D's Blog

September 28, 2010   ♦   Comments Off on #2 Zombie Belly Dance; Training Manual

Note: This is not my usual kind of blog entry; We are getting geared up to be in character so we are getting a little over the top. It’s meant to be dark humor. Do not read the following while eating.



Zombies are dead. A virus has entered their brains and reanimated the primal operating systems so they vaguely remember being a live. They eat flesh, but don’t need to eat since they are dead. Apparently they are on auto pilot. Given this, I realize that they also hold some vague memories of the belly dancing they did every day when they were alive. This is why they can zombies belly dance .

Zombies can not talk, laugh or cry.

Delilah on Zombie Walk

Delilah on Zombie Walk

They groan and grunt. However body language (dance) is a primal means of communication pre speech . It is heavily wired into body and brain. Some neural pathways remember belly dance like the way a zombie can remember how to walk, grab you and eat you brains . . . and belly dance.


They lack juiciness as everything is coagulating, drying and rotting. So all the juicy and curvy moves found in living belly dance are out. Curves are transformed into angles. Textures like shimmy, swivels and locks, become twitches and jerks. Gasses are occasionally expelled that create popping sounds and movement releases.  Shaking occurs because of decay and short circuiting. It is more convulsive in appearance.

Arms dangle, flop and fall to the sides. If the torso jerks to one side, they may swing out by syntrifical force. When in pursuit of food or in the proximity of certain rhythm patterns they may lift arms in a pattern known as Exotic Zombie Arms. Watch out though, they bite.

Control to turn and look a different direction is minimal. Thus head and torso move as one and can unexpectedly jerk around and fall at the waist. Perhaps they miss belly dancing like they miss eating and that’s why they persist.

There is no self composer in a belly dance zombie. The torso is often bloated and so the chest and thorax pitch forward. Head lacks control and never has an inkling of thought.

Face and eyes remain blank to grimacing, depending on the circumstances of their demise or damage done when they were being eaten.

Hands are open and fingers extend stiffly like a 4 pronged dinner fork (handy),. . . while thumbs fold in to the palm in the classic death pose position.


Destroy the brain. Or wait 2-3 years for them to corrode enough that they stop dancing and there is nothing left to feast on. Watch zombie movies for extermination inspiration. The messier the kill method the more zombie belly dancers you may attract.

In general just remember folks, kill the brain and no more belly dancing.

  ♦   Comments Off on #1 Zombie Belly Dance Project


Zombie Belly Dance Project



I live in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle Washington. We have Zombie walks  a few time a year. It’s a bit weird. They just mop around in alleys back yards, on street corners, in front of businesses, and in parks. The folks around here are are way into zombies and it doesn’t even need to be Halloween. In Fremont we call it “Trolloween” after our famous giant troll statue who lives under the Aurora bridge and every once in a while eats Volts Wagon bugs for breakfast. On Trolloween there will be some sort of happening we will take part in with our Zombie Belly Dance.

A couple weekends a go a hand full of members of our studio were sitting around a table brain storming projects for VDP Dance Studio to take on and all of a sudden I exclaimed Eureka. “Lets be Zombies and create a new fusion belly dance vocabulary for it,  and thus a performance group. We can do all sorts of events;  Zombie Walks, Trolloween and ZomBcon coming to Seattle at the end of October.! “ OMG! We all started laughing and getting charges up!



I thought about it that evening, I realized this maybe a perfect class to relive the tension of the days we are currently living in. It may well be the answer for many of our dancers working on performance issues right now. For the past few months we have been emphasizing more performance classes, shows and opportunities for dancers to grow as performers. We have been coaching students lately on character development and stage presence.  I’ve been carefully observing and pondering all dancers efforts, successes and failures. If I could bottle what I know I would give it to them. It struck me that one thing that may be getting in the way for some dancers is the issue women face deep inside, is in regard to their personal beauty image. This is different from a performance stage image.

Anerie plays dead

Anerie plays dead

A zombie is a character that does not care about pretty.

When I watch a dancer who needs help with stage presence this is what I often see; a smile, then a hesitation, then another smile, and then the shopping list of steps in the back of their mind, then a smile, followed by blinking, another hesitation and smile. This scenario lacks a feeling of self confidence. It also lacks any character dimension or dynamics. Dance performance is both physical movement and drama.  As a member of the audience all I want to do is get on board with them and ride the wave of their dance. I don’t care if their nose is crooked. I probably don’t even notice. The dancers job is to be a living bridge between me the audience and the music. Can you see if the baggage isn’t there taking up space, how much freer and clearer the bridge is. leave your personal stuff in the dressing room and devote full attention to the music and being the bridge.

I thought about the best comment I ever had from a dance I did, “Not pretty Delilah”. The dance I did was called “Calling up the Oracle for Peace” and it involved a zahr ritual. It was theater style dance. When I heard the comment I knew what he meant. The beauty issue was not in the way. I also knew that it never was even if I was doing a cheese cake sort of dance. “ I”  was not the object. It was my dance character that I have crafted and developed that took responsibility.

So my thinking is this Zombie Belly Dance idea as a dance and character exercise could be not only a kick in the carcass, but also a great lesson in practicing and developing a dance persona (that is as long as it’s a temporary dance character). No one has to think about being pretty. Wow, thats kind of liberating, isn’t it?

And I bet all the twitching and tension will be great cross training for Power Belly!

On Sunday right after the wonderful celebration of life at Veronika’s baby shower I spent some time coming up with the new fusion dance vocabulary for the living dead.

(talk about juxtaposition).


I put on some slow repetitive rhythms and drone music. I figure zombie musicians probably can’t play anything lively or happy. The music needs to come from the void.  They are going to have to be in character as well. Erik and I frequent Zombie walks. We are both amazed at how people can get all dressed up that way and not be in character. “What’s the deal with that” he scoffs? I

Most people are timid unless they have been given absolute permission. You would think the mire attendance at a Zombie walk would give them permission, but . . . Then it’s just not easy . It does take energy and some people don’t grok how much effort is involved in acting. They think when they see someone do it well then it’s effortless and comes with the territory. It doesn’t. It’s a skill and a craft.

Erik is a very scary Zombie, so watch out.


We need dead beat drummers and musicians and we need them to be in serious character as much as the dancers. So if any drummers are reading this, get your dead ass carcass over to Erik on Monday nights at 6:40. He will direct, teach the rhythms and you all will practice the character while playing the rhythms as well. Cost? He is doing it on a sliding scale please pay what you can, the studio needs support and Erik is the director. We want your participation and we want to hold on to our studio.

More the deadlier!


Thorax Shimmy Walk

Dead Pan Turn

Mummy Walk

Death Spiral Turn with Bob and Twitch

Dead Zombie Stuffed with Fire Crackers

Regurgitating Body Locks

Crazy Eights

My heart, my heart

Cobra of the Living Dead

Decapitation Head Slides

Zombie Arms

Zombie Cha Cha

Hip Twitch with Dead Arms

3/4 Zombie

Zombie Lunge

Zombie Pyramid Step

Three Twitch Turn

Eat Your Heart Step

Belly Dance Intesta-vine Step

Rib Cage Zombie Box



Ominous Masmuti

Eat You Ayub

Tasty Turk 9/8


First nights class;

To get in the mood, I brought black grease paint for our faces.

I introduced the original living belly dance moves and then introduced the adapted dead versions. It was hard to keep from laughing. Lots of wise cracks. (It’s interesting but in this sort of backward way, I bet that dancers learn the original moves better as a side effect of this project.”

First Zombie Belly Dance Class

First Zombie Belly Dance Class


“How you doing there Diana?”, “ Stiff”  “That a girl!”

“Elizabeth, you look horrific! “, “Thank You!”

“ I think I’ll pass on the make up tonight Delilah.”, “Ok , but that means we will have to eat you!”

“ Oh I get it, so this is the class for dancers who have no rhythm and and are stiff?”

“ Come on now, NO JUICINESS!”

“Hey what do you know? Dead Can Dance!”

Join us next week.


In reality the dead moves were hard to maintain and really made us appreciate the living belly dance. We just did 1 hour of twitching and jerking around and we are going to be sore tomorrow I can tell. Regular belly dance celebrates life and in reverse we are definitely hating being dead. Yeowie!