Makris, Melusina, and Trisnasari of Underbelly in Seattle
From the Land Down-under, Part 3:
More of Our West Coast Dance Adventure
of Melbourne, Australia
Our third adventure of our
recent tour was a reunion with Paulette Rees-Denis in her hometown, Portland,
Oregon. We had hosted her at Underbelly a month prior, and it was a pleasure
to see her again so soon! By this stage of our tour, we felt finished with both
train and road travel; so, we opted to fly back up north from Oakland.
at the Tribal Lounge and enjoyed a captivating show by
Paulette and the rest of Gypsy Caravan, including live
music by her husband, Jeff, and crew.
Because of the organic nature of the Gypsy Caravan performance, a
trance dance performed by Paulette and supported by her beautiful dancers stirred
and impressed me.
The next day,
Paulette and Jeff, who were exceptional hosts and guides, took
us on a nature tour of Oregon. That night, we delivered a workshop
in the inspiring space that is The Gypsy Caravan studio. The workshop
presented our inspirations and a few key combinations from "Kali",
as we had performed it the previous night at Tribal Lounge.
began the session with a Yoga warm-up, balancing poses, and strengthening
exercises for abdominal, back, and glutei muscles. There are a
few deep backbends and balancing on one leg in Kali that are held
for a while, to put it gently. Mel followed with
some of her Melusina homegrown, new Tribal combinations, including
the fiery, Flamenco inspired, Leo Combination. Kali features
also Flamenco arms and Floreos. I finished with a session
on layering and an exploration of movement that built to improvising
in partners, based around the ideas of "The Shadow",
"The Delay" and "Siamese Twins". The movements
in Kali inspired by the Matrix film, require close, but not always
entirely synchronized, work. In the Whip Movement, we
try to look like we have moved from being one body to a digitally
enhanced body dodging bullets from one side to the next. (Perhaps
you might picture movements similar to those portrayed in the
movie "The Matrix"). After the workshop, we were guests
at a vegetarian banquet at Paulette and Jeff's, and the following
day, we made our second sad farewell of the trip.
In last week
of our tour, we experienced another adventure, laying roots in
Oakland and San Francisco and soaking up the life there. My brother
lives in San Francisco and Andrea's best friend lives in Oakland,
so we were fortunate to have homes there to give us the feeling
that we were really living it.
What is there to see and do in
San Francisco and Oakland? The answer is Belly dance (especially Tribal)!
We had a private
lesson with Jill Parker in Berkeley and went to one of
her general classes accompanied by live music, which proved to
be a fantastic experience for us, We love Jill's style. We had
seen her and Ultra Gypsy at the Undulation Night
on our first weekend, in amongst our Rakkasah festival madness.
We loved that performance and the lessons even more. She exudes
the pride and grace of the American Tribal Style, with fluidity,
accent and posture reminiscent of Egyptian style dance. What a
also went to a couple of classes taught by Tiffany. Both Tiffany and
Jill demonstrated an interest in properly using Polyrhythmic movement in which
the hips reflect one rhythm, while simultaneously the ribs reflect another. Other times, their technique demonstrated rhythm in the hips and fluidity
in the upper body, for example: smooth rib circles on top of loose hip
studio, Mel and Andrea were fortunate to have had an exchange
with matriarch Jamila
Salimpour: Star struck, they stared at her, and she
approached saying, "Hi, I'm Suhaila's mum; I hear you Underbelly
girls are good zillers!"
don't know how that got around, but that's the sort of viral
marketing we like!
Mel were dubious about living up to their reputation but rose
to the occasion, chink-chinking the tricky combination Jamila
presented for them. Where was I? I was sitting in saddle position
and practicing splits in the second hard-core conditioning warm-up
at the studio that night. We had opted for taking two classes
back-to-back, not having heard that all of her daughter's classes
were extremely physical in nature. The next day, I got a massage
and sulked at having missed such a brush with fame!
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From the Land Down-under,
Part I: The Festival by Trisnasari of Melbourne, Australia
In the wings, before we hit the festival stage, Andrea
whispered to Mel and I, “Well, this is our first international
9-12-06 From the Land Down-under, Part
2: Northeast and Canada by Trisnasari. What is happening in Australia, is also happening in America.
Rhea: Greek Flavor and Flair
Article by Rebecca Firestone, Photos by Carl Sermon,
Rhea & Laikis Orientale and Greek Folk Dance Workshop
sponsored by Ma*Shuqa, held Saturday, August 19, 2006, at the
Empire Buffet restaurant, in San Jose, California
Body Beautiful- A Review of Aziza's workshop by Eve
Moving across the country and learning to adjust to a new environment
is never an easy thing, but add in the difficulty of adjusting
to a completely new bellydancing community, and you have a recipe
for ‘Awkward Stew’.
Student Rivalry, Rhythm and Reason Series, Article 16 by
Mary Ellen Donald
"After all I did for her, why did she turn on me that way?"
"I'll show her that I can do just a well without her
Kohl: Drawing the Line by Dawn Devine
Along with henna, kohl has been part of the beauty regimens
of women since the dawn of history, and an unbroken line connects
the eyes of today with those of the ancients.
The Taxim from a Dancer's Perspective:Tarab
or Tyranny? by Najia Marlyz
Sometimes, these improvisations can be quite elaborate.
The effect is somewhat like modern jazz and stays within the framework
of the traditional maqam or maqamat.