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The Gilded Serpent presents...
Belly Dance Birthday Bash

by Shaloe Zazahn
photos contributed by Parri

August 9th, 2002
Menara Restaurant, San Jose, California

I’ve heard rumors that Ireena and Parri (the Apeer Productions team) host excellent restaurant extravaganzas, and this one lived up to the reputation. Apeer Productions encourages and supports a wide variety of dancers. Ireena and Parri usually manage to coordinate a live band to play at these events. Walking Maqsoom (Kevin Marshall, Tim Rayborn and Tim Bolling) was the band for this evening - and man, they are something else! With the exception of one 25 minute break, these guys played for the entire 4 hour gig and never faltered!

Our tireless Mistress of Ceremonies for the event was Izora, president of Bay Area MECDA, as well as an accomplished instructor, performer, event sponsor, and troupe director.

A photo sampling of some of the dancers that participated

Emelia, snaked about with a sweet disposition, enchanting us with her red veil.

Q’amar, kneeling in a lady-like position, flit her head and the sword obediently dropped from her crown and neatly perched upon her belly. While the sword rested there, she slowly stood.

Zemira
, (another birthday girl at this event) moved to the dulcet clarinet. The beading of her costume always swayed in time with her rhythmic steps.

I was delighted to get a chance to watch Shira work the crowd and play her zils. Her double veil work was lively and her finale was dazzling.

While the band took a break, Hala was ready to go with taped music and a cane. If her name sounds familiar, well she is the director of the HalaDance Company and coordinated the Mahmoud Reda Oriental Dance show in Redwood City.

Sabra
, half of the Tiger Tribe, wearing a leopard and tiger motif, gave us a challenge when trying to tip her. (Ah, tipping, it’s a sport!) Her arm placement was beautiful, which accented her fantastic chest-pops.

The band is back now, along with the scent of jasmine that filled the room. It is Una, the house dancer, and has been the house dancer for twenty years! She got 6 guys up at the same time to do a "shimmy train" for the entire restaurant (and the 6 guys loved it)! Una respectfully revitalized the term "belly-dance" when she moved a belly chain up and down her torso as if it the chain defied gravity.

With a joyful flurry of skirts and coins Davina boldly enters ! Luscious shimmies and full body quivers, Her upper body work was warm and heart-felt. She was also wearing a leopard and tiger motif because she is the other half of Tiger Tribe. Balancing a plate on her head, she finished with spins that increase with speed then shivered to a stop.

Wearing a demure burgundy and gold cabaret outfit, in danced Jerico, a member of Tatseena’s Good Vibrations troupe and Jizan's Camels USA, made sure to play to audience members that were not able to see the show from where they were seated. Balancing a sword on her head, she crossed the hilt over the top of the sword as part of her routine.

Joyfully playing her zils and wearing deep blue and purple was Adira. She layered her veil work in time to play to the sound of the drummers. Beginning with a fast tempo, then slow, then fast again.

Like icing on the birthday cake, Parri wore a delicate pink and white outfit. Her skills were evident as she entered with an exuberant folksy tune, accented gracefully by pink silk scarves to "stop and go" music from the band. Her routine evolved into a slinky taxim involving very controlled floor work. .

And last but certainly not least, was the spontaneous birthday girl with an exceptional sense of humor. Ireena is spirited and has a joy for the art of belly dancing that just won’t stop. (Perhaps being a student of the renowned Najia has something to do with it.) She layers shimmies and shivers over shimmies and shivers integrated with big, slow, snaky accents.

Well, what an evening! The hubby and I were there for well over 3 hours and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. If you ever have an opportunity to catch a show by Apeer Productions, go, watch, dine, enjoy. You will learn from, and enjoy seeing, so many different dancers with their distinct techniques. It’s worth every minute.

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