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 (shinymaia)
I unpacked my package from Syria last night (I'm sure there's a Homeland Security dossier on me now) and discovered that what I received isn't exactly what I ordered, but I'm ok with what I got.  I had ordered a 3-vcd set of Egyptian performers (check), a Farid al-Atrache concert (check) and a Hakim concert (nope), and did not order another belly dance vcd and the new Amr Diab album, but I received both of those things.  Since they're things I easily might have bought anyway, I'm not going to make a fuss about it, though I did let the company know that their order fulfillment isn't quite doing its job.  I also received gummy candy shaped like a cheeseburger.  It is prominently labeled halal.

I watched two of the Egyptian performance vcds last night and I am so happy I ordered the set.  The performances are all from hotels and parties in Egypt, so these are the famous dancers dancing for their own people on happy occasions, not big staged shows, and it's really eye-opening to see the difference.  I'm guessing from the costuming and party wear that it's the late 80s, maybe early 90s.  One of my favorite things in the performances are all the star struck little girls in their party dresses gathered around the dance floor watching the dancers :-)  It's a little hard for me to tell who is featured because while the names are provided on screen in Arabic, it's in a very fancy script and my Arabic deciphering skills are not really up to figuring out fancy fonts.  Some I recognize (a pre-nose job Dina, for example), and at least one so far was labeled in English (Lucy, or as written on screen, Losy).  I think I know which dancer was Aza Sharif, I'll have to check my other footage of her to make sure.  The camera work is standard Arab special effects nightmare and occasionally footage is reused within a single performance, though the beat matching between music and dancer is skillfully done.  Despite the technical drawbacks, I will definitely be coming back to these performances again and again.

Some of the hotel performances were filmed with the same band, which played Manga and Shokolata for different dancers (it wasn't the same band footage mixed into different performances, the singer interacts with the dancers so you can see it's different footage).  The singer and the way the band does Shokolata sounds a lot like Sami Aly, but I have no idea what he looks like so I don't know if it might be him or not.  He and the band are good, though.  I like seeing how different dancers interpret the same piece of music.  It really highlights how much variation there is within Egyptian style, even though some people would have you believe that all the dancers over there are cookie cutter Reda creations.

Wasn't too crazy about the new Amr Diab album.  It's pleasant enough, but it didn't grab me.  Guess I'm one of those low class Hakim partisans ;-)
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
yay, people are signing up for the Tempest and Ariellah workshops!  It's real!

I don't know how I am going to make it through today.  Exhaustion overwhelms.  It was disconcerting to find it still dark outside when my alarm went off this morning.  I am looking forward to Najmat's class tonight, but my split-open toe is still killing me.  I ran out of liquid bandage so my toe is currently held together with a gob of neosporin and a band-aid, though I don't expect the band-aid will hold up very well in class.  Ah well.  We're doing more double cane, I think.  It's amusing how easy one cane seems when you've been trying to work with two at a time.

I did the first half-hour lesson of the Pimsleur colloquial Egyptian Arabic short series last night.  I think if I hadn't previously had that semester of Arabic, I would have been quite lost.  I'm not sure that this 100 percent aural method is going to work for me, but I'll give it a shot.  I am embarrassed to say that I have never really learned to speak another language--I took Latin from junior high school through college, before the more recent educational trend towards having students speak it like any other language.  I can say some things in French after living in Montreal, but I always feel like I'm faking it.  So this will be an interesting experiment.  One thing that bothers me is that a couple of words sound distinctly different as pronounced by the male and female speaker--not just the appropriate gender changes, I know about those, but some of the actual consonants are tough to identify.  One word, when the man says it it sounds like it starts with a "t" but when the woman says it it sounds like it starts with a "b."  At that point in the lesson I very much wanted to see the word in Arabic writing so that I would know for sure what Arabic letter it started with. 

A side effect of watching Egyptian movies is that when I repeat the phrases in the language lesson, I feel like a glamorously made up woman from the 1950s, since I suppose most of the women I have seen speaking Egyptian Arabic are either in the movies or are Dina.  I repeat "I don't understand" and the world goes black and white and melodramatic and I prepare to either slap a man or kiss him, or perhaps storm out the door to lose myself in the nightclubs of Cairo.
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
1.  I now own a muddler.  I shall muddle all the damn day.

2. I talked to Springstep and while they aren't a bargain, they are within the acceptable range.  I'm going to make a concerted effort to get a live person at the phone at the other place I'm looking at during the day tomorrow, but if I don't get anyone, I'll happily go with Springstep.  In fact, the more i think about it, the better Springstep sounds--I'm thinking mirrors will be more crucial to the workshop than a spooky setting will be for the hafli, especially given that Springstep has a perfectly nice stage (it's just bright and blonde wood, vaguely scandianvian looking).  Plus, we can just turn the lights down low.  I'll talk to my financial sounding board M when he gets home tonight, but I think I may have made a decision here...

3.  I have contacted a translator that another dancer was happy with at translatorsbase.com, a site that hooks up people who need translating done with freelance translators, about translating some of the songs I use a lot.  The price the other dancer got was reasonable enough that I can do a few songs a month; it's worth spending the money to really know the meaning of my favorite songs and improve the emotive content of my dancing.

4.  I have some Delirium Tremens to imbibe.  I guess this one is more of an indulgence than an accomplishment, at least until the bottle is empty.  And on that note, good night!

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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
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