D's Blog

December 31, 2010   ♦   Comments Off on New Years Eve

Hey Everyone!

Delilah

Delilah

Today is my Birthday! December 31st.
How about that, I’m an old year baby! Anyways it’s always a time where I reflect on the past year and plan for the future year. What went well, what south and what do I remember the most. This year sure went fast! If you don’t know by now my entire life is always about belly dance pretty much.

We did 2 Hawaii Retreats in 2010. One with the “Neighborhood Temple Priestess” studies and the second one with Amy Sigil and Dahlia with the main focus on “ Tribal Fusion” with a little bit of Egyptian, folkloric and Power Belly thrown in. It was an amazing retreat even though it was small. The airfare remained very high last Easter Time compared with January and so we got lots of regrets. (This January the airfare is reasonable and there is still room because a yoga retreat canceled so some space opened up that we can use. There will not be a late fee changed) .
Dates January 25-30 2011 with RUBY BEH!!!

Last years Summer Solstice Parade threatened to rain but in the end we managed just fine. It was a smooth one. I had made a plan to build a float and have live music for 2011 but I have changed my mind. Because we are leading a tour to EGYPT in March/ April (still room to jump on this amazing journey see details) I think we should not take on too ambitious a project that would take time fund raising as well as building and organizing. So I’ve decided to give you the color theme for 2011 Parade the color for this years parade is RED 85% and 15% BLACK. Probably everyone has stuff in there closets. Joanne’s Fabrics is having sales right now on alot of red fabric!

We did the Power Belly Online Show for 44 weeks last year! A huge achievement but it was too expensive to keep up with. Only a few dancers ever logged on. I think dancing from your lap top isn’t here yet. It sure was a hoot to do every week! We may bring it back again but for now back episodes are up.

Our third FRI CABARET NIGHTS in our studio have been the best shows I’ve seen in my life. House of Tarab playing live with 2 different professional dancers doing full routines! OMG!, Artemisia, Khalida, Elisa Gamal, Princess Farhana, Lisa Yasmeen, Suzanna, Kitiera, Laura Rose , Ruby Beh, Zulaika, Nadira, Dahlia, Aubre, Bella Jovan, Hasani, Sabura, Tito Seif plus a concert featuring Omar Ait Vimoum and Moez M’rabat. . . So very proud to be hosting such amazing artists in an intimate setting. (we will be in Hawaii on 3rd Fri in Jan. so no show).
I was invited to be a special guest presenter at the International Belly Dance Conference of Canada in Toronto. I was representing Belly Dance Pioneer in America. I taught large classes and sat on discussion panels. It was a fabulous event put on by Yasmina Ramzy of Toronto. Erik and I hung out with Cassandra alot so when she came to Seattle to do her camp in the fall we decided to all do a show together. We had an amazing show at the South Seattle Community College with H.O.T. Cassandra and Ava Fleming and myself, Delilah. Very fond memories.
One of my favorite events to attend this year was Suzanna’s Belly Dance Off! Very fun to be a judge and an audience member. Bravo to all who participated and to Suzanna for putting it together!

For the Summer we had Amel Tafsout do a wonderful workshop on Magreb style dance. We also had Moria Chappell of the Belly Dance Super Stars in our studio. (This coming February 2011 we will have Petite Jamilia and drummer Issam in conjunction with the BDSS)

We did some “Student, Staff and Experimental” shows that were very fun and got more of our students performing. Then in the fall we had a “Zombie Belly Dance” troupe for Trolloween. This class was really challenging and thought provoking. We took regular belly dance moves and took the life out of it and created a new vocabulary. It was an amazing exercise in character development . No one was focused on being pretty. It was very cathartic!

Our dear dancing friend Helen Nicholiasen left the planet on October 20th. Bless her soul. She new her time was near. I was in New Mexico doing a dance for her in a desert labyrinth in the middle of fantastic thunderstorm on all horizons when she past. Very spiritual landscape and energy there.

Our annual Thanksgiving morning workshop was awesome! The Winter Solstice Event was really very wonderful. I wished more attended. It really is a moving thing we do every year. Don’t miss it next time!

The Neighborhood Temple Priestess group did some lovely dance labyrinths under the guidance of Christine Hamby. They also worked hard on the Golden Patrons; A Philanthropic group in support of women’s dance. We have 10 members so far. We need 21 and will be still recruiting members in January. It’s a hard thing to explain and we need to ask folks to go to our web pages and take a look so you are informed about our efforts at least. It doesn’t mean you need to become a member. It is important that our idea gets into the cosmos! The more people that are in the know about it the better! What we are trying to do is a bit different for belly dance world. We are trying to take responsibility for supporting this art form “WE” the dancers, KNOW AND LOVE. By taking responsibility we can help it grow and be understood so it continues to grow and develop. This is our big goal for the New Year 2011!!!

Thank You to the GP commitee!

Major restructuring of how we can keep the studio alive and being used by more of the community is my goal. I really want to leave something behind that will benefit community long after my dance is done. Some new teachers are coming to VDP. Tayissa Blue is introducing TRIBAL BASICS on Sunday afternoon, and a Nia class on Fridays.

I have some ideas for some experimental themes shows this year. Plus I’m doing a bit of custom garment manufacturing (details soon to be revealed.I am wearing one in the photo above.)

In the fall I sent out a few grant applications. Didn’t receive any but it was a very good exercise in visualization. So today I am thinking about this question as I walk to the nearest Lottery stand. I hear Mega Millions is over 200 million!

“If I won the lottery what would I do for belly dance world ?
1. I would launch an ad campaign across the nation and beyond of the physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological benefits this dance has for women of all ages. I would even aim this intent at Middle Eastern countries that often do not know what a jew this dance form is for women. If young girls and women universally learned early and practiced it regularly like many of us do, then belly dance would truly be a benefit for things like pregnancy, birth, bone density and staying fit for a life time! Not only that but it gives women a sense of personal control of their own body and person. It provides a means for creativity and expression for wordless things. Tomorrows future depends on women that are whole body, mind and hearts.
2. I would build a bigger studio with fountains, statues and gardens, an indoor and out door theater and a belly dance museum!
3. I would build a belly dance retreat in Hawaii that was all year long and featured different teachers from all over the world of all styles and had scholarships.
4. I would build a Middle Eastern music school.
5. I would put together a Belly Dance Tour group that was diverse in age, weight and style that was fantastic and served to educate the public as well as entertain.
6. I would build an retirement facility for aged belly dancers and musicians that would be funded by another enterprise so it would be free.
7. I would build a school for beaded costume design.
8. I would have a large belly dance grant foundation.
9. I would have the Billion Belly March gather in Washington DC and make  political humanitarian demands for clean air, water, food, education, health care and corporate reform!
10. I would create a magazine that featured my picture on the cover each month in a different color costume  and call it  OPA ! . . . . LOL, well?

Ok I’ll keep dreaming and buying lottery tickets. Mean while a reminder
Tomorrow, New Years Day
We are doing a Zar. See our calendar for info.Come join us!
And
Get off your computer and come belly dance
for our LUNCH TIME BELLY DANCE
Wednesday and Fridays! Noon to 1:15

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Cheers
Delilah

December 27, 2010   ♦   Comments Off on Visionary Winter Solstice Feast 2010

(I record this musing for posterity so we can look back from the future and remember )

Visionary Winter Solstice Feast 2010

Sunday, December 19th (on the approach of the Winter Solstice).


At the close of the Winter Solstice Event, Taiya dances

At the close of the Winter Solstice Event,

Taiya dances.

******************

Events of the Night:

6:00 P.M. doors open.

Participants were welcomed by a greeter and anointed with essential oils called Abundance. The room was dark save for 1 lone candle hip high on a candle stick holder in the center of the room. On the floor was a black light spiral with stars on the floor. The room was devoid of chairs. Just open darkness. At the East end of the room was hung a Sun King Effigy with some votive lights so you could write prayers and wishes on little prayer papers and twist them into the art work made by Freeman and Elizabeth Mester.

6:30 the musicians entered and took their places. 6:40 Delilah entered and took a hand of a near by participant and one by one everyone linked dances and followed her in a spiral dance in the dark. It wove in and out and around and around for 10 minutes and then everyone settled into a circle with Delilah near the candle so she could address the group and read the following welcoming.

Welcome every body to our Winter Solstice celebration.

It is our custom at VDP STUDIOS to use the seasonal changes as cause for celebrating with our community and sharing our music, dance and instigating acts of love and creativity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Candle Light Ceremony, Delilah, Kalara, Faren, Elizabeth

Candle Light Ceremony, Delilah, Kalara, Faren, Elizabeth

 

We are gathered together here as we approach the longest night and the shortest day; which is officially on December 21st .  Juxtaposition of the Winter Solstice is the Summer Solstice, which is the time of the shortest night and longest day. And as most of you know we celebrate with a big Parade!

A little bit of Science:

The reason we have a winter and summer solstice is because the EARTH not only rotates around the SUN but on it’s journey it also is tilted  23.5 degrees causing the Northern and Southern hemispheres to be closer or further from the sun for half the year thus resulting in the seasons. This particular Winter Solstice is also accompanied with unusual event of full lunar eclipse!

Age Old Holiday Times

Over the centuries of human experience and because of the darkness and the gloom that accompanies much of our western hemisphere during this time of the year, a natural need arises in us to counter this doldrums. Many myths, symbols, religious beliefs, traditions and community celebrations have naturally evolved in different cultures at this time of year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ed Sullivan, Drummer, musician and friend

Ed Sullivan, Drummer, musician and friend

 

Hanukka, Christmas, Winter Solstice, New Years Eve and New Years day. . .

Another celebration unknown to many in America is December 17th. Known a Rumi’s Wedding day. It is the anniversary of his death. The Dervishes celebrate in a special 4 part Sema ritual. In a meditation festival for the eyes and hearts the room is illuminated by light of the unfolding twirling of the semazen’s white skirts revealed from under black hurka robes. They spin around the sun to the voicing of the ney flute and drum.

Rumi is a popular Afghan scholar, poet and mystic who spent most of his life in Konya Turkey (1273 AD).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumi

The winter in many places has been a time of dread with good reason. With it food and heat maybe in scarce supply and the human spirit is in dire need of a kindling inside the heart; Light, warmth and plenty are the means of celebration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delilah Dances

Delilah Dances

Kaori Dances

Kaori Dances

Elizabeth and the Sun King

Elizabeth and the Sun King

 

Candles, yule logs, christmas trees, Menorahs, and electric strings of light bring us the necessary light that reassures us, enchants us and chases away the fear from our children’s hearts and are replaced with hope and cheer towards fellow man. Feasts are made from brews and peoples food stores for this moment.

In age old Pagan traditions mankind’s view was that they were being watched over by a family of gods and goddess. Symbolically is seen as the reign of the Goddess . She who rules from Summers fullness, Falls harvest, up to the cold dead introspection and stillness of winter. Then things switch upon the Winter Solstice and the Fire and phallus of procreative powers of the Sun begin again to be re-ignited /reborn and now the God begins his reign from Winters waning, Springs new beginnings and new fertility until Summer when his seed has been spent into the earth and the cycles of fruition are called once again.

I know it’s hard to believe that the first day of winter has not technically happened yet. But the good news is after the 21st we are on our journey to longer days meaning  more light, and with that the hope and new beginnings spring brings.

We celebrate the darkness toward the light!

Tonight is very different from our other kinds of performances here at VDP this is a participatory event.

About Ritual

RITUAL provides us with opportunities to become more vividly aware.

More present to the moment we share together.

Tonight we have a couple of simple rituals for us all to participate in, that is if you like.

1. We have joined in spiral dance together in the dark like also many of our ancient ancestors have don before us.

2.  We have prepared a sun King Effigy and invite you each to tie into it, your wishes, prayers, and hopes FOR ourselves, each other, and our world.  Then later on at around 10 Pm we will burn it in my back yard and symbolically release them into the night sky.

3 .A gift give away ritual.

Some read the web page or got the memo about our gift give away and many did not. Not to worry. Please if you brought one, when we go over to my house for the pot luck feast please place your give away gift on the gifting table on the porch at my house where we will hang the Sun King Effigy that will await it’s burning glory. The give away is a exercise in anonymous giving. It does not mater if you brought a gift or not. Sound with in your self and ask do you need a gift? This is a ritual about receiving as well as giving. Trust in the moment and ask. before you leave take a gift.

4. Candle Light Ritual

Next:

Each guest was give a candle and in groups of 3’s walk the spiral to the center and light their candle and then return to the circle. Little by little the room became a beautiful glow around the spiral.

Each of the 4 performances entered the spiral path and shared their performances with us.


NTP dance Solstice Feast 2010n


Kaori Oto did a mesmerizing energy dance

Delilah did a dervish spinning dance into a Hot Drum solo

Three member of the Neighborhood Temple Priestess dance collective did

A Dance of Light; Jeanette, Elizabeth & Kalara

Dahlia danced to a Rumi Poem that Delilah read, as David Mc Grath played the ney.Then she belly danced and got the audience to join her in the light!

RUMI POEM

Title: Where Everything Is Music

 

 

 

 

 

Dahlia dances

Dahlia dances

 

Don’t worry about saving these songs!

And if one of our instruments breaks,
it doesn’t matter.

We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.

The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and even if the whole world’s harp
should burn up, there will still be
hidden instruments playing.

So the candle flickers and goes out.
We have a piece of flint, and a spark.Dahlia Solstice Feast 2010 _n

This singing art is sea foam.
The graceful movements come from a pearl
somewhere on the ocean floor.

Poems reach up like spendthrift and the edge
of driftwood along the beach, wanting!

They derive
from a slow and powerful root
that we can’t see.

Stop the words now!
Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out.

8:30

The Sun King was paraded across the street and placed on the porch sancuary for late comers to participate in adding wishes. The table filled with enchanting gifts.

The doors were opened

“Let the Feast begin!”

People brought in their foods and drinks to share.

10 PM  Winter Solstice Fire Ritual.

Erik roped up a tent so folks could stand in the rain and witness the event and stay dry.

Taiya from Vancouver Island danced in the rain steaming off the fire with a sword on her

Burning prayers and wishes into the night!

Burning prayers and wishes into the night!

head and 10 fire fingers! OMG!  The Sun King was raised over the bon fire and slowly lowered to everyones cheers, drumming and a saxophone and clarinet melody! Sparks and embers flew into the night and the Sun Kings face came into focus and then dissolved. Then women began passing out play money and everyone through it into the fire (very cathartic) singing and dancing.

Everyone came back in and more drumming and dancing took place in the livingroom with George Sadat ,Erik Brown and Ed Sullivan. It was an amazing night!

Special Thanks to Maria Lafrance, josie, Laura Legere and Erik who helped do most of the decorating this year! oxox

Photos by Freeman Mester.

Retrospect:

1985 I learned about Winter Solstice Rituals and celebrations from two sources. One was my women’s drumming circle and one of it’s main component artists Michelle Saville and  Sarah Teofanov. The other one was the Fremont Arts Council, led by Denise Folgelman and Peter Toms. I participated in  their amazing Solstice Feasts as honored priestess of the torch for about 15 years (1988-2003). I danced a  voodoo belly dance with Afro Cuban drummers until I was drenched with sweat and torched the Sun King! Raw, sexy and yet completely family oriented (just like life!) Those events were so rich for my family, friends and community. I learned alot from the Arts Councils guidance for which I am very thankful. I always consider myself very fortunate to have such an incredible resource in my neighborhood.  Things always change however.

Delilah in 1999 (est)

Delilah in 1999 (est)

In 2004 with the opening of my dance studio up the street from the Fremont Arts Councils Power House, we  expanded to umbrella our dance studio participants. Our participation in the Summer Solstice Parade was in the hundreds of participants,  so our participation in the Solstice Feast changed accordingly. We focused our attention in participation by creating our own arty stage installations. The main ritual became more about pageantry and less earth in scope. It was growing and more people wanted to participate and they wanted it tamer and more officially organized. The Afro Cuban drum circles even lost focus. The city was becoming more conservative with safety issues and the idea of candles did not sit well with the new fire chief. This was too bad because the old world charm of having it all candle it and electricity prohibited was very special.

By 2008 we decided it had become too big an event and we also heard that the arts council was encouraging some branching off to take place. They were talking about taking the entire event out of the city which would not make it practical for local community participation in the days leading up to the event. Thus 2008 was the first year we did our own Winter Feast event in Fremont. That was the year of the big snow. The arts council planned their event on Saturday night. We planned ours for Sunday. There was a ton of ice and snow and the Sandpoint airplane hanger where they planned to hold the event was too big and cold. It was the first time they canceled the Solstice Feast. By the time Sunday came, people were eager to get out and about so our event was richly attended even though people couldn’t get on a flight out of town. They came on foot with turkey and lazagna in back packs. We had luminare candles in the snow leading people across the street to the sun king sanctuary and a snow flake bond fire in the back. Live music, food and performers. It was amazing. Strangers were invited to participate.

There are other reports over the years I made and put on line. If anyone ever writes a book about these events I hope these essays are helpful.

There are cool photos on these pages as well.

Winter Solstice Feast 2002


Winter Solstice Feast 1998:


Winter Solstice Archieve


Table of contents of other inspiring  events




December 3, 2010   ♦   Comments Off on Golden Patrons Introduction

Dear Dancers,
We need your help in finding 21 Golden Patrons!

This is supremely important so please read to understand the details. There is no financial obligation to helping us. There are many ways to assist us!
VDP STUDIOS is at risk of closing. If we close our doors they will not be reopened.
Let’s not allow that to happen!
This is the first step in revealing a new model of doing belly dance business. Please read our PDF brochure and pass it on to other dancers. More details and future plans will be revealed on my blog.
Please print this Golden Patron detailed brochure and distribute where ever you can.

IMPORTANT:
We do not mean to pester or pressure anyone. On the contrary we only want people who can afford the role of “Golden Patron” to participate in specified ways. We want everyone who loves belly dance and wants to be supportive to us and the art of belly dance, to jump in and help us find these 21 Golden Patrons! Thus we have cast a large net! We have found 9 Patrons already. Maybe all we need is one big one!

Even more notes about the
GOLDEN PATRON PROJECT:
A Philanthropic Group Supporting Women’s Dance.

Read our Golden Patron brochure first, then these additional notes will make more sense.

It is time for women who know the value of the art form of belly dance in our lives to give their support in a very big way. No one else is responsible but us.

I often wondered why any retired belly dancers (that I know of) have not left a foundation or a grant to this art form they know has benefited so many women’s lives behind them?

I have blazed many new trails in my long career and it’s time for another new one. I want to create a foundation. I realize that in this day and age many do not even know what the role of Patron of the Arts is anymore.

WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE GOLDEN PATRONS?

It is simple;
Since June I have been giving alot of thought to the summation of my years of dedication to the art of belly dance ( 38 years). I have been an active part in its evolution in America. I have been a recipient in its life transforming power as well as been a mid wife to so many women’s re-birthing of themselves through this dance art. I feel even more enthusiastic as the day I started. I still have alot I want to give to belly dance. However, today my maturity has brought me to a different position in thought. I want to build something to leave behind me when my dance is done.

Thus a committee was formed of dedicated dancers and friends who liked my idea. They have rallied around me to support me in this effort to broaden the studios goals.

Brigitte, Lisa, Laura Rose, Kalaura, Dahlia, Erik, Stephen, Anne, Roxi, Elizabeth, Chris and John . . .

We sent out only 150 packets after Thanksgiving holiday to a random sample of students, teachers, friends local and far. There are another 50 packets in the studio. We only had a small budget and we wanted to send as many as we could in the real mail. The dancers really did a beautiful job of creating a nice brochure and I wish everyone could have one however I am going to have to ask you to read it on a PDF.  Our hopes is to get lots of dancers talking about it, so please talk it up. The committee has put much love and work into this initial phase. Facebook it!

OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP AND BE SUPPORTIVE:
• Come to class regularly! You know it’s good for you.

• Give a friend a gift certificate to come to a class or a workshop. It can change their life!

• Come to our Hawaii retreats or Egypt tours. They are ventures to bring in revenue as well as be incredible life and dance adventures. Know that is a great support and you benefit in un definable ways.

•Come to our studio shows with House of Tarab.

• Buy a VDP product, hip scarf, or weight belt.
Your every dollar is a VOTE to support us in this tough economy.

WHAT THE GOLDEN PATRONS CAN DO BY THEIR PATRONAGE
The Golden Patron is not a nonprofit yet. It does not make any sense to set one up until we know we have a dedicated foundation beneath us. Since it’s not tax deductable we offer you the package of benefits that keep you dancing as well! It’s a win win and now or never. We are trying to keep the studio afloat. We are excited about how it can re-energize the art of belly dance and get more women learning about the lifelong rewards it brings. The economic situation is hard but also brings us different ways of thinking that may be better in the long run.
The studio is a wonderful space. Don’t you think? If not please tell s how we can improve it! It’s beautiful, in a safe and artistically friendly neighborhood. So many amazing artists have graced the dance floor in performance and as instructors. However it should be getting used more. At this point in my life I cannot run it alone. It need more bodies more creative energy. I want more projects and energy in there. I want more instructors not less. I want to have time to write my book. I want the space to provide a laboratory for the dance to grow as well as the dancers to develop. The Golden Patronage will support this and more!
I want the consciousness in our community to understand the values of belly dance more thoroughly.

I asked my Thankgiving class if they had the feeling that the real story of belly dance was like the best kept secret from the rest of society?

YES, THEY ALL AGREED!

Interesting but it’s felt that way for 38 years! So often belly dance is trying to fit its round little body in square peg whole over and over again. It’s because the greater community doesn’t understand it and it has such large stereotypes that we get left out of much of the funding. We need to create our own campaign of educating the public towards BELLY DANCE APPRECIATION.

It’s performance, yes. It’s self satisfying and enjoyable, yes! It’s good exercise and fitness, yes! It increases awareness physically mentally and emotionally, yes!, It lifts depression, builds bone density and manages weight, yes! It’s friendly to all sizes and ages of women, yes! It’s a supportive community of women that gets cultivated, yes! It’s a tool for women’s personal development, yes! It utilizes crafts, stage art, music, and drama, yes! Women pass the art down to their daughters, yes! It’s culturally stimulating, yes! It’s a place where we are not alone!
YES!

I have a dream of how this dance can be so much more.

More later keep tuning in. We are being very visionary here!


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