Friday, September 17, 2004

the really sexy part of bellydancing

Especially after last night's incredibly hot show at El Rio, where every one of my participating troupemates danced magnificently and looked really hot, I imagine that there is some prurient interest in what our rehearsals are like. A bunch of babes sweating it out in a too-small dance studio, working on their stomach flutters and chest circles--what's not to like?

Don't read this if you want the image shattered, or at least seriously twisted.

So the way it works now is that on Monday night, there's a company class, and then there's a rehearsal period. Everyone is supposed to attend the first, but the second is limited to those dancers who are in something coming up. During the company class, we drill techniques. Over and over and over and over... many of us wear sweats, and our hair is tied up; the room we use really is too small, so we have to navigate around our piles of purses, coats, briefcases, and platform boots.

This Monday, we worked on balancing things on our heads. It was far and away the funniest thing I've seen or done since joining the troupe last year. In performance, we balance things like swords and ornate metal trays or bowls and pots of fire. Last night, there were a few swords, a few trays, and half a dozen bowls balanced on people's heads.

There were also three Nalgene water bottles, two hardcover library books (yes, they were mine--one on the ancient Persians, the other on the ancient Greeks), and one flip-flop sandal.

Jill put on different kinds of music, and we tried out what we could do--sinuous stuff to the slow tempo pieces, more percussive sorts of thing to the uptempo. Hip drops and shimmies. Level changes. Getting to the floor and back up. Spins. Which are, incidentally, a lot easier with a book than a sword. I'm sure there's a metaphor in there somewhere, but I'm too groggy to dig for it. The music got faster and we got more daring. People started moving around more, doing more Tunisian-style movement (twisting the hips fast on a horizontal plane), dancing with and playing off each other. Trays and bowls were traded for books and water bottles so everyone would get a chance to try the different items. The clanging of bowls and trays colliding or hitting the floor intensified.

When I faced the mirror, I could see that I had the biggest, silliest grin on my face; I could also see that I wasn't dropping my bowl. That should come as no surprise to Alceste, who encouraged my balancing the groceries we'd bought as we walked back to his house a couple of months ago. Can I just mention as an aside how much I appreciate people who don't find my public antics embarrassing? Add to that number Thread, who did not sidle away Tuesday night when we went dancing at Nikkie's and I balanced a cup of ice on my head for a couple of songs. Anyway.

So there's a lot I can't do yet. Taqsim with shimmy and snake arms. Chest circle into hip drop. A convincing Tunisian Box. Most layered things. But. I might have something going in the balancing department. And I take some comfort from the fact that as goofy as we looked Monday, it looked awesome last night. Which might mean that when I finally get up there in my mirror belt and coin bra and makeup and hair doodads and all the rest of it...