D's Blog

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.

marlizaveil1

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.

Blessed be.

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

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=BPZR22AXRKHBC


rossah1@hotmail.com

About Marliza

http://www.gildedserpent.com/articles12/marlizapons.htm

http://rossah.com/writings/archives/6

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.

January 13, 2011   ♦   Comments Off on Hypatia / AGORA/ A Movie Review

NOTE:  I submitted this piece to the Gilded Serpent online magazine but it’s been a while and they haven’t put it up. Thus I thought I would post it on my blog while it’s still current. If the G.S. puts it up, I’ll take this entry off my blog. The movie is now on DVD.

Movie Review: AGORA

On my way to my Hawaii retreat last January, I read  a magazine article that a new movie was coming

Hypatia is apprehended and brutally murdered

Hypatia is apprehended and brutally murdered

out about “Hypatia”. How exciting; I couldn’t wait! I love movies that take me back to ancient times and especially Ancient Egypt. This was perfect timing for inspiration because this coming spring, I am leading a tour to Egypt and the city of Alexandria is one of our prime destinations. This is where the historic tale takes place.

I suppose my entire inspiration for belly dance as a teenager was motivated by those old biblical-era movies like “Cleopatra”, “The Egyptian”, “Samson and Delilah”, and “The Robe”. . . The costumes and atmosphere completely captivated my imagination. There hasn’t been a good one in a long time, save for the HBO TV series “Rome” that was totally amazing (more on that another time).

So I was keeping an eye half peeled all year for the movie.  I occasionally asked people about if they had seen a movie called Hypatia, and they just shirked and said they hadn’t even heard of her.

Anyone interested in woman’s studies would, I hope, know Hypatia.

Hypatia (370-415 AD) was a famous Greek Philosopher, Astronomer and Mathematician from Alexandria, Egypt, who was famous for her eloquence and education. She was a teacher and advisor to many important pagans, Romans, Christians and Jews alike. The story that always follows her name throughout history is how she was brutally murderers by a rabid mob of Christians incited by Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria. In fiendish detail she was seized while riding in her chariot, stripped naked and then skinned alive by scraping the flesh from her bones with oyster shells and set afire. Yikes! What did she do? She was said to create religious turmoil by scientific reasoning. (Oh my Goddess, this could have been me!)

I came to find out the movie wasn’t called “Hypatia” but was in fact named “Agora”. Why they choose that name is unfortunate; I think more people would have seen the movie upon its release had it been called “Hypatia”. But it’s not too late! Check it out on Netflix. And it’s not the full story. Although the movie did very well in other countries, because of what was perceived as anti-Catholic overtones, it didn’t get an American distributor until just recently.

“Agora” is the Greek word meaning the center of the city where people meet. This movie is full of where things are meeting: science, religions, astronomy, and human history, tragedy and loss.

The movie takes place in around 370-415 AD. – many years after Jesus – during the rise of Christianity which causes complex tensions. From the accounts of people from many lands, Alexandria at this time in history had a reputation for public volatility. The people would apparently fly off the handle as the slightest thing and tear up the city (making any of us a bit agoraphobic). The city was originally founded by Alexander the Great and established as a place of great learning. The Alexandria Library was burned before this time. The library they are depicting in the movie is the “daughter library” in the temple of Serapis.

The  film stars Rachel Weisz as Hypatia. The movie was made by a Spanish film company with English speaking actors, and was directed by Alijandro Amenabar (born in Chile). The movie was made without CGI. All the sets were hand-built and installed in Malta, much like the making of HBO’s  “Rome”. Its budget was a mere 50 million dollars which in movie terms is a shoe string. Each scene is like stepping into an Orientalist painting. The lighting is especially heavenly. Everyone was committed to the project; they did a great job.

At the start, I was a bit repelled by the film because it’s kind of noisy, and I have to be in the mood for noise. However, I have watched it at least 5 times now. I understand the reason for my visceral response. Agora is very textural. It’s the noise of chaos during this time in history as viewed from the quiet cosmos. The population looks like ants crawling on the bones of the city. It takes us to the silence of space and the grandeur of our planet that is home to the passing clouds of history activity.

I love that the film takes us back and forth from aerial views of the Arabian Peninsula and drops us down into the time and place of Alexandria, Egypt 391 AD.  That beacon of light brought people from all lands to a city that was a pivotal point of historic change. The clash was between the fading past glory of intellectual thought which Alexandria represented, and the coming of the new faith allegiance to the One God. It was the end of a time and place where women like Hypatia and Cleopatra could write books and be philosophers, mathematicians, and scholars, and was the beginning of the long onslaught of human history where women would occupy a very subordinate role for centuries to come.

Other reviewers seem to like the movie but argue some historic points, which I think are pretty minimal (from what I read after seeing the movie). It is a movie after all. It is about a time none of us were around for but have stereotypic ideas blazoned into our minds without much question. Dare we question? This questioning is what Hypatia symbolizes in the movie over-all. The director chose to reverse some of these stereotypes and portray Christians as fanatics and more human and fallible than divine. The Jews stone the Christians…

I was surprised once more that this would be a film about science. Science moves me the same way as belly dance does. This was Hypatia’s unquenchable passion to know the answers which she chose to explore beyond love and family. I liked that she represents more options for women. I kind of wished I had gone into science as a career. Hypatia may still inspire me. One day I want to write a book called The Cosmology of Belly Dance because I see mirrored in our dance so much science and physics by the mere use of things like vibration, rotation and wave patterns (again more later).

When I saw the DVD extras about the making of this movie I was again deeply moved. It was created by a team of talented visionaries that all fell in love with Hypatia. I love what this director chos to do with the script. Rachel Weisz plays her well. When it comes to herstoric record, Hypatia deserves more meat on her bones. This movie is her tribute.

Now if they would just make a movie about the novel, ” THE RED TENT” !

TIMELINE BITS:

323 BC: Death of Alexander the Great and the beginning of the Hellenistic Age. During his lifetime he establishes the city of Alexandria as one of many towns he set up to establish Greek Culture.

320 BC: Sarapis is a syncretic Hellenistic -Egyptian God in Antiquity. Even though Sapapis is older this God comes into prominence after the death of Alexander the Great 320 BC. It is introduced to Alexandria as a patron deity to unite Egyptian and Greek populations. He combines attributes of both cultures’ past deities. On his head he has a grain measure, in his hand a staff. He is said to be Osiris in full but he looks like a Greek Zeus and Hades. Symbols are the Apis bull, serpent, and crescent moon.

280 BC: The famed Alexandrian light house is built.

260 BC” There were reported to be 500,000 scrolls in the library at Alexandria. The catalog is 120 scrolls. There are reports of what the library contained: cosmology, mathematics, physics, natural science, philosophy and more. It is said to house the original worksof AeschylusSophocles and Euripides.

69 BC: Cleopatra VII is born in Alexandria.

48 BC: Julius Caesar meets 21 year old Cleopatra and is said to have accidently burned the Great Library of Alexandria down when he set fire to ships in the harbor. Caesar gives Cleopatra 200,000 scrolls plundered from the library at Pargamum as a gift and put in the  “daughter library” which is the Serapheum; the temple of Serapis.

30 BC: Cleopatra dies 30 years before the birth of Jesus .

370-415 AD: The lifetime of Hypatia; philosopher, mathematician, astronomer.

390 AD: Christianity is made the official religion of Rome.

391 AD: The Serapheum is destroyed by a crowd of Christians or Roman Soldiers that were converting to Christianity.

415 AD Hypatia is murdered and becomes a martyr.

610 AD The Prophet Muhammad has his divine revelations and Islam is born.

www.visonarydance.com

www.delilas-belly-dance-retreat.com

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 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!

October 26, 2010   ♦   4 Comments »

NOTES ABOUT THE VEIL DANCE

Elisa Gamal

Elisa Gamal

Elisa Gamal is a master performer.

She is currently a guest instructor for the next 8 weeks.

This is an important class to take!!!

It’s not too late to join us.

Tuesdays at 7:45-9:00

Started Oct 27. . .

(There is still room. It’s a small class.)

• It’s open to all levels of belly dance experience because it’s not like the rest of belly dance. Some belly dancers have not had a veil class, ever.

Reasons to take a veil dance course:

• IF any of you are interested in performing? You should take this class.  (Since it’s an 8 week class, you can divide this class into 2 payments if you want. Please make sure we know we want to attend even if you have to miss a couple.)

• This is a skill and an adventure into powerful archetypal creative process as I will discus below. . .

• If you want to take an entertaining class, take this class.

Elisa is very fun!

Please help us with the success of this class:

IF you have friends interested in performing, do them a favor. They may not know about this class opportunity. (who can read all the email these days).

Please e mail them personally, send my little talk below as well as the and link this class so they can read the details and tell them it comes highly recommended!

http://visionarydance.com/seattle-studio/class-info/elisa-veil/

NOTE: While our student out reach is mostly belly dancers, I feel all serious burlesque dancers should take a professionally delivered belly dance veil class. There are great skills here for you to use that many belly dancers are experts in. Please tell any burlesque dancers you may know.

Delilah

Delilah

 

Level of difficulty:

I  have had low attendance in my specialty “Veil Dance” classes and workshops. In fact I have been noticing over the past couple years that the importance of “Veil Dance” seems to be being avoided by students in relationship to other class offerings for some reason! What’s the deal? I ponder, why are belly dancers avoiding this course ? It is a great stretching exercise and has great aerobic benefits in a different way than Power Belly classes. It’s more like flying!

• Is it because it demands your arms get over your head?

If this is hard for you, maybe you need this class more than you will admit. A little bit of physical challenge is a good thing. To get aerobic benefit you have to get your arms over your heart. I know this can be hard at first, but if you try a little bit harder you will see more physical development. I know you can do it.

• Is it the spinning that detours you?

The secret is to do a few spins every day. Learning to spin grows better balance and core strength. Eat ginger to quell and queasiness (we always have it in the dressing room). Keep your glance at eye level, don’t blink nervously and relax your mind. Too much left brain thinking gets in the way of balance. Good spins are the mark of a good dancer.


Delilah Spins

Delilah Spins

If you have an inner ear problem can you still hope to dance well?

Yes, but you will have a small disadvantage of not being able to use the centrifugal force and momentum of a spin. You can approach it a little differently. You will have to work harder. Developing good body extension is key and learn to do half turns that are not really spins. One of our instructors has this problem.

.

***

VEIL ESOTERICA:

This is a very mature talk. The veil’s esoterica is about female empowerment.

The veil dance is a part of the traditional belly dance routine as we’ve known it in America for the past 50 years and more. It’s an American innovation. It takes freedom and standing in ones own power to explore it and perform it effectively.

It is related to vaudeville and burlesque. How so? Both delve into the powerful esoteric’s of the art of revealing. It is a powerful mystery (even though it’s usually not discussed or taught this way very often). Non the less, if something catches our attention there is always something powerful behind it. Burlesque is very popular in todays culture there is no denying. Many women are deeply drawn to exploring it like moths to a flame although many would be hard pressed to explain why. “If they could explain it they wouldn’t need to dance”  said Isadora Duncan.

Veil dance was always a healthy part of the belly dance curriculum I studied and have passed on. The avoidance of veil dance I’m sensing in some of todays belly dance students is partly related to the fear of over exposure I’m guessing. Belly dance culture is made many more average women seeking simple means of self expression than extreme exhibitionists. Across the board women have plenty to feel vulnerable about these days; economy, politics, technology racing forward, and terrorism.  However, if you are find these these pressures of the day intimidation, I encourage you to resist standing still! Find the strength and courage to explore this powerful medium. Thus I want to explain more deeply about the power behind the veil dance.

It is related to vaudeville and burlesque. How so? The esoterics behind the art of revealing is to delve into a powerful mystery (even though it’s usually not told or taught this way). Non the less, if something strongly catches our attention there is always something powerful behind it. Burlesque is very popular in todays culture. Many women are deeply drawn to exploring burlesque.

The fear of veil dance I’m sensing in relationship to belly dance students is directly related to the fear of exposure. We have plenty to feel vulnerable about these days.  However, Ladies I encourage you not be a timid! You will find strength and power from being in expert control of this powerful medium.

***

THE POWER BEHIND THE VEIL

 

 

 

 

Delilah by Chris Yetter

Delilah by Chris Yetter


As this art has developed in recent times, it’s become a high skill.  The act of veil dance is more than simply “dance”. The skills demanded are thoroughly dance ingredients; grace, balance, spins, extension, aerobic stamina, lots of arm passes and core work.

ADD deep personal soul access. It takes individual power from within to deliver a dramatic performance.

You utilize character, and the archetypal symbolic action of veiling and re-veiling and revealing. You learn to fortify and stand in your power. Mistress at the helm.

A MAJOR DIFFERENCE IN PERSPECTIVE

In the Middle East women live under a veil. Their culture says; women are too powerful, and men too weak to behave once that power is revealed. This belief gives them permission to separate men and women. A lame excuse in my book and  clearly a disempowering power play.  I think plenty of cultures prove that men can behave themselves.

So this cultural back story brings us to a major crossroads where Middle Eastern and American belly dancers differer in style. The evolution of belly dance in America developed veil dance techniques to a supreme degree.

All  arts are made of responses to the cultural environment they exist in. Thus belly dancers in the Middle East have not taken to do much veil dancing  like their American sisters do. We are the for runners of dancing with the veil. We received our inspirations from other sources; modern dancer’s like Loie Fuller (1890’s. . .) or ancient greece, or dramatic general stage craft. In the Mid East I think the relationship is psychologically taboo territory because they have a different relationship with the veil than we do. They do include a veil as a accessory with store bought Egyptian costumes but they sew bead on all the edges making it heavy and not designed with any aerodynamic  intention. It is just meant to cover up the dancer’s body while she is waiting to perform.

THE VEILS SIMPLE NATURE

I’m sure the first time the light weight fabric came off the loom it was dances with. How could anyone resist? Give a child a veil and they get it immediately. It’s light and liberating. It involved the air that we breathe for existence. Thoughts and spirits ride the wind. It’s medium is transcendent in nature.


THE VEIL AS A POWERFUL SYMBOL:

We veil things to keep the POWER contained; ritual objects get veiled,  we veil and close doors for privacy, the bread gets veiled so it will rise. Women wear a veil to morn the dead and for seclusion.

In the case of the art of belly dance what gets veiled and revealed is a deeper YOU.

As we unveil, the action or process causes us to deliver a power and essence that moments ago in the dance were covered up.

You meet your audience in intimate dance mode and with a deeper personal expression. Then, what they see is this spirited essence that unfurls and lifts into the air space and the ethers around them.

 

 

 

Maji by Freeman Mester

Maji by Freeman Mester

THE BODY IS REVEALED:

You are using your innate female life regenerating power of the Goddess. Your female body is a vessel for life, it represents the earth, our world.

Reveal

Reveal

MALE / FEMALE ENERGY: .

We are all made of both male and female attributes. The feminine side attracts, contains, incubates, draws in. The male side expands, pushes out, challenges.

By nature of being woman we do possess the universal power of attraction within us. Without it, the universe would fall apart. However, we have a bastardized sense of what this power really is in todays society. We are taught it’s comes in a small pink package called  “pretty”. Ha! Pretty does not sustain life.

So the power behind the veil must be more mature. More powerful! It is far from superficial idea of pretty. The power is in it’s containment and it’s revelation. In it’s knowingness. Trouble is we do not know it very well in today’s world.

If you/ me/ we, want the power of the feminine to have meaning then more of us need to go there and both meet and explore this power head on! I suppose this challenges you to accept your own body. Duh! How else can we fight the stereotyping? We have to accept our own bodies first. Your body is a gift! You never loose this power. However you can ignore it, loose sight of it or simply not believe in it.

The power of the veil is not in the physical noun. The power is within the action of covering and revealing.

Many women today are afraid to use their power. Afraid they don’t know what it is, don’t have any power,  or it’s not good enough. I beg to differ. It’s only that  we are all busy subscribing to the commercial propaganda and adding to the collective fear. The power of attraction is a female quality, yes but it is a universal constant, not a commodity.

Confusion with the issues is good enough to lose strength. Thus we have no control. I tell you it is not about “pretty”.

Control of the veil is an exercise in demonstrates this power from within! The mystery is revealed. When we are lead to believe that it’s all about “pretty”; we as women are dissempowered by our culture this way. This is a daily message pumped out in media so we will stay occupied with superficial issues and keep buying things. We remain busy chasing the wrong goal and are disempowered.

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

Exploring your self though movement and self expression in real time is a valuable effort . It’s vital life force you are accessing and utilizing.


WHAT MORE IS REVEALED?

What lays behind the veil could be an impassioned lover, a nurturing mother,  a playful child, a wise crone, a hungry cat, a delicate butterfly, an owl, a sprite. It could be an archetypal embodiment; Athena, Aphrodite, Isis, Kali the Medusa, Themis Mother of justice, the vagina dentata, or the gaping maw. It could be the raw power of seduction reminding us that it is essential to the workings of nature, not evil.

The personal expression could come in all flavors of emotional tones; tenderness, vulnerability, sadness or loss. It could be mischievous, dark, light, comforting, passionate, angry, lyrical, or chaotic- you get to creatively choose your muse.

Delilah at he High Dive

Delilah at he High Dive

PRACTICAL USE:

The veil is usually 3 yards of silk or chiffon. It is learned to be smartly wrapped around the body of a dancer and then masterfully controlled as adeptly as a magician, who  mesmerizes the audience. It graces the air with color and shape shifting designs that are as fleeting as the smoke of incense.

The fabric is made of threads that pick up the vibration from the dancers emotional center. The dynamics comes from her core and reverberates outward from our hearts center into the threads. The veil becomes our wings; it is the closest you will come to flying.

FEEL THE POWER.

The moon hides and then re-veils it’s self. A butter fly erupts into a glorious creature. The anticipation of the opening of a beautifully wrapped gift.

Lulu's Birthday veil dance

Lulu's Birthday veil dance

September 28, 2010   ♦   Comments Off on Belly Dance Baby Shower

NTP LOGO

NTP LOGO

Today the NTP  hosted a baby shower at Visionary Dance Studio. (The NTP is short for your friendly Neighborhood Temple Priestess)

We have developed a line of specialty dances for different occasions. Which ones we do depends on who in our group is available. The other members set up and serve different aspects of the event. This is just one of the things  we mean when we talk about  belly dance as community service. Our intention is not just to entertain, but to facilitate in making moments in peoples lives deeply meaningful.

Our expectant Mother today was Veronika. This was the second shower we have hosted for her. Her first son is almost two years old and, surprise! Here comes baby number two. The first shower we hosted for her meant so much to her that she wanted another us to help celebrate this baby too. Of course! However this shower was very different.

Daddy, baby and friends with their kids were present and Veronika danced for us first! VERONIKA’S DANCE: She danced to 3 songs and changed costumes in between! fantastic! She was so relaxed and expressive! Every dance was sharing a different stage of the story of her family. It was so special. There were 6 NTP present and we stood in the back dressed in our soft white belly dance bedlah and teared up. No, actually we sobbed and huddled together arm and arm. We were so moved! I wish all women could have seen this today.

Then three of the NTP took turns like three good fairies gifting Veronika with short dances. Kalaura did an ARTEMIS BLESSING DANCE with bear ears (Artemis is the Goddess of Easy Delivery) Roxy did a very sweet and joyous SISTER DANCE that Veronika had requested. I (Delilah ) did a ROSE DANCE with a rose print veil and essential rose oil . Then it was time for everyone to dance with the children. Fun ! We shared food and did a body painting with the children on Veronika’s belly.

So beautiful. I just love doing these events. It gives life meaning to us as well as the guests.

*** More about Belly Dance and Pregnancy

We have pregnant women in our belly dance classes all the time. It enriches everyones belly dance class experience to dance with pregnant women next to them. We have tried to have BELLY DANCE especially aimed for PREGNANT women. But it’s impossible to get a gang of them together at the same night it seems. Plus they go through phases of varying energy. I have a beautiful class plan where each Mother would create her very own birth dance in her last trimester for her family friends and fellow dancers. I supposed if we advertised with a Women’s medicine clinic near by we would have more success, but I’ve never been sure how to do that. We would need the support of a birth care providers endorsement to help point pregnant women in our direction. So far non have stepped forward even though they think it’s cool they probably feel it’s not a professional mix and worry about liability issues. So what we do instead is just incorporate them into our regular class and give extra guidance.

Any of our students that participate in classes while they are pregnant get to have us gift them with a special baby shower by the NTP if they like. We do baby showers for women who are not belly dancers as well. Our service are sliding $150-$200 (in our studio) and these fees go towards supporting our beautiful dance space. When we charge a fee I or another at least one professional dancer is guaranteed to be present as a performer and then the different levels of NTP dancers donate their time and learning how to facilitate events and fill in with side line dances. Each shower is custom designed to the wishes of each honored Mother.

Veronika has been doing Power Belly in our studio for 4 years or so along with other kinds of exercise during the week. She is very accustomed to doing Power Belly so it was not a new exercise regime and she is very conscious of her bodies needs and limits. Every women is different. However the participation in a belly dance class during this time in a woman’s life can be very empowering. Of course they abbreviate the dance to fit comfort and ease. That’s what is so cool about belly dance is it can be folded into individual capabilities. If some one has never belly danced before and they just became pregnant we are not going to suggest they do alot of strenuous endurance training but the softer approach of belly dance will bring a women’s awareness into her body so she becomes more aware of her bodies changes and can truly be present with this special time in her life. We encourage the story line in dance like veronika demonstrated today. This makes it a rite of passage and a vivification of life experience and our connections we share to each other. Dance is story. My  “Dance to the Great Mother” performance I did in my last trimester with my second daughter is available on DVD in our studio shop and online.  I choose to use an Ancient Egyptian Theme and personify ISIS the GREAT MOTHER. As a professional dancer I was able to perform my birth dance publicly on many theatrical stages during my entire pregnancy and it was an incredibly powerful position to occupy in my life and in our culture. Every women should feel the presence of the goddess within her at this special time in her life..

Alex is another of my students who just did a birth dance while in labor and put it on You Tube the other day. Makes me so proud that this is happening in our world today.

Alex’s LABOR OF LOVE


Mirayah Delamar  DIVINE MOTHER 1992

mirayah DelamarPG_4

More articles


http://visionarydance.com/delilah/inspiration/

Morocco’s Story

http://www.orientaldancer.net/articles/roots_of_oriental_dance.shtml

August 12, 2010   ♦   Comments Off on Lorraine Lafata; Healing Belly Dance
About Lorraine and belly dance.
Lorraine was one of the founders of the “Goddess Dancing” in Boston.
It was from a short period of time when the word “Goddess” wasn’t a dirty word.
It is a dance co operative still to this day in Boston. They are very dedicated to teaching and inspiring women to belly dance from a place of health and happiness and personal growth.
All ladies after my own heart.
Lorraine is a therapist, social worker, feminist, belly dancer and mother. She worked in women’s prisons teaching women to access forgotten parts of themselves through this wordless dance. Profound experiences. She is dedicated to healing women’s wounded self esteem. She helps them find and express their inner stories.
Neither her nor I worship Goddesses in our workshops, as the unacquainted often pass on as gossip. We use archetypes to access parts of our psyche. Our psyche is where the craft or creative dance comes from. dance is not just cookie cutter body shaping thrown into space on a dance floor. Archetypes are matrixes. Things that get repeated over and over again so they are universally known in symbolic representation. Imbued with meaning. They can be found in myths, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, God and  Goddess, hero and villain representations, astrology, tarot cards, and modern narratives of books, movies, and yes our dance. With out meaning or dance is only flesh flipping vulgarly into the air.
HERstory
I met her on the phone first.
We hit it off and would talk for hours about non typical belly dance teachings. In 1994 she came to one of my Hawaii Retreats and we met in person. In 1995 she came with me on my Costa Rican Caravan exploring dancing in nature. We were a small band of poets, drummers and dancers on a enchanting journey all over Costa Rica with a naturalist guide. She came with her husband and explained they were on their reverse honeymoon. They were celebrating their marriage that they were in agreement would dissolve. It was an interesting event to share with her and the group energy in Costa Rica.
When we returned we decided we needed to work together and Lorraine Kajira Djoumahna (Tribal Fest Producer) and my self put on 2 California workshops in 96, 97. They were called” Inanna, Solome and the 7 Part Cabaret Belly Dance Routine” A big mouthful. We worked with archetypal journey through our belly dance. These retreats were very amazing processes of discovering greater meaning behind our dance. We had Sirocco as our guest musicians the first year and the second we had John Bilejikian and his drummer.
Lorraine has a busy counciling practice in Boston and a small dance studio with dedicated students where she develops her work. I brought Lorraine to Seattle to do a lecture, all day workshop and 3 hour Workshop called “Healing our Sexuality in 98”. It was popularly attended and the group of 45 ladies applauded, and yelled! Imploring me to promise to bring her back to Seattle!!
Then in 2002 I hosted Lorraine as my guest Hawaii Retreat Instructor in Maui. The course was called “Embracing Aphrodite” and it was one of the largest most powerful retreats I have ever attended. It was the January right after 9/11/01. It was booked up before that horrible event that has changed all our lives for ever but it was a point of transition for everyone that made this retreat very very important. We looked at power, strength, fear and true beauty. There is a good documentary of it, on my Live and  Wild DVD as an extra feature (Sale right now).
After 9/11 things started changing alot for belly dance. The Belly Dance Super stars got popular and started touring around the world. Tribal belly dance broke away from the festivals and formed it’s own independent events. I opened my studio in 04 and belly dance was peeking in it’s popularity and yet splintering in many directions. Middle Eastern music wasn’t necessary to the dance any more, costume and work out attire changed big time. All of a sudden I felt the stabbing attacks of women against the Goddess. Hmmm? It Wa Ok in the 90’s but now it’s called “woo woo”. Dancers confuse worship with Jungian Psychology and creative association. Sad because if you don’t envision something powerful inside (and Goddess imagery is hot and powerful image in my mind) then what is inside?Tough girl? Naughty girl? Ballet girl? Pirate girl? A man explained to me the image is often “Aloof Girl. The message was you can dare to look at me dance but then you better f*?K off and die.
Or are dancers dancing as empty vessels? Hmmm? Andrea Deagon just wrote an interesting article on gilded serpent that has me thinking. She says we are like swiss coo coo clocks. LOL!
In the past few years ballet entered the picture very distinctly, demand for choreography or belly dance as “just exercise”  seems to be what women want. Exercise is important and I sure think belly dance makes your weekly exercise requirements fun and easy but to me it’s more. I notice that studying real ethnic dance forms is down in popular interest and no one wants to invest in costumes at the moment. Alot of confusion dressed up as fusion if you ask me. I never wanted to see the day ballet became part of belly dance. If it was a big part of belly dance when I began dancing I wouldn’t be a belly dancer today. Ballet teaches many more people to sit and watch than to dance and actually participate. When competition is high it’s a good way to force people out of the pool. Just like blaming other dancers as being Goddess Worshippers. The fear and insecurity contributes to our ignorance and we stop our selves from growing.
For the past few year Christine Hamby has been going and doing an internship program with Lorraine. She has also been sponsoring  her out here in Seattle the past 3 Augusts.
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
Lorraine Lafata will be teaching an all day unique experiential workshop.
BELLY DANCE AS HEALING DANCE; WORKING WITH TRAUMA
Saturday AUGUST 14th
VDP STUDIO
4128 Fremont Ave n
Sea wa 98103
http://visionarydance.com/seattle-studio/class-info/lafata/
Call to reserve please.
Delilah 206-632-2353

Lorraine LafataAbout Lorraine and belly dancing.

Lorraine was one of the founders of the “Goddess Dancing” in Boston.

It was formed during  a short period of time when the word “Goddess” wasn’t a dirty word around the belly dance world.

It is a dance co operative still to this day in Boston. They are very dedicated to teaching and inspiring women to belly dance from a place of health and happiness and personal growth. Instead of calling it belly dance they call it Goddess Dance. I think partly they didn’t feel comfortable taking the dance that was recognized as coming from a Middle Eastern origin and blossoming it out in new enpowering directions with their explorations. It’s simple to see the  ME culture wouldn’t recognize these progressions for various reasons. It’s very much American.

These are all ladies after my own heart.

Lorraine is a therapist, social worker, feminist, belly dancer and mother. She worked in women’s prisons teaching women to access forgotten parts of themselves through this wordless dance. Profound experiences. She is dedicated to healing women’s wounded self esteem. She helps them find and express their inner stories. Often we call this fantasy but just where do our fantasys come from? What are they can we work with them and find something very meaningful?

Neither she nor I worship Goddesses in our workshops, as the unacquainted often pass on as un experienced lip serve. We use archetypes to access parts of our psyche. Develop our sense of character. Our psyche is where the craft or creative dance comes from. Dance is not just cookie cutter body shaping thrown into space on a dance floor. Archetypes are matrixes. Things that get repeated over and over again so they are universally known in symbolic representation. Imbued with meaning.   They can be found in myths, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, God and  Goddess, hero and villain representations, astrology, tarot cards, and modern narratives of books, movies, and yes our dance. With out meaning or dance is only flesh flipping vulgarly into the air.

Our bodies are full of symbols.

Lorraine Lafata  will be teaching an all day workshop

Belly Dance as Healing Dance; Working with Trauma

Saturday August 14th

HERstory

I met her on the phone first.

We hit it off and would talk for hours about non typical belly dance teachings. In 1994 she came to one of my Hawaii Retreats and we met in person. In 1995 she came with me on my Costa Rican Caravan exploring dancing in nature. We were a small band of poets, drummers and dancers on a enchanting journey all over Costa Rica with a naturalist guide. She came with her husband and explained they were on their reverse honeymoon. They were celebrating their marriage that they were in agreement would dissolve. It was an interesting event to share with her and the group energy in Costa Rica.

When we returned we decided we needed to work together and Lorraine Kajira Djoumahna (Tribal Fest Producer) and my self put on 2 California workshops in 96, 97. They were called” Inanna, Solome and the 7 Part Cabaret Belly Dance Routine” A big mouthful. We worked with archetypal journey through our belly dance. These retreats were very amazing processes of discovering greater meaning behind our dance. We had Sirocco as our guest musicians the first year and the second we had John Bilejikian and his drummer.

Lorraine has a busy counciling practice in Boston and a small dance studio with dedicated students where she develops her work. I brought Lorraine to Seattle to do a lecture, all day workshop and 3 hour Workshop called “Healing our Sexuality in 98”. It was popularly attended and the group of 45 ladies applauded, and yelled! Imploring me to promise to bring her back to Seattle!!

Then in 2002 I hosted Lorraine as my guest Hawaii Retreat Instructor in Maui. The course was called “Embracing Aphrodite” and it was one of the largest most powerful retreats I have ever attended. It was the January right after 9/11/01. It was booked up before that horrible event that has changed all our lives for ever but it was a point of transition for everyone that made this retreat very very important. We looked at power, strength, fear and true beauty. There is a good documentary of it, on my Live and  Wild DVD as an extra feature (Sale right now).

Introduced to Lorraine through the Seattle workshops, Christine Hamby was inspired to do an internship program with Lorraine on the East Coast. She has also been sponsoring  her out here in Seattle the past 3 Augusts.

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

Lorraine Lafata will be teaching an all day unique experiential workshop.

BELLY DANCE AS HEALING DANCE; WORKING WITH TRAUMA

Saturday AUGUST 14th

VDP STUDIO

4128 Fremont Ave n

Sea wa 98103

http://visionarydance.com/seattle-studio/class-info/lafata/

Call to reserve please.

Delilah 206-632-2353

Belly Dance into the Sea

Belly Dance into the Sea

Integrity and value

I try very hard my entire career. I am very dedicated to this dance, this art and the women who pursue it. I suppose I am driven by some sort of urge to make a difference and improve our station in life as dancers, as women, as artists . . . . I think we do this by becoming more whole. In belly dance we reclaim all the physical parts of our selves and learn to express our selves though them. I find this magically transformative. I see this dance as offering us more than a folk art or a stage performance. It’s much more meaningful than a borrowed ethnic cultural experience to it’s participants.

It occasionally comes back to me that other dancers I professionally respect and admire make fun and talk down about my Hawaii Retreats to their students and colleagues. The point they choose to poke fun of is our dancing into the sea at sun rise . It’s an event I hosted as an annual ritual belly dance event on Maui for 10 years. LOL . . . even though it kind of hurts a bit to hear dancers dissing on me. If they have been to my retreats, well so be it. But the comments that are made are by dancers who know nothing about my retreats. Simply because they have not been. It’s sad that they choose something so beautiful to stick a wedge to prop them selves up to feel a bit superior.  The only reason has to be jealousy and insecurity.  I hope the novice students they are bending the ear of can see this clearly for what it is.

(Do me a favor and if you do hear a comment from someone like that send them to this blog post.)

If we do any belly dancing in to the sea these days it is rare simply because the Big Island where I do my retreats (these days) doesn’t have a dependable, safe beach for this particular dance where our retreat facility is situated. There is a nice beach across the street but the surf is harder and the black sand more gritty. Dancers have to be very strong and water savvy. We have to drive for hours to do it on white fine sand. If I teach a belly dancing in nature class it’s not for the entire retreat either. It gives such a nice contrast to the studio classes. Hawaii is perfect for this. The class helps people become more aware in their dance as well as their daily life. I have worked hard to plan retreats that delve into many styles and subjects of belly dance. I have hosted so many quality teachers that have made successful achievements in their careers. I have gone past the call of the average event host to sponsor live music again and again. It is also very important to me to walk the talk. “Belly Dance IS for everyone”. Not just the cool people as one person said to me. No just the young, trim, unusually talented and beautiful people but all of us! Our retreats are about furthering our understanding of what true beauty is opposed to our capitalistic commercialized idea we are all fed. This is what gives our retreats the healing women’s self esteem reputation.

If it make you laugh to think we dance into the sea in the early morning at sun rise. My goodness then you aren’t living fully if it makes you nervous, because it’s really a beautiful experience.  It’s not with out a high purpose as well. It teaches you many lessons as an artist. Lessons that are not imbibed by e mail, books or choreography. Do you not see it by example of my dance?  The power, strength and depth of attention to the moment in hand? Well the best way I can show it to you is by experiential lessons, but you got to come to the well to drink. Not just think you already know what I’m doing or talking about, but actually come and learn something new.

Next January I’m feature Ruby at my Belly Dance retreat 2011.

June 9, 2010   ♦   Comments Off on Egypt Tour
Delilah at Isis Temple

Delilah at Isis Temple

I’m dreaming in ancient Egyptian symbols. . .

This week I got a bunch of calls from folks getting excited about coming to Egypt with me. Two gal friends are signed up for my “ Hathor down the Nile”. They are driving their families crazy with excitement. They have many months to wait, so I hope it’s not too hard on their families.

Then a family of 4 called and announced they are ALL are coming with me. The mom is one of our NTP dancers. The young daughter has a romance with ancient Egypt that I find hauntingly familiar. The teen age son I hear is a very good writer. What better to fuel his imagination with than a trip to the land of scribes and the beginning of writing. Where world histories, myths and cultures meet. A fantastic growth experience. I hope he keeps a journal and will share. The father couldn’t miss this rich opportunity to travel abroad with with his loved ones. This will be richly etched in all their collective memories. I am so pleased they are doing this as a family.
I got n email from a dance friend who wants to come and maybe on the entire 20 day trip of a life time. She said she is open for a room mate because she didn’t know if her husband would be interested or not. She and her husband are retired and very active and healthy. I hope he considers coming along too. It’s going to be a major experience for his beloved wife and life moves fast past 50. You gotta grab it while you can.  Husbands are very welcome on this tour. They won’t feel like its girls night out I assure.

In the story scrap book I put up on the Delilahs-belly-dance-retreat.com, I tried convey how powerful the experience was to share with some one close to you. I went alone the first time and made a new friend in my roommate Carol. The second time my then husband wasn’t interested and I went with a best friend (I wished he had come too). She and I had an incredible life altering trip . It was 1997 and we went to Turkey and Egypt in the same adventure.Then in 2000 I went with my folks while they were both healthy to travel.  OMG what a good decision that was. We joined harpist Ani William’s tour and about 14 belly dance fiends of mine came too. The last trip I took in 2008 my two daughters, 2 cousins, and my boyfriend came with me. I and shared with them the ancient mysteries. So fantastic. I figured that was the last time I would go. A handful of people who came with me last time in 2008 are interested in the Petra (Jordan) leg of the tours including my family members. That would be perfect.
This trip was prompted by my students who started asking me recently. Are you going back Delilah? If so I want to come. Really, I said? They said I make the adventure come to life so that it is not just a typical tour. I laughed, but I know what they mean. When we were in Costa Rica I over heard two tour guide talking to each other about how they wished they had our group because we were so vibrant and alive. I know we brighten up the guides, the guards and other tourists around us with our dance energy.

A Dance Inside the Queens Chamber

A Dance Inside the Queens Chamber

Then I realized I haven’t seen Alexandria, Petra the Red Sea and my most favorite thing in the whole world is to cruise down the Nile so this time I’m going to do it all!

So that is why we are going and have a nice long lead time so we can budget it into our dreams.
Life is so precious. Life is so fleeting. Youth believes they live forever. In our middle years we realize we better live it now.

Yours in Ancient and Modern Belly Dance.
oxox

Delilah

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May 17, 2010   ♦   Comments Off on IBCC International Belly Dance Conference of Canada/overview

Delilah & Erik, Yasmina and Sema

Delilah & Erik, Yasmina and Sema

Overview from IBCC

INFO

Overview of the event.

It was a great privilege to be an invited guest artist at the International Bellydance Conference in Canada IBCC 2010. They chose me as a representative of pioneering Bellydance in America. This honor meant a lot to me. I have influenced and inspired so many of the top dancers in the world today, and though this may not be known to many dancers who are new to the art, it makes me very proud.

Hats off to Yasmina!

The conference was conceived by Yasmina Ramsey, owner of Arabesque Studios in Toronto. This was her third year of hosting this major event. She was inspired by the International Bellydance Conference that was held at OCC College in California in 1997. The California Conference unfortunately did not continue as an annual event. Yasmina decided to pick up the ball and run with it. She does an amazing job on such a huge project. She is a great organizer and business woman and has a big heart. The next one will be in 2012 and she is already taking reservations!

A conference is more than a typical weekend bellydance festival. There is vending, four 100 minute long classes each day, the performances are mostly at night instead of all day non stop. By having lectures, films and power point presentations the conference has an added academic element. Dancers get to meet each other and be recognized for their contributions to their art. A conference offers the opportunity to speak and exchange ideas by holding panel discussions with professional dancers, musicians, business owners, scholars and the audience of dancers and the similar ilk. These panels were stimulating and thought provoking. They were real, live, in-the-moment, and personal interactions. It was rich and refreshing. We have gotten used to our dose of mind walks in bellydance through magazines, blogs, articles and internet group chatter where we cannot see each others faces and dynamics of expressions. On the internet we can ramble on paragraph after paragraph with out the benefit of others input.The conference has inspired lots of writing across the nation no doubt, but to actually be there is most important! I hope we have more of these kinds of events.

The conference began with a gala opening show on Wednesday Night. All day Thursday through Sunday there were workshops, panel discussions, presentations, and films.  There was never more than 2 scheduled events over lapping and of course individual personal necessities like shopping, food, conversations, and rest. The classes were really big. Over 150 dancers in most workshops. The room was big too with a slanted floor and a elevated stage for the teacher, so it worked out well. Another 40 to 50 dancers would be at the presentations up stairs. There was a small lunchroom, and studios available for private lessons and magazine interviews.

The vending was open during the day only. This gave venders opportunity to rest and enjoy shows every evening. The performances were all over the map with styles, groups, troupes and soloists from all over the world. All the performers submit their dances and are juried before hand. This is important! This prevented the show from becoming boring. It clipped along at an exciting pace. It did not exhaust the audience as so many festivals tend to do. Each nights show was about 90 minutes, with a short intermission. The second half of the show was devoted to the Arabesque Ensemble. It was held at the Ryerson Theater and open to the general public.

The unfortunate thing at this conference was that the Icelandic volcano prevented the major international stars, Mamoud Reda and the Gawazi dancer Khairiyya Mazin from Luxor Egypt from attending. There was no one at fault, just Mother Nature doing her thing. Cassandra from Minneapolis was called in at the last minute to take their place. A fabulous choice. She was a delight. This years conferences head liners included: Sema Yildez from Turkey, Jillina of the Bellydance Superstars, Hadia of BC, Sera Solstice of NY, Amel Tafsout of Algeria, Delilah of WA/HI USA , Zikrayat of NY, Yasmina and the Arabesque Dance Company and Orchestra of Toronto.

Then there were many other performers, presenters and panelists featured in the printed program from all over the world. I will name just a few. Many from Canada; Serina Kerbes Alberta, Rosanna Mc Quire, Rula Said, Mayada, Laura Selenzi, all from Ontario, Monique Ryan Nova Scotia, Maki Natori and Lynette Harper from British Columbia, Brigid Kelly from New Zealand, Caitland Mc Donald from the UK, Dahad of Nevada, Andrea Deagon North Carolina, Candace Brodelon Texas, Tamalyn Dahlal Washington, Shira Iowa, Tasmin from Argentina, Sahar Skinner from NY, Edony Quils from Wa D.C., Meiver de la Cruz from Massachusetts, Michelle Marinho from Brazil, . There were large troupes like the Habeeba Hobeika Egyptian Dance Ensemble from Ontario Canada who performed Mamoud Redas choreography, The Righteous Rogues all male dance group were a highlight, The Sultanettes, Shades of Araby, Mirage, all from Ontario, Ranya Renee and Company from NY. Raqs Sahara from Wa D.C. There were duos like Sofie and Chanti from Quebec, and mother and daughter Iona and Hafia from Ontario.

Musicians George Sewa, Sami Abu Shumays, and Suleiman Warwar and of course drummer Erik Brown played for my class. Lynette Harris from Gilded Serpent E magazine was intent on the presentations and panels.

So many wonderful conversations and new friendships were made. It was one of the best events I have ever been to and I will definitely be back in 2012.

Delilah


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