The Gilded Serpent
Music and Me:
The Third Sunday at
story provided by Faridha
Written by Najia Marlyz
If you are relatively new
to dance, or simply have not have the inclination to dance in a situation
where live music is provided for you, you will find it challenging to apply
your dance skills and your knowledge of entertainment to the strains of live
whether hot or just luke warm, always confront the dancer with a set
The unexpected can range
from musical arrangements that are different from what one might expect because
it was different in a recording, to a surprise drum solo, to the rapport
between the dancer and the musicians, or the chemistry between the musicians
themselves on any given occasion.
On December 21, 2003, I
had the delightful experience of dancing to the music of Light Rain at
the El Morocco Restaurant in Pleasant
Hill, California. The owner, Mr.
Fadil Shaheen, sponsors a variety of
live musicians playing
for several volunteer dancers on the third Sunday of each month. The able
hand of Yasmine of
the Troupe "Sirens In Sanity" organizes these evenings at the El Morocco.
Light Rain played three selections
for me, as planned, from a play list of their recorded repertoire that had been
provided so that dancers would have a chance to become familiar with their style
and their arrangements. Each dancer chose two selections from the play list
and the musicians chose a third. I chose "Kings Road" and "Amber".
Here I am, dancing my entrance
dance near a table of people, some of whom were the dance students of Jizan from
the South Bay of San Francisco. I imagine that she had encouraged a field
trip to the El Morocco in order to entice some of her own students to try
their skills with the live music
at a later date.
I study dance with a group
taught by Sharifa in
Pleasant Hill and also take private coaching with Najia
Marlyz in Bay Point.
I seem to have lost any butterflies
I may have had at the outset of my presentation.
I am wearing a costume
of seafoam green with white iris iridescent sparkles; it is very feminine
In a restaurant setting,
dancers learn very quickly that the audience divides its attention between
watching the entertainment and their dinner plates. The experience is quite
different from dancing a solo on
a stage with a formal audience facing the stage! Actually, sometimes it is
a challenge of the dancer's personal charisma to see how long she can keep
audience members away from their food.
I chose to play my larger
finger cymbals for this event.
Even at these semi-amateur
nights, audience members like to tip some of the dancers though we don't
expect it. Below you will see some dollar bills that have fallen near my
feet as I dance.
When you dance
in a restaurant, you have to be very aware of your surroundings at all
Dancers need to be careful
because the waiters and waitresses are serving hot food even while we dancers
perform. They move quickly, so it is wise to look back before moving into
though the evening started at 7:30 with a full house of diners, by the time I
danced, it was already 10:30: three hours of music and dance! As I was introduced,
the comment was made that all those who had remained for all that time were the
dedicated, die-hard fans of Belly dance and of Light Rain's music in particular!
I hope to see you here,
on some live music night soon!
Faridha of Danville,
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