I dreamed of dancers long since dead,
Asleep in the tombs of Kings and Queens.
I dreamed they rose from their shrouds and once again assembled
The scattered lineaments
Of their long lithe bodies
They mover in the effortless measures
To the drum beats and the lingering melodies of the harp.
Those dancers of an ancient past
Slowly they moved among the long tables
Ladened with fruits and wines,
Trained in the rhythms of the East
And made wise in the wisdom of love it’s self.
Beginning in slow measured steps
With promises of ecstasies to come.
In the sweet scented night under the low hanging stars
I saw you in my dreams
Dear dancers of the long since dead.
And I wondered if in this eternal now
(Which includes this hour)
You may still be moving
In the shadow of the temple isles.
Still weaving patterns of immemorial loveliness
As you did of old?
And that Kings and Princes
Still bent upon you
Their eyes of desire,
To raise you from your low obeisance
To find joy and honor, in their arms
In the passing of the scented night.
from the poem
“ Entertainment for the Beloved “
by Ruth St Denis.
Rossah Bendahmen is trying to raise $5000 to pay for the funeral expenses she took on for a dear dancer friend of ours. She recently departed on May 2, 2011. Her name is the ledgendary Marliza Pons of Las Vegas.
Marliza danced for well over 4 decades. She was one of the well known established dancers when I was just cutting my teeth on my first pair of finger cymbals. She was a pioneer in the growth of American Belly Dance. She was a warm hearted charitable dancer. A mentor to all dancers coming up the pike. Today many that read this will not know her name because she retired long ago and never got around to writing her intended memoirs. But I, as many do, remember her.
If you can donate a little something to her memorial you will be honoring one of our dance elders and aiding to preserve her legacy and to keep her many contributions to the dance alive. Marliza will be placed into her final resting place in a glass niche at the Columbarium at the Palm Mortuary on Eastern Avenue in Las Vegas. Dancers and family and friends will be able to honor her memory, to leave a flower, see a beautiful display of her life, and to say words of gratitude all in a lovely location that is a controlled environment, any time, year round.
The donation is a demonstration of respect. As Rossah put it in her e mail; “Our Dancestors” Living and deceased for those whom we owe, we pay our karmic debt, we repay with interest.
Your donation is tax deductible. This is made convenient to you by providing you several options:
1) You may walk into any Wells Fargo or Wachovia bank and ask to make a deposit into the “Marliza Dance Memorial”, Account # 3650002599.
2) If you wish, you may make a donation electronically by using the PayPal link above to transfer your funds, OR
3) You may email me for an address of where to send a check. Please make your check payable to the Marliza Dance Memorial.
Pay pal Link
More Delilah Blog;
Dedicating your life to the art of dance is a true labor of love. Yes, we get to do what we love doing. DANCE! Every blessed hour, day and year is wonderful. Originally from Chicago, Marliza spent her life performing, hosting concerts and events, and owning a dance studio in Las Vegas. She worked hard as all dancers know who try to make a life out of a dance career.
Oh, maybe some of you would say that it’s not wise to try. That one should always have a back up plan and do dance as just a hobby. After all, dance is not especially highly valued as arts go. Not since ancient times when it was unheard of for individuals not to dance. It was like you refused water or bread! Now a days we create low payed careers out dance as if it were only for specialists. I heard dance called the Cinderella step child of the arts departments. Why? Because you have to come to the table with a healthy relationship to the human body or else you can’t really understand the expression of dance. Your mind won’t let you. Dance is not cookie cutter body shapes thrown at music . It’s humanly bound in flesh and soul poetry. Directly communicating to the brain you’ve had before you could talk with your mouth. Sex gets in the way of the immature or fundamentalist minds. Dancers endure shame and low wages. But that doesn’t stop them. Just what makes a dancer tick so she/he forgoes the perceived safety of a regular job and retirement benefits to put body to beat and melodies must be a powerful calling? She does it because she has to dance! It is an Aphrodite phenomenon. Ballerinas pay an even higher price. They ruin their bodies aspiring for their short lived ideals of moving in time and space. I have known women who deserted equitable careers in medicine and law because belly dance made them more truly happy. Dance is your main line connection to your maker. That’s why so many religions forbade it. It’s viewed as competition with the church.
Speaking for my self; I don’t know how I could have done my life any differently. I couldn’t have traveled if I was in school or committed to a day job. I don’t know how I could have gotten the 6 night a week experience that made me a really skilled dance artist and athlete. I am grateful that belly dance allowed me to be a stay at home Mom for my two daughters because my job was only 4 hours and after they were in bed. I couldn’t have created all those videos and inspired all those other dancers if I hadn’t dedicated my life full time to belly dance. And incidentally, those video investments where I cataloged my life’s work, were my back up plan for income and retirement. That plan fell apart with the advancement of the internet and technology. But then many of my friends who picked careers for monetarily gain have lost their jobs, their retirement and security too, so I guess you just can’t plan it. But I must admit I am always happy! And I am grateful I have been dancing a long time. I am still very active with no end in sight. I feel I can dance circles round those young whipper snappers! LOL! No, I’m not done though I must admit it’s scary, and/or a little bit sad. Every day is more and more precious to me. I used to think nothing of postponing a workshop date or show cause there was always time. Now I do not feel so sure when a date gets postponed. I realize others don’t have any clue how numbered the days of my career are because I manage to still transport my audience. But today I have let go of Turkish drops, coin flips and the cobra back bends. It is a bitter pill to perform less and see wages fall because of the combination of ageism, the economy and the cultural lack of responsibility for the financial support of non commercial arts.
Rossah met Marliza in the later years of her life and became her friend. She watched as her last winds of vitality of her life wore out as she became destitute and weakened by age. Rossah spent many days helping Marliza down size her life and sort though her costumes, props and memories. She sat at her feet and listen with bated breath to the wise mentor passing on her dance knowledge. I remember in 2006 Rossah held her arm and escorted Marliza to the International Belly Dance Convention where they awarded her a life time achievement award.. Alotta Love there. Now Rossah has taken it on to prepare her a resting place.
Thank you Rossah.