Helené produced another wonderful bellydance showcase at Don Quixote’s International Music Hall in Felton, CA. As a special treat she invited Light Rain, a musical group that dates “back to the 1900s,” as featured violinist Doug Adamz put it. Actually Light Rain formed in the mid 1970s as part of a growing Middle Eastern music and dance community in Northern California. On this night, Armando, founding member of Sirocco of the same era and a local Santa Cruzan, was invited as guest drummer.
Dance performances by Crystal, Ma’Shuqa, Hala, and Sese were interspersed with open floor dancing. Adamz’s luscious violin music set a mellow tone and everyone danced with exceptional quality. I watched each of these artists as a student to teacher. I tried to empathically leap into their bodies in order to experience their movements somatically. During open floor I attempted to reflect it back out, not the techniques but the spirit of their movements. The ease and confidence with which they danced. Their femininity flowing through my own. I tried to connect with the music and the musicians, to let their sonic expressions drive my kinesthetic ones. I attended especially to the violin, the instrument my father played until the day he died. He once told me that the violin and the human voice register identically in the human spirit; that the music he made on his “fiddle” was his own voice. So for me, dancing to Doug Adamz’s music was like conversing with my father.
In addition to the joyous music and dance, I truly reveled in the companionship of this dance community. I was reminded of how many friends I have here, Helené, Kim, Crystal, Didi, Connie…and many others whose faces and dances I know but whose names I may not. We caught up on the mundane details of our lives—our health, spouses, our economic situations. A disproportionate number of us are either unemployed or deeply underemployed. Some of us are attempting to scrape together a few bucks teaching dance. It isn’t paying the bills but it did pay for my night out at Helené’s Evening of Middle Eastern Dance and Music.
At the close of the evening, Siwa presented a bouquet of flowers and a card to Helené. Helené did not perform or act as hostess this evening because she had very recently lost a family member. But she did dance. She danced in the center of the floor surrounded by her sister-dancers and finding healing in the music of her brothers. This is community at its best.
For my earlier comments about Doug Adamz and my exploration of solo improvised bellydance, see the series “My SITA” at my old blog site: dancedocsthinktank.blogspot.com.
For more info about upcoming local dance events, see “Santa Cruz Dance Events” in this blog.