Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"You need a lot of air under the veil to keep it high, try not to smother anybody!" - latest dancing adventures...

Hi all! I'm a little tired this morning, but hanging in there. Before we get into the topic at hand, did you see Catholic All Year's post today about celebrating birthdays during Lent? It's a good one, and immediately caught my attention since this applies to me. Give it a read!

But this winter, dancing has *really* been instrumental in keeping my spirits up, and I thought I'd devote a post to it. Because it's fun, you know? We all need winter fun. :0

During the winter, we don't have as many performances, and so my troupe devotes the time to developing new choreographies. At this point, we don't necessarily eliminate old choreographies from our repertoire, so we have quite a few dances now in the Rolodex files that are our brains.  And with 10 members, many of them new, we often have to change around old numbers to accommodate the extra dancers. So we have new dances, old dances, and new/old dances. As you can imagine, that is a lot of choreography to keep tabs on. But I tell you what! I've read several articles stating that dancing is correlated with lower incidences of dementia. I think the reason is that choreography memorization is good for your brain cells, in addition to physical activity also being good for one's mental condition.


At any rate, our current projects are finishing the fairly new Shaabi number (not my favorite, but I do what I can, it's's a sassier style of dance, and well. I'm not sassy. This is why I never excelled at Jazz :0), reworking the old tray and wings number to accommodate more people (think: large iridescent butterfly wings sweeping all round, we don't want those accidentally clearing a table of its hummus and drinky drinks) and a brand new veil number.

So the new veil number is...interesting. I do so love this aspect of Middle Eastern dance, the gal with the short attention span is never bored, I tell you. There is always something new to learn.

We started last week learning a beautiful arm sequence for the melodic beginning to the song. Lovely, yes? Suddenly, Claire interjects:

"Oh, Tiffany and Amy, you're going to be wrapped together in a big veil for this part. Did I forget to mention that?"

 She had. :0

So, Amy and I are supposed to wrap ourselves into this single giant piece of fabric for the arm sequence, sort of like two peas in a pod. When that finishes, we twirl out of opposite sides to then do this circle thing with the veil ("circle thing" is it's real, technical name ;)), and then lift it up for other dancers to pass underneath. I could tell Amy was worried:

"I'm kind of afraid I'll hurt somebody with this thing."

Yes, this particular veil is our very own Hot Pink Weapon of Potential Suffocation. It's a lot bigger and heavier than a traditional veil, which is made of 3 yards of silk or chiffon.

After everyone else makes their swirly entrance from underneath it, we have to discard this monstrosity without tripping anybody. Fraught with danger, I tell you. This is from the gal who once slipped and fell during a 4th grade production of The Wizard of Oz. I still need therapy over that one. ;-)

Once that adventure is behind us, we're joining in to a happily veil-free footwork sequence that we're going to learn on Friday. We'll see how this goes, but especially because this choreography is being designed for the outdoor festival we perform at each July, I'm thinking a high wind warning could mean not all of us make it out alive.


I love dancing with those girls. So much. Never a dull moment, and the creative inspiration means the world to me. I'm toying with dancing a traditional Baladi piece at the next hafla, oohhhh! That will be a first for me. Excited. :)

Does anybody else have a favorite dance form? Do detail. :)

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