Night at the El Morocco in Las Vegas
In my life,
I have danced in many interesting places. I have memories upon
memories – some are good, some bad, and some downright ugly.
I choose to remember the good ones and this is one of the most
treasured of those.
the U.S.A. extensively for about ten or more years with my
husband as he pursued his career in golf course building. Along
the way, one of the joys I had to look forward to was meeting
another group of my bellydance sisters at the next stop which
always made my "wife" existence more bearable.
always a group, always a venue, always classes everywhere we
went. The exception being Las Vegas; I could not connect with
any dance sisters there, although I had met some wonderful
girls in Reno and in Carson City and had danced there.
was fairly overwhelming in Las Vegas, I settled in to the "wife" role
and counted the seconds until we could leave. The only thing
to do at night is walk the strip, unless you have money to
burn and no self-control (neither of which applied to us).
So walk we did for a few hours every night. I had developed
a habit of getting "cool souvenirs" for my bellydance
friends back home in New England, and had hit every "cool" casino
with any name resembling anything to do with belly dance. I
had collected matches, swizzle sticks, coasters, an ashtray
or three, little things. I really wanted the hologram of Apollo
at Caesar's Place, but it would not fit in my bag!
was the one fateful night. On this particular night, we were
only about two days away from getting out of Sodom and Gomorrah
and I was ecstatic! We were going back to Oregon, a great place
for creative alternative dancers like me. So, we were out making
our last "rounds" and the last stop was the old El
Morocco. It was kind of dark, smelly and old
looking, but hey, it WAS the "El Morocco". I absolutely
would not leave Vegas without some of THEIR logo matches. We
went in through the lobby and stopped at the front desk where
I asked for matches.
front desk clerk, who looked like a refugee from a Beavis & Butthead
movie, was non-plussed and gave me a ratty crinkled book
with two matches in it without even looking up from the nudie
magazine he was peering through.
I said, "Are
there more? I will pay for them!" He mumbles God knows
what and pointed toward this dark hole leading into what I
hoped was the bar, as the only thing I understood was "bartender".
I took a chance and entered. Of course, I was accompanied by
my giant husband and so I went boldly into this Darkness.
short "tunnel" opened
onto a scene straight out of an early 50’s Frank Sinatra movie.
I mean it! There were about ten people in there (3 of them
being myself, my husband and the bartender). The others were
seated at one table and they looked like they were on a movie-set.
There were the really over-bleached Connie Stevens blonde with
the tight gown and cigarette holder (no joke), the guy in the
pin striped suit and the big fat cigar, the button men (sidekicks)
and, what looked like, a band as they were all dressed the
I went over
to the bar and asked for matches and received three more books,
in better condition, and a smile from the bartender. So, to
be equally civil, we ordered a coke and a Budweiser. As we
were finishing and about to leave, we heard a voice saying "Hey,
don't leave, we will play anything you want".
God, now we have to stay or be rude. I had a brainstorm,
and retorted, "Well, I only like Armenian music. If
you can play any of that, we will stay".
Now I am,
oh so smugly, thinking: "Hah! That gets us out of here." (And
it usually does.)
To my utter
dismay, I heard "How about "Miserlou"? Huh?
So, okay, the guy is a Dick Dale fan, no need to panic just
yet. But THEN he said "We'll play it if you will dance",
and launches into one of the sweetest renditions of "Miserlou" I
Now the gangsters
are motioning me, as was the blonde (who it turned out was
the singer), to dance. She had broken her hip skiing Tahoe
and could not perform, hence the empty room. Next, they turned
the spotlight on me and now there was no escape possible. I
had no costume, no veil, no zills, and no make-up other than
regular evening make-up and clothing. But, you know Vegas "rules",
I had played bluff poker and lost… big-time.
I went for it! I danced all over the room, across the stage
and all around. When I finished I got a standing ovation
from the entire room, all nine of them.
we sat with these wonderful people and had some more drinks
and some food, sang a few of Frank's tunes (Oh yeah) and made
a lasting memory. Even now with the El Morocco dust under something
new, I remember that night – it's smells, sounds, feelings,
and sights will remain with me even as I become a very old
As it turned
out, the man who said "How about "Miserlou"?" was
an Armenian musician who played with a famous band long ago.
He did not give me his name, nor did I ask, I did not give
him mine either. None of us gave names, instead we relished
the moment of connection and serendipity and then, "The
Moving Finger Having Writ, Moved On". I hope you enjoyed
this little tale and it tells you: " always walk through
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for other possible viewpoints!
in a Rhode Island Summer, June 22, 2007, Performance in Tiverton by
picturesque small harbor view was the perfect venue for this
family event! The performers comprised an eclectic group that
presented varied types of dance. With only one of each of the
different styles, the show moved along swiftly.
Dancing in Las Vegas (part 1 of 2) by Neferteri
I am pleased to introduce a few of “The Divas of
Dancing in Las Vegas- Part 2 by Neferteri
are those good looking and talented men behind the dancers?
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Part 2:- A Gilded Serpent tale, Alex in Wonderland,
by Amina Goodyear
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of the dancers he wished for. Belly dancers are special people
and Alex personally did not understand their basic nature.
Conversation with Dr. Mohamed Geddawi Ahlan Cairo
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Mo is attentive to the workshop participants, giving a breakdown
on each combination, and provides individual attention when someone
has a difficulty. His no-nonsense style of teaching is informative,
making you think about why you dance, how to dance, how to be a
better dancer, and making you laugh.
Night at Wahib's Roxxanne Shelaby's "Pure Sharqi" video
and photos by Lynette
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a special evening of live music and dance, hosted by Roxxanne
Shelaby (Hypzotica Productions), at Wahib’s in Alhambra.
The evening featured the house band, led by Mouhamad Salem, along
with invited dancers Aubre, Alexandra, the Lumina Dance Company,
Debbie Smith, Sahra Saida, and Roxxanne herself, in addition
to the regular house dance company the Sahlala Dancers.
Invitation to Haiku the Bellydance by Najia Marlyz
often does not take itself or its subjects too seriously and
is simply word images and sensory feelings conveyed by means
of three lines only.
from Carnival of Stars 2007- A-Z Page 2- L through
Z photos by Carl Sermon, Duane Stevens, John Kalb,
Murat Bayhan, Christopher Erickson, Lynette Harris
10 & 11, 2007, produced by Alexandria and Latifa Centennial
Hall in Hayward, California
DANCING IN THE '70's, The Cowboy Bar in Montana by Kalifa
of breath, I asked her, "Why didn't you warn me?"