alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (belly dance icon)
After receiving a few belated donations in the last week, I am very pleased to announce that the Hafli for Haiti on Feb. 28 raised a grand total of $1,228 for Partners in Health!  As I said at the event, the need will be ongoing, and just this week Partners in Health announced a three year initiative to help Haitians recover and rebuild.  Thank you to everyone who attended the event or otherwise donated, and:

Thanks to the performers:  Nikki, Jaiyana, Phaedra, Xylinia, Akasha, *Samantha*, Nepenthe, Karim Nagi of Turbo Tabla, Najmat, Aria Beth Michaels, Meiver, Aleksie, Susi, Troupe Moirae, Ashley, Inaya and Ma'isah

Thanks to the raffle item donors:  Aepril Schaile, Ameena, Baseema & *Samantha*, Denise Carrera, Heather Emerson, Karim Nagi of Turbo Tabla, Monica of CA, Nadira Jamal, Najmat, Nepenthe, RT2 Photography, *Samantha Selig*, Shadia, Susi, Troupe Moirae and Za-Beth

Thanks to the vendors:  Designs by J, Hope's Traveling Treasures, Lia Sophia, PartyLite, Sassy Sparkles, Too! and Sunspot Designs

And a huge thank you to everybody who volunteered their time, skills and effort to help make this event the definite success that it was!

I am proud of our community and what we can do when our hearts and minds are moved :-)

shimmy on,

alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
It seems to be the thing to be doing, so my 2009 in a handful of points:
  • started 2009 with my foot still in pretty wretched shape, but by Feb or March the alcohol injections finally killed off that nerve in the ball of my foot, and slowly I've come to be able to count on my feet to be there for me once again.  I still have some resculpting to do (that's really how it feels, like I am rebuilding the way my ankles and feet work) and I'm still not 100 percent pain free but I'm optimistic that to a large degree I can change what nature and nurture dealt me and have strong functional feet again.
  • lost a fair amount of weight but more importantly gained a lot of strength in my legs and core.  I feel I have a lot more power in my movements now, whether it's dance or yoga or just daily activity.  I like this and I am determined to keep it.  It's hard work but it's rewarding.  On a related note, with the exception of the last two weeks or so, I've been happy with the diet I've created for myself--not diet in the sense of weight loss program, but diet in the sense of well rounded nutrition, food that tastes good and sustains me. 
  • Danced in a variety of different venues, and in the process have been sounding out what is important to me as a dancer in terms of my goals and ideals.  Definitely a work in progress, some lessons are not always so pleasant, but it's part of being an artist.
  • Lost my ferret Ianto, but that was tempered by being so glad that we were able to give him a good loving home in the evening of his life.  He was such a sweet fellow, with his little Ianto prancing walk.  And his loss meant that we were in the right place at the right time to give a home to Edgar, who is quite the endearing character and brings us much joy.  Little Sisiutl has stayed a constant, deepening her bonds with me and welcoming the new guy along with us.
  • Got a Zipcar membership and started driving regularly again, for the first time since 1995 or so.  It's been very freeing and liberating, and nowhere near as scary as I thought it would be.  I've enjoyed driving a variety of different cars through Zipcar, and I've equally enjoyed not having the responsibility of car ownership.
  • Took the kind of plunge I'd been promising myself I would do for *years* and applied for a new job which represented a step up in my career--and got it!  The whole process went so smoothly it was like a dream, and clearly meant to be.  I'm very happy in the new job, while grateful for all that I learned in the old job.  Executive Assistant may not seem like a glamorous or important sort of career, but trust me, all your companies, non-profits, universities, etc would fall down without talented and intelligent people providing structural support.
  • Held Raks Spooki IV--I can't believe it has now happened four times!  I made a leap of faith that the market was still there even in this economy and moved to a larger theatre, and my faith was pretty justified.  Lots of thoughts for how to run next year's!  As always, the variety of creativity and talent on display in the show was humbling to me as the organizer.  I'm very proud to be able to put on this show.
  • Bought an iPod Classic, which seems like a small thing, but I am loving it so it bears mentioning.
  • Set in motion the process of renting regular studio space in a quiet place, something I have been deeply craving for a long time.  The studio is part of a small artists' community and I am excited about the synergy of that as well.
For 2010, I essentially just want to keep on track with the things I've been doing well.  I need to be a little better with keeping up with foot exercises.  I am really looking forward to utilizing that studio time.  We will have our tenth wedding anniversary in 2010.  I want to get out to more concerts, live music of any style that strikes my eclectic fancy.  I definitely want to travel outside of the Boston area for dance workshops more often.  I want to keep learning more about mixology, and get brave enough to start making drinks up, drinks that actually taste good.  In the end, perhaps none of those things are individually that important, but in sum they equal the process of building my life onward and upwards, improving what I can and accommodating what I can't.

Happy New Year, everybody!  May the triumphs and joys of the past year continue to sustain you, and may those you have lost live on as beautiful memories within.
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (belly dance icon)
Was very happy overall with how Raks Spooki went last night.  A huge thank you to the dancers, my zombies, to everyone who helped with publicity, and to everyone who came to the show!  There were some problems with lighting through the first act, which is frustrating since one of the reasons I moved the show upstairs was so that there wouldn't be such problems, and the show start was delayed due to all the cds having to be loaded onto a laptop, but those were really the only problems through the whole night.  By the end of the night, the sound/lighting guy was super enthusiastic about the show and wants me to get in touch with him in advance for next year so that he can, as he said, set it up perfectly for us.  Unfortunately the first act won't have much in the way of photos, and who knows how the video will turn out for that act.  But the dancers were all wonderful to work with and everything else went smoothly.  I am really looking forward to watching the video so I can see everything I missed--even when I had a chance to watch performers, half my brain was somewhere else.  I have a bunch of thoughts about next year already.  It's a good sign that even as I am done with this show and taking a well earned day off, my brain wants to think about Raks Spooki V!

I enjoyed performing my piece as well, my zombie zeffa and gothic shamadan.  I danced to Wuste by Einsturzende Neubauten, with a general concept of dangerous but loving truth hidden in the dark deserts of the heart.  I didn't have a specific mythological character in mind, but in a way I'd say it's my first goddess archetype piece.  Hope I can do it again somewhere.

Apparently FedEx tried to deliver my iPod this morning before we woke up, and so we did not hear the doorbell :-(  I'll have to wait for it until tomorrow.  At least today I'm getting iTunes all set up, it's taking a while to import all my music and convert the wmp files.  Then when I get the iPod I'll be all set to start loading it up!
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (belly dance icon)
I do not believe there is a muscle in my body that does not ache and I have definitely set myself back in recovering from this plague, but it was entirely worth it!  As another dancer observed yesterday, Yousry's incorporating a lot more Modern Cairo style into his choreographies, while still maintaining that distinctive Yousry Sharif flair.  It's not always what I would choose to do as a dancer, but I loved the opportunity to learn his choreography and gain some insight into how he puts movements together.  The workshop was both a physical and mental challenge, and exactly what I didn't know that I was longing for right now.  Class is great every week, DVDs are wonderful, but there is nothing like the intensive bootcamp experience of a challenging workshop with a true master.

Also saw Lola's new studio in Pawtucket, RI on Saturday night and had a great time there.  I would not have thought I had any dance left in my body, but the band was so amazing that I could not stay seated (Mitchell, and drummer George starts-with-an-R who is about the best I've heard in Boston).  Nepenthe did what I thought was one of her best performances ever, really feeling the music, and I finally got to see Lola dance.  I'd like to see more of her, she's got it going on.  Other performances were enjoyable as well, as was all the company.

I think I will sleep until 4pm tomorrow, dreaming of cross steps and khaleegi and kanouns.
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (belly dance icon)
and I have the video to prove it:

That's from Shimmies for a Cure held yesterday in Somerville, MA. It was a benefit for Dana Farber and around $4,000 was raised! I feel very honored to have a skill that I can give to these events that raise so much money for good causes. It really was a wonderful show with so many great performers. Samantha and Baseema also put on one of the best run shows in town, so it was a pleasure to be part of from beginning to end! I even won a couple of things in the raffles, breaking my long-standing losing streak: a signed Leyla Jouvana and Roland VHS, and 1-2-3 Bahaia, which I think is more of a beginner level DVD but I admire her dancing so I'm be interested in watching it.

Still sicker than sick. I reorganized my filing cabinet and went through my stationery/painting supplies this afternoon and it has left me exhausted. I think breathing all that dust was no good for me. Ah well--I feel absolutely no compunction to do anything at all productive for the rest of the day!
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (belly dance icon)
I had a great time performing at Za-Beth's holiday hafli yesterday, even if there weren't any unicorns to be found on Unicorn Park Drive (the location of the hotel where the event was held), much to my disappointment.  There were a *lot* of belly dancers, though, about four solid hours' worth.  Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing...  I enjoyed so many of the performances, though, especially seeing some dance friends doing debut performances, and even had some energy left to dance with the band at the open floor dancing at the end of the event.  One--make that two--major complaints though:  the food available was somewhat gross, not as described and *taken away* before the first intermission, when people might be wanting food, and the second quibble would be that the bar was closed.  Though the latter is probably just as well, given the lack of food.  Vending was pretty good--I bought a pair of Sharifwear pants, the assuit gothic pants (how could I not?).  They'll need hemming since Sharifwear pants seem to be made for people who are at least 6'6", but I've wanted a pair for a while so I'll happily hem.

I don't have the video of my performance ready for posting yet, but I was honestly very pleased with it so it will be posted.  I can still certainly see all the usual things that I need to improve on, but they aren't what jump out at me first.  I didn't realize I was singing along most of the time, but I do love that song so much!  It's the right kind of music for exactly the kind of dancing I want to be able to do, on the Egyptian side of things.  Hopefully I will get mine and Nepenthe01's videos off the camera and cleaned up and converted tonight.

One of the best parts of the day was actually the car ride home with V and her fabulous international posse--the posse's unrestrained commentary on the performers was blunt, honest and hilarious.  They go with her to enough dance events to have fairly informed taste and judgment, and certainly have strong opinions about what is entertaining and what is not, while being very open-minded about size, age, etc.  It was an excellent way to end the event.
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (belly dance icon)
One doesn't often get to say "In yesterday's dance workshop I pretended to be a werewolf and then ill-advisedly bit a zombie, where upon the zombies ate my brains," but that is in fact one of the many things I can say about yesterday's dance workshop with Djahari of Desert Sin.  I went into the workshop a bit skeptical, due to previous modern dance experience which was good for me but somewhat painful.  The first hour or so of the workshop felt essentially like the first half of the modern dance semester, and I came *this* close to bailing when the contact improv was announced.  However I ended up with a really fun little group of dancers, which made all the difference in the world.  And from there the workshop became significantly more interesting.  The first half or so was concerned with creating arbitrary rules for yourself or for a group of dancers to see what possibilities might emerge.  For example, we had an exercise in which you could do any dance move you wanted, so long as your head stayed in contact with the floor at all times.  That's not a way one is ever likely to perform, but it does make one think about one's body and its possibilities in a new light.  The second half of the workshop was more about emotional content and character portrayal, how we express these things through our bodies and our faces (together and separately).  That's where the werewolf and the zombies came into it; my half of the group was given the assignment of being inhabitants of a house of horrors.  Finally at the end of the workshop we learned a few minutes of a Desert Sin choreography about carniverous mermaids to see how all the techniques we'd been learning fit into the process of creation, with Djahari giving us insight into how and why each movement was created and chosen.  Djahari is a very good teacher, keeping the pace going and very warm and personable and smart.  The workshop attendees were a very good bunch too, everybody game to try each challenge.  There was a lot of laughter in the studio.  All in all, it was very productive and enlightening (and validating in some ways too, as I'd been using some similar thoughts in creating my Tituba piece), and I would definitely recommend the workshop to any dancer (of any genre, except maybe somebody advanced in modern).

I was pretty happy with my performance that night.  Again, it would have been far better not to have gotten sick this week, but I was able to draw upon the feelings of being sick and disoriented and weak to help create something.  I do think it was a stronger piece after taking the Desert Sin workshop than before, which is probably about the best praise one can give a workshop experience.  And I got through it without any coughing, miracle of miracles!

I was able to see most of the show and was very impressed with all the creativity and conceptualization on display.  Every piece was thought provoking and moving.  And Desert Sin, oh my.  Provocative doesn't begin to describe their exploration of cultural attitudes about female mastubation.  I will never hear that Bjork song the same way again (I can even attest to that for a fact, as my mp3 player served it up on random during this morning's commute).  I gather they do a regular show in New York once a month--I think it would be worth the effort to see some time.  I can't wait to see the show video so that I can see everything from closer, having spent much of the show up in the balcony without my glasses.

I had a celebratory beer--oh yes!--when I got home last night, first in I don't know how long.  It tasted good and didn't make me sicker.  I feel like somebody took a sledgehammer to my IT bands today though, and the bottoms of my feet hurt.  Not the muscles of my feet, just the surfaces.  And I've got a mysterious enormous bruise on my right knee.  I think I got that while being a werewolf, or started it then and made it worse with the backbend drop in my performance.  But it's all worth it!
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (shinymaia)
Day two of the Arab Dance Seminar contained still more fabulousness and energy and warmth.  We started right off with an hour and a half dabke class taught by Karim, which was so, so helpful.  My shins ached by the time we finished, but I think I have a decent handle on some basic steps now.  I couldn't always get the quick hoppy heel-toe accents that make dabke so distinctive, but at least I could mostly put my feet down in the right order at the right time, often without even looking at them ;-)  After dabke came a great Saidi class with Cassandra.  We started without canes, since as Cassandra said the Saidi people don't grab a cane every time they want to dance.  It was great to really focus on the quality of the movements without also focusing on cane technique.  As with her raqs sharqi class the day before, the movements weren't new to me, but some of her explanations and layering of detail were new, so it was quite valuable.  I've done enough cane that I found this class very relaxing after all the intense concentration of the dabke.  There was some horsey hoppy stuff that my feet were just not going to do after all they'd been through already, but at least I've seen it and had it explained to me.

After the break, we did Bedouin dance with Kay Hardy Campbell, sort of the folklore/folkloric version of the Khaleegi dance we'd done the day before.  Again, I loved wearing my thobe--I feel like the Queen of Sheba in it.  Once we'd learned some movements, we formed a big crescent and Kay danced around the line, pulling dancers out to do little solos--solo feels like the wrong word, but I'm not sure what is.  Individual celebration in front of the group to reflect the feelings of the entire group.  There must be some long German word for that.  Anyway, that's what we all did in turn.

Then came the trance dance portion of the seminar, a profound and powerful way to close the event.  this gets long )

All in all, I feel that the seminar provided me with not only technique and movement vocabulary but more importantly, a real feeling for what these dances mean to the people who practice them as part of their regular lives, not playing dress up and putting on a show but expressing thoughts and feelings about themselves and their communities.  And the weekend also gave me a deeper appreciation for musical structure and understanding of how music and rhythm relates to the dances.  One of the most excellent points about the seminar was that there were live drums being played all the time.  Even if the live drummer was just accompanying recorded music, having a live drum in the room meant that we could *feel* the rhythm vibrating through the air, adding tremendous energy to the room.  The instructors were all warm, patient and kind, and I would take anything any of them taught again in a heartbeat.  My body is beyond exhausted--it was genuinely hard to get out of bed this morning, nothing in particular hurt but everything felt like lead--but if I heard of a class any of them offered this very evening, I'd be there.
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (shinymaia)
how did I still have energy to dance at the concert tonight?  I do not know.  I suppose it helped to discover that when it said "students of Kay Hardy Campbell performing Khaleegi" on the program, that meant *us* from the workshop, not a group of her regular students.  I didn't have my thobe with me but one other woman also didn't, so we declared ourselves the modern girls who don't bother with thobes (something we did cover in class) and joined the crowd on stage.  We didn't do any choreography, just danced.  It was joy.

Everything is so amazing.  Amel Tafsout is a force of nature.  She doesn't exactly break things down, but I felt like her desire for us to learn things was strong enough to make us learn them.  We did a session of North African dance with her.  Then there was raqs sharqi with Cassandra, whom I now have tremendous respect for.  It wasn't exactly anything new, but her ways of explaining the physical mechanics behind some moves was unique and highly useful.  After the lunch break, we put on a couple of Egyptian weddings, with people in the class playing all the different roles, bride and groom, their parents, the raqs sharqi dancers, the troupe of shamadan dancers, the little kids with the candles and Quran, the drummers and the guests.  It was enormous fun and I thought a pretty effective teaching tool in what goes on at a big huge wedding.  On the first run-through I was a raqs sharqi dancer in a group led by Bhuz's Dahab (a fun lady to dance with) and in the second run-through I sat back and watched it all as a guest.  Also sang a wedding song in Arabic over and over, clapped and zaghareeted my tonsils loose.  Then to close the day, Kay Hardy Campbell taught Khaleegi technique and a choreography as a big group dance.  I love love love my new thobe, and I really really enjoy the dance.  Would love to find more opportunities to learn about it and perhaps perform it.

And then the concert--Cassandra is one of the best Egyptian style raqs sharqi dancers I have ever seen in person, maybe *the* best North American I've seen.  Just my opinion, of course, but I found her hugely inspirational.  Rachid Halihal's violin taqsim during her Leylet Hob-based set was breath-taking and her interpretation of it was exquisite.  I kept forgetting to breath.  The musicians were amazing (their Ya Rayah was a huge highlight for me).  Amel Tafsout did a powerful guedra (using veil fans in place of scarves, funnily enough given all the talk about veil fans lately) which morphed into a high energy I believe Algerian piece.  Dahab and Meiver did lovely performances as well.  The khaleegi bit was the last dance performance of the show; as that ended we went off the stage into the space in front  of the seats and everybody got up and danced for several more songs.  I sat out much of that since there was a lot of dabke and I want to save my knees and feet for tommorrow.

Speaking of which, dabke at 10:30 tomorrow morning, so I really ought to put these tired bones to bed.  Then Saidi, Bedouin, hadra and zaar.  This weekend will knock the stuffing out of me, what with the Mass Morgue performance at the end of it, but my heart is singing and soaring with the exhaltation of it all.
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Voodoo Dolly)
Just learned on MySpace that Wade Robson got an Emmy for the Hummingbird and Flower choreography--that makes me so happy!  It's so deserved.  I just wish the dancers could share in the award, because it wouldn't have been the same piece with anyone but Hok as the hummingbird.  Jaimie was good too, but he made it special.

Speaking of dancing, I had a blast performing at Ceremony last night.  Thanks to all of you who were there to help create a wonderful supportive audience!  I've been working with that song (Siouxsie's Into A Swan) for a while but that was the first time I performed it in front of people.  I was happy with how it went and I'm really looking forward to performing it again at Raks Spooki after working on it some more. There is just something about that song that grabs me and pulls, the way all your best "OMG This Is the Best Song Ever" songs do.  I felt like I was able to get some of that across in my performing.

I am also very glad I did not take out the disco ball or any of the lighting with my wings.  To my great relief, I was able to keep my windmill turns stationary enough to stay underneath the small bare area of ceiling just behind the disco ball ;-)
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
So, I danced with my shamadan yesterday. The major unfortunate discovery of the day is that the sticky stuff I used to hold the candles in place gets melty in the hot sun and high heat, so I lost a few candles during the show. OTOH, I think I dealt with it professionally and I didn't step and slip and fall on any of them. It's not so obvious when the video is shrunk down to YouTube dimensions, so here you go:

That rumble towards the end of the shamadan part was indeed thunder. That doesn't really put your mind at ease when you've got a big old lightning rod on your head, but luckily the rain and storming held off until after the show was finished. I have a million technical criticisms of myself, as per usual, but I think the shamadan part is not bad for a first performance with it, apart from the candle issue. I think in both songs I rushed things a bit, or rather didn't stay with some movements long enough. But, whatever. I'll happily accept shamadan tips/critique from any experienced shamadan users!

The show was a ton of fun. We had a dedicated audience who had come for the show, and several passersby who stopped to watch. Each of us did something really different, so it was a really nice variety of performers. A little girl came up to me afterward to express how totally cool my shamadan was, so that made me feel quite good :-)
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (shinymaia)
I had lots of fun at the Athenian Corner last night.  I did have video that I liked of my drum solo, but something happened in the transfer from the camera to the computer and now the file won't open, and of course I had deleted it from the camera before I realized this, so nobody who wasn't there will ever know how fabulous I was ;-)  The camera's battery had died about two beats before the end of the drum solo anyway, so it wasn't complete.  I did watch it last night on the tv though, so I did get to use the footage for what I wanted it for, feedback.  I was pretty happy with it; the parts that felt eh in performance were eh on film, but the parts that felt good looked good.   My lower back posture still needs work, but my shoulders and upper back are pretty solid.   A local drummer who had never seen me dance before told me how much he liked my dancing and was shocked that he had never seen me before, which I took as a compliment.  Live music is so much fun; sometimes I wonder if I should just grit my teeth and do AmCab style routines so that I can have more live band experience.  I don't know.

couple of photos from the show )

In the realm of things I never thought would come out of my brain, while doing my makeup before the show I thought to myself, "I really need some pink glitter..."
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
I've got two new videos, actually--I just posted the footage that Nadira Jamal took of me at Shimmies for a Cure on YouTube. See me swing a cane, slinkily slink and soothe the souls of restless spirits! )

I had a good time at Amira Jamal's recital on Saturday. It was lovely to see the newbie dancers get their courage up and perform their hearts out, or see the improvement in those who have been dancing for a couple of years, and I enjoyed seeing what all the more advanced dancers did. I danced to one of the same songs that I used at the Morocco workshop show, and this time around I danced it like I meant it. Haven't seen video yet but I am much, much happier with this performance of it at least from the perspective as experienced. Totally forgot to do a few things that I usually do, but you know, maybe that's why I enjoyed it more.
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
On Saturday, I recorded the Florida Derby while I was off at Shimmies for a Cure.  The favorite, Big Brown, was a very striking horse despite the plain name.  In the pre-race commentary, it was noted that Big Brown suffered from regular foot problems, whereupon I declared him my favorite (as did M, who will watch the occasional race with me).  Lo and behold, he took off from the gate like a powerhouse and never let up until the finish line, winning in beautiful style, clean as a whistle and ears up, ready for more.  He'll almost certainly be aimed at the Kentucky Derby.  The track at Churchill Downs is notoriously hard and thus will pose challenges for a horse with problem feet, but if he's in the race, you can believe I'll be rooting for him.

My weekend was pretty similar to the horse's, though I undoubtedly ate fewer oats.  Walked out the door for Shimmies for a Cure on Saturday not even sure if my foot would get me there, let alone dance, but walking loosened it up the inflammation a bit to where the foot worked, albeit painfully.  I was on late in the show, so I had the chance to see much of the lovely dancing--particular highlights for me were seeing [ profile] kinadancer  dancing to El Hantour in her stunning new Sahar, Lilya's breath-taking veil poi, Nikki's fluid acrobatic sword balancing, Ela's beautiful clockwork dolly (and perfect save when the music cut out), and above all Najmat dancing to Leylet Hob, Taht il Shubbak and a nice long drum solo.  There are very few dancers who can do a five minute drum solo without losing audience interest, but she could have kept on going as far as I was concerned.  I feel so privileged to have her as a teacher.   The whole event was wonderful.  Samantha and Baseema put on such a well-coordinated show; they truly are treasures of the Boston belly dance scene.  It was all a benefit for Dana Farber, to make everybody feel even happier.

I was pretty happy with my own performance; once I was on stage, the endorphins kept the pain at bay, and I felt happy and relaxed.  Once my zar began, my feet were about the last thing I was thinking about.   I don't choreograph my zar any more ; it's a lot more intense that way.  There's an incredible feeling of pulling all the energy in the room and exploding it, for lack of any better terms.  There was video taken, so I suppose I'll be able to see how it all went.

Today M and I went to Regal Reptiles in Providence with [ profile] sanguineempathy  and B, where we fed tortoises lots of lettuce.  I also petted an alligator and cuddled with a very sweet little bearded dragon.  He was such a nice little lizard--I'm sure he liked me because my hands were warm, but when I handed him back to the keeper, he grabbed onto my sleeve and tried to stay with me.  It definitely made me a bit sad, reminding me of Seti at the vet's (the bearded dragon was even roughly the same color as Seti), but it felt good to hold a little animal again.  I don't think it will be much longer after the Vegas trip that we get more ferrets.

My foot is definitely improved today over yesterday.  Constant icing and 24-hour ibuprufin seem to have done the trick.  Still very skeptical about getting that next shot...
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
Al-Ahram Orchestra's album Ya Habibi is disappointing.  Oh well.

Frustrating commute this morning in the icebound land.  I could see my bus coming down the street but there was no way to move any faster, and so I missed it.  I think my brain froze while waiting for the next bus and has yet to thaw.

Friday night I saw The Golden Compass.  I am a huge fan of the books and I was not disappointed--I was expecting basically a lavishly illustrated condensed version of the book, and that's pretty much what it was.  The polar bears were the best.  The casting was all very good.  I did think I was going to lose it when Lyra and Pan are in the intercision chamber.  That scene hit a little too close to memory.  But on a more positive note, it was great to see a ferret* prominently featured in a movie without any stupid jokes about biting or being smelly.

*technically Pan took the form of a polecat, not a sable ferret, but recent genealogical research shows that polecats and ferrets are probably the same, in the sense that wolves and dogs, particularly husky type dogs, are the same.

Saturday I watched The Omega Man with Charlton Heston and the older movie starring Vincent Price, I forget what that one was called but it was the same story.  It was an interesting study in contrasts and sociology.    Then off to a birthday party.  It was good to catch up with people.  Also, balls.

Sunday I had my show at the Middle East.  I was not really feeling it when I got there, but getting into costume helped psych me up.  I finally fixed the headscarf that goes with my assuit dress and I'm glad I did, it totally put me right into character.  It was a good audience, plenty of dancers and Arabs, so everybody sang along to Taht il Shubbak.  I did not hit anybody with my cane.  I did of course hit the metal thing above the door.  My drum solo went better than it did in rehearsing, or at least so it felt.  I was very bad and did not ice my knee afterwards and so today I am in pain.  Luckily we've got some ice packs at work, so I'm icing it every couple of hours, which seems to be helping.  I see the podiatrist tomorrow to review my x-rays, I'm hoping for a concrete plan of action as a result.

Hassan Abou El Seoud's album Shik Shak Shok is not at all disappointing.  Yay!
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (shinymaia)
Just got back from Za-Beth's holiday hafli, where I stood around approximately forever waiting to dance to the live band.  Half the audience had left by that point, partly because of the incoming snow but largely I think because the event was just too darn long.  Nepenthe and I had talked to the band leader before the show to discuss our music choices, and we gave him our names and song titles written on a piece of paper.  I struck out on any of my choices so settled for Aziza (which would have been fine, I like Aziza).  The first sign of trouble came when Nepenthe went on to dance to Sawwah, and the band launched into Ya Mustafa.  So when I went on, I did not get Aziza.  I have no idea what the song was that I performed to, and I silently sent out enormous thanks to Amira Jamal for making me dance to random AmCab music all these years, because otherwise I would have panicked.  I did a very random rather perplexed sort of performance, when I had been expecting to dance to a song I knew well and could give my all.  I didn't feel like I could even focus on the drum solo section very well.  I know it will turn out to be a good learning experience, and certainly proof that you never know what will happen with live bands, but for the moment I'm distinctly disgruntled.

Possibly the songs were all messed up because Za-Beth was switching the schedule all around--next time I might write a description next to my name, "red hair, blue costume" or something like that.  Nobody else got Aziza, though, so I'm inclined to think the band just did whatever the hell they wanted. 

I did enjoy watching a number of the performances, so it wasn't a wasted day .  Phoenix's Moirae were lovely, and they used great music, earthy yet high energy.  Najmat was hot as always, and Johara did a holiday number complete with blinking lights on her costume.  It was interesting to see Sabrina's troupe do the same number as they did for Raks Spooki, only for this show they did it dressed all in white and gave it a completely different feel.  She's training that troupe really well, it's not a small thing to know a choreography well enough to be able to play around with the emotional content of it.

The snow is pretty.  When I got on the bus to come home, all the people stared at me, and I thought wtf?  everyone who gets on this bus is covered in snow!  Then I remembered the full stage makeup.  Oh well!


Nov. 19th, 2007 12:42 pm
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (tarnished)
Raks Spooki II has now come and gone.  I think this was my favorite of all the events I've put on so far--everybody was so on their game and into their music.  I was just so proud to be able to provide a venue for people to present this kind of work to a welcoming, enthusiastic audience.  I loved seeing the goths expressing themselves, I loved seeing those who wouldn't really call themselves goths exploring powerful/darker themes in their dancing.  I loved looking over and seeing a little gothic belly dance shopping mall with all the vendors set up.  I loved seeing the rapt attentive faces of the audience, spellbound by the presences on the stage.  I loved seeing friends blossom like night jasmine and reach new places in their dancing.  I loved the music.  In short, all was full of love.  Dark spooky gothic love, but love nevertheless.

Still some issues with the venue--the music was SNAFU as we pretty much expected, but thanks to Mr. [ profile] meddevi  we were able to get the house sound up and running for the second and third acts, and my boombox was more or less adequate for the first act.  I wish I'd remembered to turn off the bass boost, because then we could have turned it up louder before distortion set in.  And there was a little thing with the stage lights that thankfully I was mostly oblivious to, and resolved itself easily enough in the end.  At one point, it did look like we had no sound and no stage lights, and that wasn't really a very good point for me at all.  But I was able to maintain my equanimity, and Maman Brigitte, to whom my performance was dedicated, was smiling on us and fixed everything.

Huge thanks to [ profile] rojagato  and [ profile] talesinsdaughtr for taking care of the door--it takes a big load off of me as the event producer to know that I have good reliable people right where I need them :-)

Sashi was a wonderful teacher and a great human being--I would really like to have her back if I can raise more awareness about who she is and what she has to offer around here, and also hopefully time things better in terms of the other events going on around town.  I gained a lot just eavesdropping on her workshop while I was doing administrative stuff and yoga in the other studio.  Her dancing of course totally rocked.  I loved the subtle quality to a lot of her movements, and her musicality and timing is superb. 

I barely remember my own performance, but I enjoyed it, I think.  I like surprising people with the sound of the anklets.  One dancer in the audience told me that the sound made her skin crawl, to which I said "Good!" ;)  The one photo I've seen so far definitely has the look I was going for with the piece, so hopefully I'll like the video when I see it. 

After the event I ate an entire small pizza, made myself a hot toddy and fell asleep on the couch before I reached the bottom of the mug.  Between all the work that went into the event and my lingering plague, I am completely wiped out, but I'm already thinking about next year...  muahaha! *insert evil plotting laughter here*
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (shinymaia)
In which I try to collect some thoughts about the Dina weekend.  This will be long. )

All in all, very intense and I can honestly say life changing.

Ceremony's show went well, if darkly, on Monday.  My turning's already improved just by thinking about it, I can tell.  There seemed to be a high level of enthusiasm for Raks Spooki--maybe I should have made the financial plunge on the big theatre, but that just wasn't in the cards this fall.  Then I danced the night away, slept five hours, got a deep muscle massage (she worked on my abs, which felt odd but freeing), worked, and went to dance class where I hit a real brick wall of muscle fatigue.  I just couldn't stop dancing though.  Took a long hot bath when I got home which helped a bit but I still feel today as though I've gone through a laundry wringer.  Mostly in a good way, though I'm looking forward to a whole lot of sitting on the couch tonight.

Watched some of a Farid al Atrache concert I have on VCD last night--I always think of him as a singer and tend to forget about his oud playing, but man, he could rock that oud.  Truly a virtuoso!


Nov. 5th, 2007 05:51 pm
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
So many thoughts in my head, muscle memories in my body--this was a very important weekend for me.  Dina was wonderful, warm, funny and above all a supremely talented dancer with the ability to communicate.  Certainly her style isn't the usual Western method of breaking things down, but she could do that when asked.  Najmat's class proved to be excellent preparation for Dina's workshop.

Ah, I ran out of words--basically, I'm head over heels in love with Dina and with everything that I learned this weekend.  I'm sure I'll write more later.

Now I've got to get ready for a gothic performance tonight.  So not my head space right now, but in some ways dancing is dancing and I am inspired to keep moving.  So if you are at Ceremony, you will see me...
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
I'm not ready for my mini vacation to be over, but I guess all good things must come to an end.  It's been a good mix of socializing, dance time and husband time--parties on Friday and Saturday, performance on Sunday, anniversary on Monday, and pretty much winding down today, with dance class tonight.  We went to Ole Mexican Grill for our anniversary and had many yummy things.  I was glad to find that they had the almond-flavored tequila back on the shelf again.  I'm not a big tequila person (mostly because my tequila experience has generally been with bad tequila) but I love that stuff.  I will never, ever buy a bottle of it.

Sunday's show went great, I thought.  The Arab guys in the back went *crazy* for the Saad donkey song, singing along and dancing.  For the rest of the night they called me Ya Hmara, which under any other circumstance I'm sure would be not at all complimentary, but I think in this case was a joking compliment.  Either that, or I dance like a donkey myself.  But no doubt they liked the music this time around!  A local teacher who was also performing that night told me that some of her students saw me the last time I performed (to my heavy classical set) and came to the next class talking all about how much they loved my dancing, so that felt very nice, especially since it was the same show where a guy was a jerk about my music choice.  It was very good of her to tell me about that and I thanked her for it.  Boston does sometimes have its little scene issues but I think at heart we do really all look out for each other.  Certainly no costumes get cut up at our contests!*

*true horror story from bhuz, a belly dance discussion board--a dancer left her costume unattended for a few moments in a dressing room during a contest, and came back to find a hole cut into it and a pair of scissors lying along side.  Absolutely horrible!  I believe this was in San Diego.  At every contest I've been involved with here, all of us dancers have helped each other and given each other tons of support and encouragement.  I hope we can keep that feel as the contest trend continues to build.

Had to spend part of my wedding anniversary day redesigning flyers for Raks Spooki because technology hates me, but I like the new ones better than the old ones so in the end I win.  Time to go pick them up!


alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)

December 2016



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