The Gilded Serpent presents...
never forget my most gentle of beasts, my 14-foot long python," Julius
Squeezer"! Weighing in at 80 lb., Julius was nearly impossible
to pick up all at once.
I had to pull
him from his cage by placing his bottom half around my body
first; then supporting the top half with both arms, I could
complete the lift.
danced with smaller snakes for several years, I had always dreamed
of dancing with Julius. Mr. Squeezer was already eight feet long
when I bought him, and even then, his mass and weight challenged
my 5'4'' frame! Realizing that it would not be possible to dance
a duet with Julius, I fantasized troupe choreography utilizing
Julius as the "King of Snakes" in a multiple-person single-snake
dance. Three of my dancers in Troupe Tangiers welcomed the challenge.
We rehearsed our dance several times. Each of us was in charge
of a section of the snake. I got Julius' substantial head, of course,
since the other dancers were afraid he might bite them. Julius
was relaxed, holding himself perfectly still for each of our rehearsals.
We coiled his length, raised and lowered his body and wove him
around us at different times. He was such a calm trouper inside
big snake debut was a memorable and infamous performance at Raks
Esterady Middle Eastern Dance Festival. Raks Esterady was an outdoor
festival with camel rides, vendors, and continuous dance entertainment.
The festival was produced by Troupe Tangiers in the summers of
1984, 1985, 1986, at a lovely, grassy park in sunny Martinez, CA.
Perhaps some of you California dancers will remember seeing this
spectacle of King Julius, the camels, magicians, and tents.
None of our troupe had thought Julius would react to the crowd or vise versa.
Our dance went well the first two minutes before we removed Julius from his rattan
trunk. The crowd gave a shocked reaction to such an enormous snake. What could
the dancers possible do with him? Did they have control? Would he free himself
from their grip?
sense the panic of the crowd in a shock wave starting at the
stage and radiating to the back rows of spectators, in a serpentine,
developed stage fright, stiffening his body like a giant log, about
to roll out of our tenuous grasp! The dancers kept moving, staying
with their choreography but gripping tighter instinctively to prevent
his possible escape. Julius, sensing he couldn't get loose from
us, decided to wriggle and writhe himself loose from our ever-tightening
grips. We, at this point, managed to contain him with both arms
in four bear hugs down his body!
This "graceful" serpentine
dance was becoming a battle between women and beast, as he
pulled us down to the stage floor along with him. We each
let go of our bear hugs and swooped him back up, with renewed
determination to finish our unusual dance. Safely back in
his trunk he went, hissing loudly for the crowd and us!
What a funny, scary,
brave, and exhausting feat our troupe accomplished that day! Our
audience was entertained far beyond our expectations! Strangely
enough, I could never persuade the ladies to dance with Julius
again. This performance goes down in history of Troupe Tangiers
as "The Legend of Julius Squeezer!"
More stories to come...next..."Have Snake, Will Travel."
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