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Washington Post


Monday, October 27, 2003; Page C05

Belly Dance at Joy of Motion Dance Center

Belly dancers are likely to have names like Tiffany or Stefanie nowadays, even in Cairo. The 30-year-old American belly dance movement has been so successful that its reach has spread beyond American shores. West Coast-based Delilah, who performed Saturday at Joy of Motion, is one of the movement's early proponents. She's a well-known teacher, traveling to give workshops and selling an array of belly dancing merchandise that includes her own instructional videos.

Her solo suite to live music by the superb duo Sirocco was replete with American brashness and energy more forceful than sultry. She brings her personality to the dance, which is not only good but necessary for the improvisational format of belly dancing that she practices.

She recombines the genre's standard vocabulary in a seven-part suite form . She has a much-admired technique that includes micro-shakes with her stomach muscles. She thrives on the presence of the live musicians, who help provide both spontaneity (much of the music is improvised on standard patterns and forms, as well) and a physical background in front of which she loves to shine.

Shine she does, with a tangle of fuzzy dark hair, long torso, muscular yet rounded belly, and a rapport with musicians with whom she's built a longtime relationship. The theater was packed with Washington's many belly dance students and she was received enthusiastically, even when her cymbal playing lagged behind the beat.

Enthusiasm aside, the true jewels of the evening were Sirocco's Sulyman el Coyote (on oud and the oboe-like zurna) and percussionist Armando Mafufo, whose pudgy hands and sensitive heart produced bell-like tones that skittered across the drum skin and conversed intelligently with the melodic line.

Also on the program were a strong performance by Delilah's daughter Laura Rose, who sported magenta pigtails and a red costume, and several ensemble numbers by the local Silk Road Company.

-- Pamela Squires


Hi Delilah:
I just had to take a minute to send a note and say the show was completely
awesome last night at the Lafayette Grill in NYC.
I left right after your performance(early work this morning) and I told my
husband when we got in the car that my cheeks were actually hurting from
smiling so much.
You were completely captivating and have a very strong presence and just
looked like you were having so much fun.
My husband said he loved the snake crawl you did across the floor the
most-this is funny......................he had gone to check on the car(bad
parking space) and when he came back you had already started performing so
he couldn't walk across the floor to our table-he had to watch the rest of
you r show by the bar. So when I asked him if he saw you dance-he said oh yeah,
the snake crawl was my favorite-I said but you weren't close enough to hear her, she was doing
the" ssssssss" sound like a snake, he said that is okay, I heard her daughter
doing it at the bar. So you and Laura Rose must having been doing the
"sssssssssssssss" in synch which I thought was a real crack up.
It was absolute inspiration.
Just had to pass that on.
Hope to see you in Maui in April.


Hello Caravan Crew-

I just wanted to say how much I appreciated having the opportunity to both
see Delilah and Laura Rose dance AND take a workshop with Delilah
I gotta tell you - my legs are KILLING ME! I really hope I'm even halfway
as in shape as Delilah is when I'm 49. Heck, I'd be glad to be half as in
shape as she is now, and I'm 25! I have two of Delilah's workshops on
tape and I was really encouraged by the workshop yesterday to go back and start
working on them every day again.

I also wanted to offer a word of encouragement to Laura Rose -- in seeing
you dance on Saturday, I could totally tell that the potential is there
for you to be a great dancer. You have wonderful stage presence -- that sort
of charisma is something that you are either born with or without -- and your
creativity (cartwheels!) is admirable. I hope you continue to pursue dance
and someday come out here to DC to do a tour of your own. :-)

Best of luck with the rest of the tour!

~~ Lucy Bowman



Laura Rose and Sirroco gave THE HOTTEST performance of Rakkasah. Totally
in the moment, real, live and smoking hot!




Dear Delilah and Sirocco,
You guys were a knockout last night.  So glad Isabelle came with me, she
was mesmerized watching Sirocco play (she's plays guitar) and amazed at the
communication you three share -- from the heart -- it's palpable. 

Delilah, your
dancing moves me so deeply....still resonating  Thank you all for sharing
gifts.  I'm so glad we had the opportunity to experience it all LIVE! 

Isabelle and I had a talk about how this kind of in-the-moment art is
seen, heard, felt, experienced and then into the ether it goes; and about how
important it is to go see and support artists like you.  Thank Goodness
for those DVDs and CDs.  Tonight I played "PeromPomPom" from "Sirocco Vol.II" for
my son, Harry, who's 7, and told him about hearing the song played live last
night.  He got right up and danced and asked how Sulyman makes his voice so crazy!

Laura Rose, you are an inspiration.  It was beautiful to see the
influence of your Mom in your dance and to see how you took those influences and used
them to express your personality.  Your were phenomenal.  My husband
particularly enjoyed your cartwheels on Saturday night!

Here's how great you guys are:  Stephen has accompanied me to many a
belly dance performance.  As the show finished up on Saturday night and you
guys left the stage, he turned to me and said for the first time, "Is that it? 
It's over?  I want more!"  Then he went up and asked Armando about learning to
drum.  You guys have some kinda power!

See you in Maui!
Jennifer Dove


Dear Delilah (and Ramona)

I wanted to send you a quick not to let you (both) know what I felt when I got home from the Caravan Tour workshop in Atlanta.
I'm new to bellydance, only having taken classes for a year or so. I came from a very unsatisfying ballet background, and when I found bellydance, it allowed my spirit (which had sunk so low during the ballet years) to soar.

But lately the big topic of discussion in class and on the internet has been about authenticity and dancing real bellydance (whatever that it). I had sort of reached the point where I was becoming less enamored of dancing, because I was told time and time again that I would have to dance a certain way, in a certain style, and like certain dancers -- and that just wasn't me, or what I wanted to get out of the dance. So I wasn't really expecting to get much emotional fulfillment out of this workshop, but something told me it would be worth the money (and the 8-hour drive) to go.

I can't adequately express how glad I am that I attended this workshop, because I think it has changed the way I view not just dancing but music as well. Thanks to Delilah, I really feel like I am going to be able to personalize my dance and make it an expression of ME -- not Nadia Gamal or Nagwa Fouad or any other dancer. Iím not those women, and I will never dance like them because I am ME. I wasnít really able to understand or accept that before this workshop, and I think this realization alone was worth the price of admission.

Delilah, I'm sure you get email all the time telling you how you've changed people's lives, so just add this one to the list. Iím really grateful to you for sharing your passion for this dance with me, and helping me to find myself as a dancer. I was almost ready to quit classes before I met you, and I absolutely NEVER would have gotten up in front of my class to dance by myself, let alone with a live musician! But I did it, I loved it, and now I can see myself doing more of it -- a lot more of it. (My teacher is not going to recognize me when she sees me next! Iíll be out in the middle, dancing with everyone else instead of hiding in the corner.) Thank you for reminding me that authenticity is individually defined, and I don't have to dance to please anyone but myself. Your words meant a great deal to me, and they will not be forgotten.

Thank you again, Delilah, and thank you Ramona, for bringing this amazing person into my life.

Warmest regards,
Amanda Niehaus
Evansville, IN

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