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.


Anonymous said...

FAbulous colors. Looks like a lot of fun.

Anonymous said...

Hometown belly dancing, wow!
Picture perfect, your photo.
I'm LOL at your last line. If anyone saw ME trying to dance, they would die laughing.
How did you get to Turkey as a teenager? BTW, there's a synagogue in Jerusalem for former residents of Bursa.
So there is GYPSY style belly dancing? I saw a woman perform only once, in a restaurant in Tangiers; the American tourist men then stuffed dollars into the top of her scant costume. Willits does not have that custom, surely.

Maybe we can get Pope Baruch XVI to start a Vatican City Daily Photo, then you'd have to read. :)

Dido said...

Great picture!!

I have awarded your blog a "Blogging Friends Forever" award. Come and visit Edinburgh DP to pick it up and pass it on!


Halcyon said...

What a wonderful idea! Your community is really active. I like the action in this picture. That little girl does seem to be mesmerized. I bet she's going to hit up Mom for some belly dancing lessons soon!

Profile Not Available said...

Love the detail in this shot! I have to join that club - I can't imagine the damage I would do my back if I tried this now...

USelaine said...

Dina - I was in Turkey for the summer of 1977 as a short term exchange student in a program called AFS, and lived with a family based in Bursa.

Knoxville Girl said...

so many things I like about this photo - the blur of motion, the spotlights that actually hide the dancer's face instead of revealing it, and the happy little kid.
we have a troupe in Knoxville called "Gypsy Hands" and they are very talented - it takes a lot of muscle control to do this dance - and I like that many of the women in the troupe are "of a certain age"

Anonymous said...

shimmy shimmy coco puff...yours and Tash's people may have met on the island of San Miguel

Marie-Noyale said...

They have belly dancing lessons at the highschool as an afterschoo; program!!! gives me idea!!!
The colors here are beautiful

Laurie Allee said...

This might be my new Elaine favorite!

istanbuldailyphoto said...

That is really cool! Great shot.

Petrea Burchard said...

You funny! And that little girl is precious. I can see her skirt moving.

USelaine said...

Abraham - It was fun to see!

Dina - The advertising for these dancers said "gypsy style", but I had not heard of it before. No money-stuffing here!

Dido - Thank you!

Halcyon - She probably has started on her own, after seeing this!

Kelly - There's no end to the things that would hurt... 6^)

KG - Ah, in Tennessee too, is it? I liked seeing some gray hair on them too.

PA - Except he never set foot on it! It was a dark and foggy night...

MN - So that settles it, they are reviving this all over the country!

Laurie - I'll bet they even have them in Mayberry/SoPas!

Istanbul - Thanks!

P - I think she was starting with the Twist.

Thanks everyone!