is, huge Isis wings, dancing this in a skirt that would face plant me inside 30 seconds. In heels. *RESPECT* "Rafi", a dance brother, did double fan veils and got one of them wrapped around his head pretty well - his recovery was a model of how it should be done.
Although the veil dancing went better than it had any business going for everyone, two dancers had problems with the wind blowing "bags" in their harem pants. The two dancers in question both stepped into the "bag" - and one of those dancers was ME! I stumbled a bit - how bad will have to wait until I have the video - but the other dancer actually went down! However, she ended up looking better than I did, because she somehow managed to make it look like some kind of drop followed by a bit of floorwork! Zaira and I both thought it was part of her dance it was so well done! *RESPECT*
As for my segment, I think it went pretty well. This routine is now old enough to vote, and is so ingrained in me that I was still dancing it like a 2 year old dancer, not a 20 year old dancer! With considerable help from Jenn Lane, I was mostly successful in breaking the mold and improving the piece. I probably remembered half or even two-thirds of what Jenn was trying to get me to accomplish - we'll see when the video and pix come out. I was the ONLY dancer to play finger cymbals, not even Yvonne, who danced a cute routine with some of her girls in cool costumes, did so. I was complimented on them - "This is being lost!".
28 February 2021
The virtual hafla went live today - and it was a wonderful show, with wonderful dancers and well put together. Unfortunately, it will be taken down in a couple of days, so linking to it here would be futile. However, I'm now able to release my own segment for general viewing: Raks al Shemadan Video. I received a LOT of nice comments and compliments in the realtime chat during the premier! Shemadan, especially Shemadan with real candles gets people's attention! Then someone spotted my finger cymbals (Zildjians) before I started to play them and called out another compliment!
Jenn's video premiered along with mine - hopefully she posts it independently so I can link to it. She also received a LOT of nice comments/compliments and recognition of her work - as she should! UPDATE: and here it is!
4 February 2021
Welcome to another year of CCP virus hysteria! Another virtual performance, but that's OK. I'll take it. It enabled me to dance with my Shemadan for the first time since 2011 (where did the time go?), and it was the first time since 2010 that I'd danced Shemadan with live fire!
The Shemadan was in rather bad shape, dirty, dusty, covered with old wax, sitting forlornly in a closet ever since the move from "Commiefornia" 4 years ago! Cleaned it up - first I froze it to help remove the worst of the wax, then I hit it with hot water to melt off anything remaining and clean it up. It now sparkles! Then I had to install new candles, the way I always have done it by casting them in-place with wax so they won't move or fall out. However, I only had 7 candles, and I needed 9! Fortunately, Ace Hardware of all places, carries the white "Household Emergency Candles" that I've always used, so other than a different looking package, they were the same!
Then I had to do a ton of practice - 10/11 years is a very long time ago, and my technique wasn't pretty! Thanx to Jenn Lane assisting me, I was able to get back into shape, and she helped me improve my dance over the old days. I had to practice in our garage, the only place that has enough headroom, albeit barely!
So today, I was able to video it for the virtual hafla, also with Jenn's able assistance! Goddess bless her! I can't yet release the video (watch this space), but Jenn took several stills which are in a brand new 2021 gallery along with several pix of the Shemadan cleanup.