A Taste of Dance in Santa Cruz and the MECDA Swap & Shimmy

I didn’t finish telling you about our private Taste of Dance in Santa Cruz workshop. Stephanie Golino offered her living room with its gorgeous view of Monterey Bay. Four of us volunteered to teach our dance to the others for 15-20 minutes. It was a way to introduce ourselves and share the movements we love. Thirteen of us gathered—a dancing coven.

As we listened to rain and hail pound on the windows, Roberta Bristol lead us in a yoga meditation. Rita Rivera got us off the floor with a mini-session in Alexander Technique. This therapeutic technique, nearly 100 years old, has obvious advantages for dancers, though it is available to anyone. The goal is to identify inefficient body mechanics and replace them with safe ways of moving. In order to develop our kinesthetic awareness, we stood, we walked, we stood, we walked. Its not a visual art but a path to freedom of movement.

I taught what I could of American Tribal Style bellydance but having changed my mind about what I wanted to teach on my way there, I was a little unprepared. Still, the point was to give a taste of this modern style of bellydancing so that when they see it, they will understand what’s happening. I think I accomplished that at least.

Beth explained the origins and principles of Continuum Movement. According to the CM website, there are only about 50 people in the world who teach this meditative art and three of them live here in Santa Cruz! Ah, Santa Cruz. To demonstrate the potential of this technique, Beth, on her knees and elbows, began a “wave” along her spine which we, with varying degrees of success, attempted to follow suit.

Finally we got to Polynesian Dance. Mmmmm…I do love to hula. Lorraine Kinnamon is an outstanding teacher and artist and gave us a taste of both Hawaiian hula and its Tahitian counterpart. Lorraine has been selected to study with a master of Hawaiian dance, an extraordinary honor. So, if you’re thinking about taking up hula, you can’t get much better in Hawaii itself.

And if you like the idea of sampling many different styles of dance, you will have ample opportunities at the upcoming NATIONAL DANCE WEEK!

If you’ve been in downtown Santa Cruz recently, you may have spotted these

NDW banner in Santa Cruz

great banners lining Pacific Avenue. Lots of free performances and free classes all over town. If you’re not in this area, look for events near you. Find out what your dance communities are up to. For the Santa Cruz schedule, go here. For the National website, go here.

Kim and I drove over to Los Altos for the benefit flea market sponsored by the San Francisco Bay Area Middle Eastern Culture and Dance Association (herein after referred to as SF/BA MECDA, and even that’s a mouthful). The Swap, Shop and Shimmy event was a nice, smallish affair with about 20 sellers and a small stage for occasional dancing. Part of the proceeds ($5 entrance fee and table rentals) will be donated to Next Door: Solutions to Domestic Violence. There were some great bargains as dancers tried to unload old costume pieces (mostly cabaret) as well as bolts of fabric, rolls of trim, and bags of palettes and silk flowers for the crafty. Kim and I both got coin bras for a steal. Here’s a picture of mine. I won’t tell you how much I paid. You’d just be jealous.

Flying Skirts coin bra

This regional MECDA group is really trying to bring the bellydance community together but so far its reach is limited. The swap meet seemed to be attended mostly by south bay area dancers. Kim and I were the only ones from Santa Cruz. I hope more of us become involved just to show support and meet other dancers. You can check their website for their next event.

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One Response to A Taste of Dance in Santa Cruz and the MECDA Swap & Shimmy

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