Visionary Belly Dancing: Fremont Summer Soltstice Parade 2004
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Fremont Summer Solstice Parade 2004

Summer Solstice Parade 2004

For the past 15 years, Delilah’s Belly Dancers have been in the Fremont Solstice Parade as a performing ensemble. Dancing on hard asphalt with continual pressure to keep moving past a parade audience is an artistic challenge all it’s own – a challenge that only experience can overcome. Delilah does it well. Over the years, the smallest group was 5 dancers and each year has steadily increased until this year the total number of participants was 80 strong; dancers, musicians, flower girls and banner carriers.

The Solstice Parade is world famous and massive in local artist participation as well as the size of crowd it draws. People line up early in the morning on the sidewalk to stake out their seats. Each year the Visionary Dancers are a much-anticipated highlight for parade lovers.

See quick time movies of past parades and other events!
See another article on the Blue Solstice year 1999

The group has always been easy to spot from a distance with Delilah’s collection of tall white canvas, goddess-inspired banners. These usually stretch across the street, demarcating the dancers’ space in the parade and serving as their back drop.

This year, however, the banners changed. They were red and purple. In fact, the entire ensemble this year wore red with tiny accents of purple.

This year’s theme was “empowerment of women”.

Christine, Magi, and Diana worked hard preparing new banners with a whole new sets of symbols:
Uterus and Ovaries! Times three banners and 3 veils!
Flowers; Cala lilies and Orchids,
A red serpent,
A pomagranite bursting open
and A Goddess.

With this theme Delilah set in place a deep calling forth of energy for the world’s rescue. Today the call for women to stand up is more important than ever. Women need to find their “power”, define it, and use it.
Delilah set the tone for her parade class beforehand with announcements on the internet. The theme resonated with many dancers anxious to participate in something meaningful.

On the first day of class she read a poem, Safe Dance by Larry Myers Then she spoke directly to her dancers with this bit of inspiration:

Delilah’s message

We are living in perilous times. They could very well be some of the last days. We cannot keep running things in the ways of the past. We need new energy, we need new ideas and creativity. We need women to be more present. We need the Mother energy. It is time for women to step up and take their turn. It isn’t even a choice anymore, it is a responsibility.

What I know is that women all over the world believe belly dance empowers them. They have found a new sense of strength and wisdom within themselves since they entered the art of belly dancing. Women find the power to channel the independence of their own movement and physical expression with belly dance. Defined by women's terms, belly dance is more than a dance for its participants. It celebrates who they are. It celebrates bellys, breasts, and wombs. It celebrates life and all its juiciness. It is a universal body language left behind by ancient civilizations. As the art of belly dance has been cultivated in the past 30 years in America (as well as other countries) by women interested in this ancient mix of art, music and physical culture, it also offered a personal growth experience. We are learning about things hidden from us by a puritanical culture. We are growing like a seed in the earth that becomes a stem raising up out of the rich fertile ground. And we turn our face toward the sun. A light shines on us from above and warms us. Sometimes, in my head I see myself embodying the belly dancer of today. I am on stage, under a light. The rest of the world is darkness beyond the pool of light I stand in. I feel my body awareness and strength rising from underneath me, from inside. belly dance has brought this awarness to me. I feel my legs standing firm, balanced and strong. I breathe in and feel a sense of presence of the moment at hand. I think this is the place that many women have risen to at this moment through their evolved experience in belly dance. I feel no doubt some women will know exactly what I mean but there are others that may be confused by what I’m describing and have yet to understand. Those that know feel the light of empowerment and now they need to learn what the power is, and how to use it in perhaps largely unfathomable ways. It may be scary because it means penetrating that unknown darkness beyond the edges of their stage. All we need to do is turn a few more lights on and it will be known to us.

Stop referring in your head to what your husband, your boyfriend, father, or brother thinks and make sure you are thinking for yourself! Think outside of the box. There are systems at play keeping us mute and blind to reality. Women are 55% of the population but they act as if they are 10%. It’s in our heads. Why are women's needs unmet or secondary in our society?

Start talking to each other about politics more. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion and to influence women around you. We all have power! We all have opportunities for influence. What is your power? Define it for yourself! Use it!

I am using my power by influencing you now.

I say, “Make sure you are a registered voter!” I’m not saying how to vote. I’m saying USE YOUR POWER!

Do you realize how many belly dancers there are out there?
Do you realize the power we could cultivate if we all registered to vote and we let all the legislators know that we are politically concerned and motivated enough to take registering to vote seriously. Do it now:

What would happen?

I bet Gov. Schwarzenegger would show up Rakkasah (the annual belly dance festival in California)!

Ok so, you get where I’m at this year. So what about the parade?

All our dances are going to express special meaning for us.They are not just aimless punctuation. They are dancing stories made from the language of belly dance attesting to what we want to do with our power.

Dance 1, Blindfold Dance;
A dance about finding new-found freedom as we pull the blinders off and can see and be seen! Some of us are not strong enough to do it for ourselves so in the dance some of the dancers remove the blindfolds off their sister dancers! Once removed, they all dance wildly in a liberating dance down the street!
Dance 2, Power Belly Circle Dance;

A dance of unification of community, acknowledgment of female birthing power, protection, strength, power and energy.

Dance 3, Circle Balady;

A dance of birthing and reclaiming also done as a line dance.

Dance 4, Grounding and Centering Ritual;
A movement meditation that culminates in a heart opening and speaking out, envisioning a better world.

Dance 5, Snakes;
wo undulating lines that intertwine like DNA down the street.
Dance 6, Uterine Veils;

Creative displays of 8 yard veils adorned with Uterus and Ovaries surround us!.

Our Musicians this year were:

Wayne and Denise Gilbertson "Troop Americanistan" from Eugene, Oregon

Ed Sulivan, Steve Flynn, Erik Brown, Beau, Don on bag pipes!

End Note

I have never experienced such a dedicated group of dancers, musicians and friends who took the challenge of rehearsing, learning, making costumes, co-operating and dancing together to such a passionate level!

Thank you!

You all continue to inspire me!

Photos by Jerry Johnson
A CD collection of Parade photos is available from Jerry.
Visit his web site for more information:

More Parade Photos

Visionary Belly Dancing
P.O.Box 30797, Seattle, WA 98103 USA
206-632-2353 . . .

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