Monday, October 27, 2008
Hometown Celebration #1: Dancing in the Street
Belly dancing has gained considerable popularity in our neck of the woods, with lessons and costuming available from several local sources. On Friday afternoon, into evening, the Chamber of Commerce organized the Hometown Harvest Moon Celebration, with local shops on upper Main Street staying open late and offering special discounts, food, and entertainment. Mazahar sponsored this performance of "gypsy-style" belly dancers on the sidewalk in front of the shop. This was a sight to see for the highway 101 traffic rolling past, as well as for little girls who had never seen anything like it.
I first saw belly (or beli) dancing in Bursa, Turkey, in a private home. I was among other teenage girls, and one of the daughters of the household demonstrated the subtle and intricate skill involved in the ancient Turkish-style rendering of the artform. Every part of the body seemed to be able to move independently of the others in specific, difficult rhythms that came together in a mesmerizing presentation. And the girl was just wearing an ordinary outfit of jeans and t-shirt. She managed to teach me to shimmy, but I was younger and skinnier then. I think if I tried to shimmy at this point, I'd hurt myself, and take down a few unsuspecting bystanders as well.