D's Blog

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

February 23, 2010   ♦   Comments Off on Kitty Love / Valentine Cat Food

Kitty Love / Valentine Cat Food

This is a weird entry to find on a belly dancers blog but I know so many belly dancers have cats (dogs too, I know). My favorite Goddess statue is from Crete 1600 B. C..  She has a snake in each hand and a house cat on her head!


***

What did Erik and I do on Valentines Day?

We looked for a used meet grinder!  What? We decided to give a little extra special love to our beloved kitty cats. We aim to change their diet over to raw food. We are so pissst off at Purina!  Enough already! more later. . .

STORY

We had been thinking about this idea for a while and Valentine weekend seemed perfect. We began by looking up recipes and directions online. We’ll need a food scale, a meat grinder (that will do bone), meat sheers, freezer containers and a devoted cutting board. We see one must be careful, clean and dedicated. We realize this is going to be a commitment. One of love! Next, we went to a raw pet food store in Burien, WA to get more information. We bought some of their raw prepared Chicken and Turkey Cat food to bring home and see if our cats would eat it. Three out of the 4 cats loved it! They are not vomiting or having diarrhea problems either. We’ll have to work on Miss Tia it looks like. She wouldn’t try it. We found we can make batches for the month and freeze it. Hopefully that will cute down on the cost. We will buy it as a meal supplement until we get set up for production. It’s our Valentine to our cat family. OXOX.

HELP!

We are looking for a USED MEAT GRINDER and a FOOD SCALE.

Anyone got one they want to get rid of 206 632-2353 Call us! D&Erik

***

WHY we are against Purina:

I have had cats all my life. For the past 15 years my cats would not eat anything but Purina Cat Chow. They wouldn’t eat eggs or turkey gizzards at Thanksgiving like the cats I grew up with. I thought this a bit weird. I suspected the kibble had something addictive in it. They were Cat Chow Junkies. I figured cats know something about our adulterated hormone infused food chain, thus they wouldn’t even touch eggs or turkey heart and liver. Strange.

I grew up in California with lots of cats. We knew what fleas were. In Washington it wasn’t until a few years ago our cats skin started getting horrible skin problems and the vet insisted it was fleas! So they all got put on Frontline. Even in the winter? I never see these fleas (maybe Washington fleas are a smaller variety). My cats sleep with me. I’m not getting bit. We did Frontline and the minute the date passed their hair would all fall out on their back side.  Well so, we got suspicious of Frontline too. I have a ton a stories about vets miss diagnosis of pets. Frontline is not cheap either! I had 4 indoor cats. I can see taking action in the summer months but the winter too? The other problem is that my cats all barf now. All the time! They didn’t used to. They started a few years ago. They even projectile vomit after eating Purina cat food. They were starving , poor dears! Finally they wouldn’t eat it at all. I tried others and changed to canned food. But I rather clean up vomited kibble than canned food! One day I talked to my friend named  Kitty who happens to raise Prussian cats. She said she feeds then raw food and they are happy, healthy and winning all the prize ribbons. They sure are soft I agreed! Then I started researching. AH HA! Purina moved all it’s cat food operations to China by 2007. Now it made since. This isn’t the same product it was years ago. There are no ethics in China as far as I can see. China is taking over America and making everything under the sun. They use old computer junk and make it  to resemble products we are familiar with. But no, no no! They are not the same products! Every belly dancers must have noticed that safety pins for instance lately. They melt in your hands. They are worthless, Dry wall from China came into this country to meet the demand of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation and tons of buildings have to be rebuilt! Roofing nails are trash. Cold medicine had antifreeze in it. In 2007 Pet food Scandal cat food had melamine in it and was recalled. Melamine can boost the protein count in laboratory read outs! Purina Cat Chow was not on the recall lists that I could find but I don’t have faith in that. I imagine money changed hands to save reputations. The reality is something has changed about this product in my personal observation. China then fed the recalled pet food to fisheries for human consumption. Great.

Hello? China was making this stuff at the companies direction don’t you think? But China is not capable of controlling it’s water quality of food supply consistency. Wheat, corn, potatoes and soy do not belong in our cats food.  So I’m done with China! We are going to stock our freezer full of home made cat food.

PS. Frontline is made in France, but many of it’s suppliers are in China so I don’t trust it either.

***

Our Belly Dance Cat Family History:

I’ve had cats all my life . Samia Gamal lived to be  24 years old. She died just before her belly dance name sake died.  We lost Metropolis (the 16 year old) a few months ago from a mysterious eye injury. She was my daughter Laura Rose’s kitty. We all loved her so much.

Currently our 3 cats are all between 13 and 15 years old. We have a cat that we have adopted last Sumer. She chooses to live outside. Burrr! She won’t let us touch her, but we feed her. We posted a lost kitty announcement in the neighborhood but we think she was most likely abandoned  by maybe a collage student who moved away. She looks very healthy but freaked out for some reason. We named her Outdoor Kitty. We suspect she is actually related to our cats since our cats father does live in the neighborhood at one time. She won’t let us touch her, but she looks at us kindly when we come with the chow wagon and will sit with me on the back deck. Erik’s cat’s are Sophia Isadora Duncurl and Tiamat. Sofie is an X show girl. She is a calico American Curl and is the sweet heart of the family. She acts more like a dog actually. Amazing creature. Tia is a female orange (very rare). She is sweet but not the kind of cat you can pick up.

Neighborhood Temple Priestess

Priestess Tiamut’s Magic Sponge:

When we started selling the dry sponges as a fund raiser for the studio, we needed a photo of a cat for the label. Allison came over and chased all my cats around the house and the back yard trying to get a good pose. We figured that the X show girl Sofie would be the best bet, however she kept her sun glasses on and demanded we talk to her agent. Low and behold the cat that was the most skittish, loved the camera lens and became our poster girl  “PRIESTESS TIAMATS MAGIC PET HAIR REMOVER” Ok, so thats our Feline family.

BUY ONE!!!

The Dry Sponge is an amazing item, every cat owner should have a few. I can’t live with out them! Purchasing them from us help our studio stay in business at the same time it makes your life with cats or dogs so much easier!

February 11, 2010   ♦   Comments Off on PART TWO: Dancing Journey; Retreat January 2010

PART TWO:

Dancing Journey with NTP; Retreat January  24-3, 2010

8 days 7 Nights

Before I continue this story about our past Neighborhood Temple Priestess Belly Dance Retreat, let me remind readers that not all our retreats are like this one. Each is unique. You may wonder how that could be true. I see the art as a jewel. I assure you I love belly dance in all it’s facets. Check out the list of dancers I have worked with. They are all apart of my dance experience I am proud to say

For instance next retreat is April 2-9 2010 Tribal Hula Fusion

Amy Sigil of UNMATA, the award winning Dahlia Moon and Delilah and Erik of HOT.

It’s on the very physical dance plane. See the details . Hurry up!

Story begins again:

Now we are at mid way of our retreat.

On day four I introduced some breathing and relaxation techniques. These were a series of gestalt awareness exercises. In a relaxed trancy state we moved to mirror dances and then instructed to stay centered and quiet. No talking and put on your shoes. Slowly I lead them on a dance adventure into nature. They were instructed to be free to move with, in contrast, in reaction to, what ever they came across. Listen, see, feel, smell, with internal awareness and external awareness. Lose your self consciousness and be like a child of the universe. Get inside the moment. Remember. I was so pleased at this groups full participation. They went very far into the moment. We all feel into a timeless reality. Some of us danced with tears in our eyes to these pink petaled flowers with green leaves that shared the top of a thick gray spiky menacing stock. The birds repeated phrases like a drum rhytm rif. Voices murmured occasionally from far away. The sun made shadows on the lawn and the dancers interacted with them. Some found spider webs and spiders. others were inspired and effected but the energetic direction of the patterns found in nature. Unexplainable things, yet when we stopped to share our discoveries with one another the words flooded in with glee. These thing all came vivid to the surface of our being because of the preface of this work with the gestalt exercises. Know this; You did not need to take your self out side to meet with nature. Everything we have done out here today is totally applicable to any stage and all performance. Stay plugged in to the moment. The truth that followed was immediately seconded by the call of a gecko. Nothing but the truth!

Next I introduced the magical concept of labyrinths(cool photos of one of the NTP’s labyrinths). It is astounding how this seemly complicated pattern can be so culturally universal. It is mathematic and psychic. It  totally is related to the circular figure eight and spiral patterns we draw with our hips. The thing about labyrinths is they are not meant to confuse you like a maze, but lead you to the center. A focal point. This was in preparation for the evenings ritual labyrinth christine would lead us through. Read more about Labyrinths .

Off to lunch and then back to class wearing our Sea Faring and Nature Honoring Goddess Costumes we made for our little contest. We thought it would be fun to dance in them during Hula class taught by Richard.  Verna won the grand Prize. She was the Moon and the Starry Sky Goddess! The prize was a cowry shell basket with cowry shell jewelry and Koa wood beads. Richard taught us a powerful dance to Pele and urged us to be more savage! I loved that we were all decked out in Goddess costumes learning this dance for Pele.

Ok, so these students are not average belly dancers by any means now. They have pounded their feet to the rhythms of the earth and swayed their hips to the pulse of the surf. Reached up to the sky and gathered the gifts into their hearts and sent it into the cosmos. They have connected with the internal and the external. They have experienced freedom and play and the natural spontaneity of life. We have danced to music drum, word play, rosters crowing, taste, scent, shadow, light, wind, sound of surf. Now comes a transformative event. The dance of the labyrinth. We began before dinner laying out the grid, wrapping electric candles in tissue paper and setting them out onto the lawn. There were about 600 and it would measure about 48-50 feet across. As soon as it got dark the pattern was revealed in the dark grass and the moon rose full as ordered in the sky above. Some staff at Kalani walked the labyrinth during the dinner hour and sat and quietly watched us as we appeared after diner in our NTP whites dance attire. Clouds stood back and did a veil dance around the giant opalescent rainbow moon straight over our heads. It illuminated our crown chakras.  We grounded and centered and one by one we began our journey into the labyrinth. John played his sax and Erik played drum. Some of us danced with veils some brought instruments like drum and chimes. The dancing journey was intense and enchanting. I went first and when I arrived in the center I spun until I  collapsed in the center. I was a pile of white., with my veil made of what I call ghost silk (because it is so light). I lay there on the soft bed of grass cocooned in my silk and surrounded by concentric winding rings of candle light and the gently stepping of dancers and the delicate touch of omnipresent moon beams in the air. When I arose to dance out of the labyrinth I met each dancer one by one upon the path. We embraced each other so tenderly. We cried, and exchanged the knowing of our knowing.  This place, this time, this life

“Your beauty is my beauty

and my beauty is your beauty

only in relationship to each other

do we know beauty.”

As I left the labyrinth I picked up a drum and joined Erik and watched the dancers meet and part at different junctures along their way. It’s always so interested to note that the center of the labyrinth is only 10-14 feet away from where I observe but as I see the person in the center I know their journey was much longer so they seemed a world away. Yet I know we are in the same world.

NOTE:The entire retreat was profound this way.

Up early before the sun for the next amazing event. We all jumped into cars and walked out upon another path that twisted through the lava beds to a brand new virgin beach. Three of us put on our Sea Faring costumes and the rest came to watch us dance into the sea at new Kapana beach at dawn; Laura Rose Christine and Me. We walked a path out across the lava field to the beach. Just like the labyrinth with the ocean of life at the center.  Her tide was way in leaving little room for beach dancing. Laura Rose set up the camera and she went first. Dressed in feathers, fur and seeds and with silver bits and a moon on her forehead. White drapes of fabric hugged her thighs and red laced sandals scrolled up to her knees.

Christine wore a fantastic Grecian Costume fitted for Aphrodite. On a base of white drapes gold brackets of metal clasped the fabric and deep red roses. Very beautiful. She did a dance with a mirror where she showed the ocean her own reflection in the morning sun break. So beautiful.

I wore my very first sea faring costume from 1991. Green and fuchsia. I charges down the beach as the surf was out so I could start my dance around a bend of rock and dance toward the water the observers and the eye of the camera.

Afterward everyone got in the warm water. Some were a bit surprised to find it so warm. It’s a bit of illusion. The water does not change temperature at night but the sand does. The contrast makes the water feel like a bath tub in the early hours and chilled in the middle of the day.

Wow. next was some good old fashion Power Belly workout after breakfast and a talk about Goddess Archetypes. How do these Psychological profiles of Greek and Roman mythical figures influence our western minds. What can we learn about our selves by exploring them creatively as dance inspiration?  Artemis, Athena, Hestia, Hera Demeter, Persephone, and Aphrodite. Everyone was encouraged to read the book by Jean Shinoda Bolen, and  before or during the retreat.

The Goddesses in Every Woman

The Goddesses in Older Women

The Goddesses in Every Man

Urgent Message From Mother

It was Lori’s birthday today, so we gave her a royal Goddess veil blessing treatment today!

After dinner we would do my community Zaar ritual. It’s simple and the group has been very physical for the past 48 hours so it would not be a long zaar I figured. I though it was time to show them some skinner releasing exercises. This is how you can begin to dance coming from a a totally deep relaxed body. It will come in handy for tomorrows guided movement meditation to meet the Goddesses as well. The zaar went well. And I think we all fell into a deep sleep that night.

On day 6 week retreated to nature in our own way. A bit of private space and time. Nice. Erik and I went to a secluded beach we found behind a Hawaiian burial ground we found up the road a piece. It was very beautiful, peaceful and rejuvenating. Some went to the volcano park but it was partially closed because of vog.

After dinner we came back for the Journey with in our minds to meet the goddesses each in their richly described symbolic environment. Each Goddess gives you a gift. The gift could be absolutely anything and at the end you lay them all out around you and we dance our gratitude. Christine made a lovely sound scape for us. Figuring out why certain gifts were given to you is a process of creative inner exploration.

Next a belly dance obstacle course. It rained during the night and the atmosphere was sucking up the water in every article of clothing wow. Our luggage was weighing more for sure. Everyone was instructed to wear a bathing suit to class. The rain was welcome and our obstacle course made good use of it. I set a course in the studio that everyone would do 3 runs of. Then they were instructed to dance out the door and meet with nature. Stay engaged with the natural world and it’s offerings as well as follow the path past the office and into the shower then into the pool where you were to engage your belly dance arms and mermaid bodies. Then out toward the reclining Buddha to follow a new spiral designed labyrinth Chris had made with bamboo and banana leaves!  We jumped into the pool and labyrinth in the rain yippee! What a conquest. They have learned to journey through the dance!

Our last class was with Christine. Fire! Not as a thing to dangerously fling around our bodies, but as inspiration on how to harness the energy that is inside of us. The heat that burns. The fuse of life. Flicker as ecstatic chaotic undulation consuming oxygen. These exercises were followed by using the smoke of incense as it passes in the air. This was a fantastic class and I am always inspired to see and experience something new, challenging and thought provoking. I got to pair up and do some very creative contact dancing with Laura Rose. So good!

In the evening we held our final performance on the dinning lanai for the staff to enjoy. Alexandra made a fantastic MC. Now that we know she has such talents. . . Wayne, Malina, Christine, Laura Rose and me with everyone drumming for me. Sweet!

This retreat felt so incredibly successful. We came many more miles that air planes and rental cars could carry us. Because of our presence there is no place we cannot go with our dance. belly dance is not just a universal body language it’s a how our cosmic space ship is powered. I love this universe!

After dinner and wine we met at the banana leaf labyrinth for a final candle night ceremony. with real candles and real flames and parting remarks and blessings.

Merry meet,

Merry part and Merry meet again.

Blessed be!

Delilah

your Neighborhood Temple Priestess at your service

PS. I know I gotta get some photos up to go with it but it’s funny I really live in the moment and I’m off to the next shiny thing.

  ♦   Comments Off on PART ONE: Dancing Journey; Retreat January 2010

PART ONE:

Dancing Journey with the Neighborhood Temple Priestesses;

Retreat January 2010

8 days 7 nights


I have been home since Feb 2nd and my suit case is still not unpacked. Soon as I came home I had 3 crazy cats to attend to. Bevin was looking after them while we were gone but they were not very happy to have us gone for 10 days. Kinko camped out in our bedroom for the time we were gone only coming down for duties. She would not purr for the first hour we were home. Tiamat was her usual evasive self and I could tell she slept on the living room couch. Sophie stayed in the kitchen the whole time on a pillow. I have a stack of mail and phone messages to deal with and a ton of e mail of course. Now my butt hurts from too much sitting at the computer. It’s tax time and so book keeping to do now. I have been trying to write a blog entry since before Hawaii . I thought I would even write from there. Usually I have lots to say and write but this retreat has kind of blown me away a bit. Yikes, I have no editor either. Please so for give any typos.

First of all I imagine you might want to know what the Neighborhood Temple Priestess are? Well it’s a committed bunch of dancers with a little bit different focus than other groups. Yes, we feel belly dance empowers our life but not only. It also empowers the lives of our family and greater community if we know how. The way of how is what I teach and mentor. If what we are doing is different then it means what you know already is not it, so keep an open mind and let the difference in. An important part of the NTP is being able to think out of the box, be a leader, strive to be a good dancer, an artist and a Temple Priestess.

Story begins:


We should have called this retreat Belly Dancing Journey through Inner and Outer space for that is what we managed to do. I know that any of these words cannot adequately describe or substitute the actual experience. Hopefully that is what these experiences do over all. They serve to remind people that life is for living not just twittering tweetering about.

In Hawaii we stayed in a room they call the Tree House. It’s not really a tree house but it’s their deluxe rustic accommodation. We loved it! The entry was in the west and the east side was completely glass and screens open to a lush meadow that hugged the country road an acer a way. We got to witness the rising sun and sleep to the sound of the ocean surf. Fuchsia bougainvillea an occasional orchid and lush green tangle of jungle vines framed our view. In the center of the room was a vertical post that supported a 14 foot high ceiling that sloped toward 3 separate alcove rooms. Around the center post was a rectangular tiles table and a lamp in front of that facing the view was a wicker couch and a divan and a kitschy floor lamp that was in the shape of a palm tree. We had a refrigerator, microwave and a coffee pot with coffee and milk in the frig. The bathroom was spacious with lots of staging area for changing clothes, make up and  toiletries. Wow I could live here for a while!


I did try to post a blog entry while I was in Hawaii but the retreat was so rich and my mind got so expanded it couldn’t find it’s way into the lap top key pad. Words would fall helter skelter out of my head but they kept running across the the table to play with the with the Geckos that lived on the table post. Geckos are suppose to bring good luck. There is a belief that when one is heard making their long sustained clicking noise, then what ever has been spoken last in the vicinity is to be known as the honest truth. We had many geckos living with us. They keep the mosquitoes down, so they make good room mates. We had a boy and a girl who lived behind the bathroom mirror and would catch bugs attracted to the light. We had the one who lived on the table post where another lamp kept the bug supply coming. Then we had the prankster gecko who would hang his little back legs and tale off the edge of a crack in a board in the ceiling and poop! It was so funny to see. “Hey you?” we would yell and laugh. Luckily it was over the floor and not our bed or heads. House keeping in the jungle is a daily task needless to say. Kalani are experts at it (no worries.) In the jungle you can expect to find bugs, mongoose, wild boar, goats, rats, cats, giant snails, wild turkeys, beautiful birds of all colors, a few dogs. . . We saw all of them. In the water you can see dolphin, sail fish, hump back whales, sea turtles, millions of fish and coral. We saw some of them too even though we didn’t go snorkeling this trip.


Ok so how was the retreat?

Well one should know first that every retreat we do has it’s own theme and schedule of classes and guest instructors, musicians and events. This one was on Neighborhood Temple Priestess Training retreat. The goal was to dance and sweat so we got a good dose of exercise but then diverge into the more esoteric, artsy, touchy, feely realm of belly dance that has been cultivated by the visionary belly dance water mark. These are teachings that are not ordinary fare in my classes and retreat but are very dear to my heart. We delved into our minds, our hearts and our humanity as dancers.


This retreat was small. This means of course that those that signed up for this retreat get a lot of individual undivided attention from me, Erik, and  Laura Rose. We get to know the members of our retreat  very up close and personal. I can even write about them individually with out it becoming a huge book.


Jane was brand new to belly dance, who had some health issues and was going to approch things slowly and as she felt comfortable each day. She also brought her Mother whose name was Dola. She had recently recovered from a bout with cancer. They were sharing some good Mother /Daughter time together. The thing about Jane was she was very knowledgeable about the the feminine jungian psychology aspects and the ritual and other things we were going to explore on this retreat. It’s what attracted her. She ha been watching the retreats come and go on line for years and finally decided it was time! She was good natured and enthusiastic to try most anything.


Malina was from Japan. She didn’t speak a lot of English but she had a little machine translator thingy. She missed some of the wordy explanations but she felt everything deeply. One of her teachers is the amazing Mishaal from Japan. I love Mishaal. Everyone loves Mishaal. I knew if Mishaal was sending her, she would love this retreat and that even with language barrier. Malina would be well seasoned.


Alexandra is from Seattle via Canada. She is a new member the Neighborhood Temple Priestess group in Seattle. She comes when she can but she needed to know more about belly dance as well as the under pinning of what holds the NTP together. This retreat was an opportunity to go catch her up on a lot of the work and an opportunity for us all to get to know her better. She packed light. She just found out she was pregnant and so thats about all she could think about . The homework things like reading certain books, making a sea faring costumes would have to be done some other time. She would come and be as present as possible.


Lori Green was a last minute sign up. She is also a member of the NTP in Seattle. It was her birthday during our retreat. In addition to being a celebration of life, this retreat was a very transformational experience for her. The retreat was a chance to stop the clock and contemplate deep issues in her life. All retreats have that aspect for guests and participants alike. Depending on what’s going on in our lives they register differently on the Richter scale! We got to know and witness Lori’s deep work.


Verna AKA Eden Nadirah, came to last years retreat as well and was my a measuring rod to the reality that each retreat is so different. She came from frigid temperatures and loads of snow to the beauty of the rich green and passionate island. She felt comfortable with me, Erik and Laura Rose and we all carry an affection for her amazing hips!


Wayne AKA Assiyah is an acupuncturist. He’s been belly dancing for 4 or 5 years now. He loves that he can do something that most men don’t know how to do. It makes him feel unique and he gets to hang out with women he announced proudly. He says to his male friends. You just don’t get what I know. Wayne is a very special person. He has come to 3 of my retreats and we see marked improvement each year. he is a very genuine and sensitive person great for the Temple Priestess movement. The Kalani staff loved seeing him come back each year and love watching him in our performance nights. Funny; Wayne has an identical twin brother we would love to meet sometime!


Christine and John are an amazing couple. Christine is my right arm in planning and brain storming NTP events. John helps out in so many ways with the NTP events  but her likes to be kind of anonymous. When it came to introductions I asked John if he wanted to tell us about himself and he said. “How long have you known me Delilah? Have I ever told you about my self? Well I’m not going to start today.” and thats totally all right with me, I’m just glad John came. Christine is an amazing artist and waters run deep. She makes many of the banners for our events and activities. She is very well read, a wealth of information and inspiration. She has amazing music collection and I rely on her tastes and choosing of music for many of our activities. She does not spend time on e mail, watching TV or dealing with cell phones. I admire that. She lives life fuller than most people and she reminds me by her beingness that there is a way to resist all this electronic culture. However batteries come in handy. Christine offered to bring her electric candles and build a labyrinth on the grounds of the retreat and if I got tired she would love to teach a class she was into practicing all about fire and smoke being an influential element in our dance.  I said wonderful I’ll build it into our revised schedule. Since the schedule was arranged to work with the usual 30 participants with performance time, I think we will have some extra time available.


Laura Rose of course is staff but I was secretly very pleased that I could bring her to this particular retreat. She has been involved in a few NTP things this past year but she is a very in demand performer in Seattle and has lots of rehearsals and shows that keep her busy. I sent her home one day around the winter holidays with my copy of the book, “Goddesses in Every Women” and said I know you read this book years ago, but read it again for inspiration. She read some of it and continued at the retreat. She related partly to Artemis and made her sea faring costume a sea version of Artemis. Laura Rose would get up early each morning and run 5 miles . She had her own room and was not used to staying alone. She read about the virginal Goddesses that Hestia, Athena and Artemis. “What do you think Mom?” She asked me.  “I think there is a healthy dose of Persephone and Aphrodite in you as well my dear, but when I see you Mother your troupe members, friends, students, boy friend and burning man family I see Demeter and once in a while even Hera. We use all these archetypes at different times and seasons of our lives dear daughter.” Laura Rose got a lot of personal growth inspiration out of this retreat. This makes me very happy because while all the glitz and performance art is a skill and vocation, DANCE has another influence in our lives that has nothing to do with performance. It’s about praising the sacred, self exploration and giving thanks for being alive. This is the work of the Neighborhood Temple Priestess (NTP). She got to become very close to Christine and really responded to the exercises she taught. This made me very happy.


Erik Brown is my mate and our music man. He brought his chimbus and his base guitar as well as drums and played his POWER BELLY music. He also used his computers to be our DJ and create music sound scapes for our poetry and guided meditation dances. On this retreat he taught frame drums primarily instead of dumbeks and it was a pleasant change. We walked the garden playing drums. In the end the students all accompanied Erik playing frame drum for my final performance!


The courses we planned were sticky. They fit perfectly together. One lead to the next in the most amazing ways. It was a journey we took together of inner awakening.

We began with a social orientation and Power Belly to get the blood flowing and review and see how we all fit together and what our physical dance needs were. The next day I taught my circle dance choreographies and we turned them into duet dances and added spins. We left open time for beach sun and pool or massages and naps and came back in the late afternoon to talk about NTP pride focus and history. Malina from Japan had a hard time following but Laura Rose sat by her and tried to explain. I’m sure some of the words she heard took her by surprised in a belly dance class. Things about women’s rights, empowerment, the effect on our dance by the events of  9/11, community resources, activism, political art, sexism, exploitation belly dance history, women’s culture. A bit of a montage of subjects. OMG I can imagine how this could get scrambled but she kept seeing my face and eyes and knowing my passion for the beauty and truth that some how she gets it. I know her teacher in Japan well and she can straighten anything out. Why would these subjects have any place in a belly dance class you might wonder? Well, because I am not a simple belly dancer. I think deeply and look at the world around us as it influences the cosmic unconscious of our dance culture. I think belly dance is especially an interesting meter to read in relationship to the psyche of women. How our belly dance styles have evolved in the past 40 years in relationship to our social environment should be looked at.  An blog article in the future no doubt. I feel belly dance empowered my life? Do you? Why do you want to belly dance? Is it just for exercise? Women have been belly dancing in America for 3 powerful generations. Just for exercise? No, not exactly.

We prepared a student note book to hand out to everyone but I can’t write the whole week down so I have another set of my own teachers notes. I gave them to Malina at the end of the retreat so she could study more.

Everyday we had time to relax, sun bath, go to the beach, hot pools or take a nap. We had a drum class before dinner. This helped to steady the pace of our journey together I think. The second night we set up a shadow screen and everyone brought poetry. We did improve dances to poetry and drum in front of and behind the screen. We traded off reading the poems. Everyone was very enthusiastic and it was a good class. We were energetic, comfortable and well oiled. What I mean is everyone seemed able to be very self expressive. I taught them how to deliver my famous veil blessings AKA Veil Therapy as well this night. I explained we could do this at any point during the retreat for each other. The veils would be here in the rainbow room studio.


The next morning we met at the view point, just across the road from Kalani. We did our grounding and centering movement ritual. We gathered the energies into our hearts and sent our love out to dancers all over the planet. The sun rose into the majesty of grand clouds on the horizon. The air was warm the breeze gentle and the waves caressed the rocky island belt line of Pele’s hips.


It was day three and now time to introduce the power of the dance expressed through eyes, arms, hands and heart. We opened up the acute awareness of our body and how it is viewed in space. How does our body feel in the space of the room, world, planet and how does the space inside us feel? What impression do we bring to space as we move into what we know as dance? How do we move in relationship to each other. Can we turn up the volume to our empathetic sensitivity toward each other? We practiced many awareness exercises. beautiful morning.

We left time open in the heat of the day and came back for a hot hips class and drum in the later day. Then dinner on the dinning lanai with a glass of wine or two.


On this night we had a rather eclectic mid week performance night that the staff at Kalani all were rearing to come and be entertained. Well, this a was loose based evening since we were a small group there were no time constraints on performing really.(nice for a change). Basically we wanted to demonstrate aspects of how we incorporate belly dance into rites of passage celebrations in community NTP style; baby showers, weddings, blessings, wakes. . . . As well as share our deep artistic inspirations in engaging performance art. So we asked the Kalani staff to participate in a ritual with us. We asked each member to stand in a circle and one by one recite their lineage on their mothers side as we had our pregnant participant in the seat of honor. I began;  I am Delilah mother of Laura Rose and Victoria, I am daughter of Marilyn who is daughter of Berty who is Daughter of Lucy who is daughter of Marie. As each member adds the names of the women who came before them we the  space begins to fill up with the presence of all the ancestral women / Mothers who have come before us to make our life possible. With this comes a powerful presence. Usually this ritual is done with mostly women but here there were alot of men in the audience. Interesting was the note that most men did not know who their Great Grand mothers names were. Hmmmm? Lori noted it and decided when she got home she was going to make sure her teen age son knew these names in her family.


We dressed up Laura Rose as a bride and pampered and washed her feet. It’s actually a humbling ritual. It’s very caring and brings people together in a special way. I danced to a Nubian folk song called 2000 Blessings fro your wedding day. Next we introduced the concept of taste and scents as muse for dances. Before each solo we fed the audience chocolate, ginger and exotic fragrances. Christine did a very exotic candle dance in complete darkness and Laura Rose  did a concept dance of experiencing raw savage stress and it being cured by the soothing relief of camomile. Lori and Malina danced solos with heavenly scents and I did the chocolate dance. It was a very eclectic show.


Continued in Part Two

or see April 2-9 2010 retreat details!


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