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Club Cairo - It Really Was

Mar 9th 2011

Preparing for a Summer Solstice booking at Club Cairo, I stood in myyard and fashioned a costume from armloads of fresh flowers. I got in the car and sped to the gig, misting myself with a hand spray bottle whenever I got the chance. In the upstairs room,wilting in summer heat, the roses, peonies, daisies, buttercups, anemones and Queen Anne’s lace held up as long as they could, but eventually flung their petals outward with every spin. Two helpers had to come out with push brooms after the show, but I was serene. My flower dance was a smashhit and I had the stems to prove it.

It’s no exaggeration to say that my dance could only have happened there. Continue reading...

The Weird Gig

Feb 25th 2011

Most folks, when they hire a bellydancer, simply want to a good show. They expect a dance that looks flashy but respectable, makes the audience feel good, and justifies anything they may have spent, which some cranky soul in their group has already hinted was as waste of money. This is not hard for a dancer to do. A fabulous costume, upbeat music, fortuitous timing and an understanding of the audience will take care of most of these concerns.

However, once in a while we get a request that cannot be categorized into the Special Occasion (“It’s my husband’s birthday. Can you step out of box with a big red ribbon?”) or the Insulting (“do you do, er, ‘extras?’”) This is known as the Weird Gig. Continue reading...

Sharing the Legacy, Part Two

Feb 21st 2011

What was it like, “Back in the day”? I will tell you.

Some time early in the evening, while the patrons are having their dinner, there’s a stir, an electricity, as someone enters. She has a dress bag over her shoulder, she is wearing superb makeup, eyelashes, her hair half hidden in a scarf. With poise and purpose, she breezes in, speaking to the bartender, the owner, someone in charge, perhaps waving to the band. She has appeared just long enough for a whisper to go around, “there’s the dancer!” Continue reading...

A Framing Tale

Feb 1st 2011

Jazmina bought a poster at a museum show. It wasn’t very expensive, but she loved the colors and the feeling it expressed, which resonated with her internal dancer. She knew it would look great in her dance room.

Fifteen months later, propped in a corner, the poster is still in its tube. “I know, I know,” says Jazmina, “but I’m not really sure how to frame it.” Continue reading...

Play the Cymbals!

Jan 17th 2011

I once had a secret little fantasy: me, playing the cymbals with a big symphony orchestra. I did end up playing them, but not the way I thought. Instead of being held by my hands, the cymbals were attached to my fingers.

My fantasy was on the right track. The first cymbals I actually played were Zildjians, whose logo is seen more often than not on cymbals everywhere, from the Philadelphia Symphony to St. Kevin’s Emerald Gems and the Funkadoodle Headbangers. Zildjian is the name of the family who invented the secret manufacturing process in 17th century Constantinople. The very name means “son of a cymbal maker.” All bellydancers’ finger cymbals, sometimes called sagat, are usually referred to as zils. Continue reading...

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