Gilded Serpent presents...
Day Afternoon, my audition
Today I had an audition.
It was my first audition ever! This really is strange, considering
that no one has ever asked me to do this before. I guess other
people just kind of knew what they were getting when I dance.
In this case, I had waited for nearly one year for this opportunity.
If I danced well at this audition, I would be engaged to perform
at a very nice women's luncheon, which is held every year in
October sponsored by a local 12-Step group. I've heard that women
from around the Western states attend, and the planning committee
takes great pride in providing quality, spiritual, entertainment
and a guest speaker. I had even heard that the food was fantastic.
As for me, how
could I lose? I BELONGED at that luncheon!
I'm a member of that
12-Step group. I'm a woman, and I support all women living in
sobriety. I knew in my heart, that someday, somehow, I would
sword dance for all those wonderful women. I knew that they
would love my performance! They would get chills from my soulful,
sensitive, and sober interpretation of the haunting Turkish Roma
music I use for my sword dance.
The day of the audition
was the typical, hot muggy monsoon day. I arrived at the home
of the woman who was in charge of the entertainment committee.
She was a charming lady, with a very, very large dog who evidently
loves belly dancers! The dog leapt upon me, and thoroughly sniffed
me, including my costume, and the nice lady had to pull her off
of me. A few seconds later, the dog was back, and I petted her.
Her response was a big, wet kiss. Her "mommy" was pleased
that the doggie liked me, but tried to entice the dog to leave
me alone, so I could get ready for my dance.
Ms. Nice Lady set up
the tape player, and cued my tape, while I pulled out my portfolio,
my most recent dance photos, and something I had written about
the connection between sword dancing and a woman's life. I proudly
told her that my performances are appropriate for all ages of
people, that my dances are family-oriented, (and heck!) even
animals like me, as she could see for herself! I tied on my
hair scarves, and then my ankle bells, which seemed to intoxicate
the dog. She heard my bells jingle as I walked into the main
room, and her head lurched up with great interest.
Her hairy face
looked very intelligent, but I did worry if maybe she thought
my bells might be rabbits or ducks or something wonderful
to hunt. She appeared to be drooling.
The lady wanted her
husband to come out and watch me dance too, so I sat and waited
while she went looking for him. The dog also left the room for
a minute, then returned with what looked like a white bandage.
She stood right in the middle of the room, holding this thing
in her mouth, then dropped it. Her mom dragged the dog and her
toy over to a corner where the mommy sat, and after staring at
my ankles, the dog began to chew on her treat with great pleasure.
I like to mentally
prepare just before I perform, but, especially with sword dancing,
I like to be calm. As the calmness began to flow, I pushed the "play" button
on the tape machine, and my dance began. Suddenly, the nice
lady said, "Lisa! If you turn around slowly, you will see
my husband, "B---" standing right behind you!".
I turned around, and sure enough, about 18 inches from where
I was dancing was a quiet man looking at me. "Off" went
the music machine, as he and I shook hands, and his wife introduced
us. I reminded the lady that my name is Lucy. We passed to Mr.
Nice Husband my portfolio pictures and talked a bit more. I told
him about my sword dance philosophy, and then I was ready to
prepare to calm myself again.
The moody music started.
Slowly, I walked out, the bells slowly ringing. I swayed with
the violin, closing my eyes, getting into the music, centering
myself to be willing to open up to the music. The doggy was lying
nearby, chewing, eyeing me with a tint of suspicion. The music
was beginning to build up to the first crescendo, when I carefully
balanced the sword on my head. This is about 45% of the way through
the dance. Suddenly, "DING DONG!", rang the doorbell!
Like an explosions into my dance, 75 pounds of yellow tornado
whirled over, then flung itself at the window by the door, throwing
out some deep, intimidating "WOO-WOO-WOOOFFs" with
a couple of fake snarls thrown in for good measure. I'm certain
that I saw bits of chewed rawhide toy flying out of her mouth,
which really added to the faux ferocity. Her "mommy" let
the "intruder" in. She turned out to be another member
of the women's luncheon planning committee. The dog grudgingly
let her head be rubbed, then plunked herself down on the new
nice lady's feet. We were introduced, and the photo portfolio
of "Lisa" was brought out again. We talked, I answered
their questions, stated that "I'm not Lisa, my name is Lucy",
and then I was ready to start the dance. Again.
The dog still had her
chew toy, and was watching me out of the corner of one brown
eye. As everyone settled in again, I pushed the "play" button
on the tape player, for the third time.
Again I calmed
myself, and centered into my Cosmic, Spiritual Self. But
the Cosmic Lisa, uh..Lucy, was too flustered to feel very
spiritual by now. I had already forgotten where I was in
I figured if I could
get back on track at this audition, I could handle anything!
So, I found the point in the song where the music soars, and
I put the sword on my head. I danced my dance.
I tried to remember
to feel the music, to try to pull my audience in the dance with
me. I did my shimmies, I dipped, and did some pretty good stuff
for a novice. I began to sweat. It was hot, and I was working
hard. I began to wonder when the song would end. Uh-oh! That's
a bad sign. It means that I think I have run out of moves. But
I remembered what my teacher told me. It's okay to repeat moves!
It's okay to not have a move for every bit of music! It's okay
to have silences in the dance! So, I quit trying so hard. I closed
my eyes again, and tried to center my Cosmic, Spiritual Self
one more time. However, Spiritual Lucy had checked out! All that
was left was….. "Lisa", getting tired and hot. The
end of the dance was nearing, but still I hadn't quite regained
my bearings in the music. I stopped, did a dip and twirl while
I re-oriented myself in my dance. I knew that the big ending
was coming, the amazing spin, always a crowd-pleaser. I began
to spin, faster and faster. I used the soft focus method I was
taught, keeping my eye on the corner of the sword as it balanced
on my head. The time for my last turn was approaching…
I began my multiple
spins slowly, then twirled faster and faster. I watched the doggy
carefully as well. I sure didn't want to step on her, and ruin
a budding friendship or lose one of my toes! The doggy was watching
me carefully, just to make sure I wasn't going to attack her "mommy".
She didn't seem to love particularly that shiny, sharp metal
thing balanced on my head. At the 8th rotation, I began to quickly
slow down, so that by the 11th turn, I could stop abruptly, and
keep the sword from flying off my head and whacking someone from
my petite audience.
The music came to a
finale, and I ended in a beautiful pose. Very impressed with
myself, I took a bow.
Suddenly I felt
something strange and gooey on the bottom of my cute little
As my little audience
applauded, I smiled disarmingly and bowed, while I gracefully
tried to wipe my foot off on the very nice carpet. The doggy
was now dozing on the other woman's foot, her soft little jowls
draping over the woman's ankles. The doggy looked very happy.
I took a little peek down at the bottom of my foot. There, nearly
ground into by paste by my INCREDIBLE twirling, was a piece of
heavily-chewed rawhide toy! I played it very cool, and calmly
rubbed it off my foot. Perhaps it is still there in the carpet,
or by now, the dog has eaten it.
The very nice lady
was really into the dancing! She asked me to do another dance,
that she and I found we both love, so I obliged. It's a very
kicky piece, and has a PHAT drum ending! She was tapping her
feet with the music, and gave some cheers of encouragement. They
weren't quite zagareets, but close, so I showed them how to zagareet,
and told them what it means, and promised that at the luncheon,
I'll show the audience how to do it.
I was still a bit flustered,
but was happy. I took off my scarves, drank some more ice water,
and shook hands with the husband and friend. I spied a remnant
of the strange thing that had been glued to my foot, so very
politely, I kicked it under the rocking chair where I was standing.
The doggy opened one eye as I said good-bye to her, and looked
quite benign, but I swear she had a smirk on her face. As I drove
off into the thunder-tinged afternoon, I felt good. Either way,
I think the audition went well. I was able to do some good moves,
and involve my audience. The dog didn't try to eat my ankle bells.
The humans seemed to like me. And I proved my point, that my
dancing is for everyone, not just humans! I know the dog loved
me, because she gave me a little present. And not ONCE did she
call me "Lisa"!
more from Lucy-
I Walk In Pain And Beauty by
I also walk with the Hope
that other dancers will read this and know that they don't balance
on this double-edged sword alone.
Takesh Interviewed by
he was involved in the San Francisco North Beach scene during the eighties
as a drummer while
his brother, Jalaleddin Takesh was a kanoonist and restaurant owner.
We asked him to recall some of his experiences for our North
Beach Memories series.
Dance by Mimi Albert
There's an attitude here toward life, toward the art of movement
in general, which expresses the affirmation of a belief in the
human spirit and its manifestation in oneself, one's gender, one's
position in society.