Friday, September 30, 2011

Amoora Dance & Fitness Grand Opening Tonight!

Lacy Perry
Stop by the all-new Amoora Dance & Fitness in Alpharetta tonight for an open house with something for everyone!  Enjoy a tea and dessert buffet, and sample free classes from Amoora's instructors...

Egyptian belly dance technique with SusuHeavy Hips cardio with Isis
Tribal belly dance with Lacy
Bollywood with Farah

And there's more than belly dance...
Yoga with Neeraja
Zumba with Thea
Kickboxing with Mindy

Amoora is located at 214 South Main Street in Alpharetta.  So far they don't have a web site, but they do have a Facebook page... check it out for class schedules and descriptions.  Stop by tonight, meet the instructors, and hear about Susu's plans for the studio.  RSVP to the Facebook event for more details!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Poetry Wednesday

Gustav Klimt,
"Mother and Child" (Detail)
sand castles
Gypsee Yo

My happiness is a sore arm where my daughter’s head rests easy
I’m her favorite pillow and blanket too
They say that every desert was once an ocean that someone forgot to love
So I will rock you like a storm, girl
I will toss wishes down into the wells of your eyes
I will rain stars over your soul
For 40 days and 40 nights to drown the wickedness of doubt
so that your dreams may never run dry

For there are little girls in this world who walk alone
Their lives so tiny, almost invisible
Like grains of sand trapped inside the hourglass of time
And no matter how hard they try to climb
They always end up at the bottom

Others are swept from dirty streets by evil hands
Under the promise of a golden beach
Just to end up thrashed in the dark
Stripped of their pearls
Torn limb by limb
With souls hollow like the seashells washed ashore
And if you place them next to your ear
They say nothing

And some are struck by lightning so many times
That they coagulate into glass
So translucent at first glance
Seemingly perfect and strong
But all it takes is just one scream in the right pitch
And they are cracked open, shattered, and gone

They say that every desert was once an ocean that someone forgot to love
But there is so much sand in this world, girl
And so much dirt in this world, girl
And, oh, so much beautiful glass…

So when it is time for you to walk
Throw me on your shoulders like a blanket
Pull the threads of these lullabies and stitch with them wings
Make a boat with my limbs
And float above the malice and sadness of this world
My arms will be your lighthouse
You can always call me home
Learn how to swim against the current
Sail safely to your shore
Up up
Climb climb
Learn to make castles with the sand
And if you see a little girl
Walking alone on the sidewalk
Run and hold her hand

Gypsee Yo, a native of Albania, is an award-winning Atlanta-based slam poet, performance artist, actress and costumer.  Poem reprinted with no one's permission.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Get Your Fix of Flamenco, Belly Dance, and More at Fanoos Persian Cuisine and Events

Rina Menosky of Aire Flamenco
Under the guidance of the one-and-only Diane Adams, Fanoos Persian Cuisine and Events in Sandy Springs is offering lots of entertainment options for those of us who enjoy world dance and music!  Located at 6125 Roswell Road, Fanoos is a great place to get some delicious Persian food, tea, and comfortable seating while enjoying music and dance.

For starters, there's belly dancing by a variety of talented local performers every Friday and Saturday from 8:00 to 11:00.  But you can also enjoy flamenco by several local troupes.  Dancers from Calo Gitano Flamenco Academy perform on the first Sunday of every month.  And beginning on October 7th, enjoy Aire Flamenco on the third Wednesday of every month.  Aire Flamenco is accompanied by Jean Pierre Verbist; if you attended either of the shows during the Suhaila workshops a few weeks ago, you heard him play some amazing guitar with drummer Danny Stern!

Fanoos also offers live music.  On Thursday, October 6th, jazz pianist William Green performs.  And on Sunday, October 9th, enjoy Latin music with Ecuador's Willie Ziavino.

Reservations are strongly suggested!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Local Troupes Performing Outdoors This Weekend!

This weekend, two local troupes will be bringing belly dance to their local communities with performances at outdoor events.

Jahara Phoenix
Saturday at 11:00, Halleyah's Conyers-based student troupe will perform at the annual Rockdale Master Gardeners Festival in Conyers.

Sunday at 1:30, Jahara Phoenix and Sherar will bring belly dance to Gwinnett County at the Duluth Fall Festival.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Open Stage Night at Pera Dance -- This Saturday 9/24

Kira Lang
Kira's Open Stage Night has a new home -- Pera Dance on Collier Road -- and the inaugural event at Pera will take place this Saturday night.  Open Stage Night is like open mic night, but for dancers.  So if you're looking for performance opportunities, this could be just the thing!  Entry fee is just $7.00, and doors open at 6:30.

This weekend's event is special -- it's called "Raqs Runway," and it's sponsored by Pera Dance Studio and  The evening will kick off with a fashion show featuring the latest from  Kira Lang of the Cross-Cultural Dance Company will perform, and Aya of Istanbul will not only perform, but also provide a taste of her new Saturday class at Pera with  a mini-workshop in Turkish Rom belly dance!  Plus all the open stage performers, of course.   Wine and cheese will be available, but bring snacks of your own if you wish.

RSVP to the Facebook event, or visit Kira's web site for more details!

Poetry Wednesday

Billy Collins

Remember the 1340s? We were doing a dance called the Catapult.
You always wore brown, the color craze of the decade,
and I was draped in one of those capes that were popular,
the ones with unicorns and pomegranates in needlework.
Everyone would pause for beer and onions in the afternoon,
and at night we would play a game called “Find the Cow.”
Everything was hand-lettered then, not like today.

Where has the summer of 1572 gone? Brocade and sonnet
marathons were the rage. We used to dress up in the flags
of rival baronies and conquer one another in cold rooms of stone.
Out on the dance floor we were all doing the Struggle
while your sister practiced the Daphne all alone in her room.
We borrowed the jargon of farriers for our slang.
These days language seems transparent, a badly broken code.

The 1790s will never come again. Childhood was big.
People would take walks to the very tops of hills
and write down what they saw in their journals without speaking.
Our collars were high and our hats were extremely soft.
We would surprise each other with alphabets made of twigs.
It was a wonderful time to be alive, or even dead.

I am very fond of the period between 1815 and 1821.
Europe trembled while we sat still for our portraits.
And I would love to return to 1901 if only for a moment,
time enough to wind up a music box and do a few dance steps,
or shoot me back to 1922 or 1941, or at least let me
recapture the serenity of last month when we picked
berries and glided through afternoons in a canoe.

Even this morning would be an improvement over the present.
I was in the garden then, surrounded by the hum of bees
and the Latin names of flowers, watching the early light
flash off the slanted windows of the greenhouse
and silver the limbs on the rows of dark hemlocks.

As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past,
letting my memory rush over them like water
rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.
I was even thinking a little about the future, that place
where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine,
a dance whose name we can only guess.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Poetry Wednesday

Poem (the spirit likes to dress up)
Leonard Nimoy, from "Shekhina"
Mary Oliver

The spirit
  likes to dress up like this:
   ten fingers,
   ten toes,

shoulders, and all the rest
  at night
   in the black branches,
     in the morning

in the blue branches
  of the world.
   It could float, of course,
     but would rather

plumb rough matter.
  Airy and shapeless thing,
   it needs
     the metaphor of the body,

lime and appetite,
  the oceanic fluids;
   it needs the body's world,

and imagination
  and the dark hug of time,
     and tangibility,

to be understood,
  to be more than pure light
   that burns
     where no one is --

so it enters us --
  in the morning
   shines from brute comfort
     like a stitch of lightning;

and at night
  lights up the deep and wondrous
   drownings of the body
     like a star.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Suhaila is Coming, Ready or Not!

If there's one name that transcends all styles of bellydance as an authority on form, language, and the fine details of internalizing dance movements, it's Suhaila Salimpour.  Nearly ever dancer, once he or she reaches a certain level, will run across Suhaila's terminology and technique in a class or a workshop.  And in the Tribal world, Suhaila is pretty much belly dance royalty.

Now Suhaila is coming to Atlanta!  This coming weekend, Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance is sponsoring two days of workshops accompanied by two big evening events.  Friday night, the weekend kicks off with a "Cabaret Meets Tribal Fusion Extravaganza," featuring a fashion show, performances by top talent, live music, and a welcome hafla.  Saturday night's Gala Show will feature Suhaila, AFBD's Rafi'ah Dance Company, and many more performers from metro Atlanta and beyond.  Even if you can't make the workshops, I'd strongly recommend checking out this show!

Suhaila will be teaching four workshops, and I am personally looking forward to packing my brain and body with new information.  I do expect the workshops to be challenging and strenuous; with my fitness and endurance levels not being that great at the moment, I plan to pace myself; if I need to take a break, I'll learn by watching.  And I'll definitely do some "window-shopping" with the great vendors who will be offering their wares during breaks!

Registration for the workshops is still open, and of course you can buy advance tickets to the Friday and Saturday night shows.  Just click here for purchase links as well as more details about the weekend!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

On a personal note...

It's been fun (and challenging) meeting my blog's original promise of keeping the metro Atlanta belly dance community informed about all the events coming up in the area and breaking down barriers among the various local "gangs."  I'd still like to see the blog have a life beyond Facebook, but it's all good.  I'd also love to see more people proactively sending me items to post, but that's been picking up as well.  Meanwhile, I'm continuing to comb the events I see on Facebook and on the web sites of various local instructors, performers, troupes, and show producers (when they're kept up to date, hint hint) and capturing everything on the calendar.  Blogging is surprisingly time-consuming, but the feedback I've gotten from many members of the community has been really rewarding.

I'd like to start adding more personal content to make the blog more than just an event listing resource. I'm not in a position to review shows (though of course I have opinions).  There are other writers out there (particularly Dahne of Belly Dance Examiner) publishing interviews with local teachers and performers.  But I think I may share more about my personal journey.  I think each of us has an interesting and unique story of how we got involved in this art form, what we enjoy about it, what we find frustrating, and above all what keeps us interested and motivated.  If there's anything I've learned, one's own belly dance journey is likely to be marked by constant change and evolution.  New teachers will always be coming along to build on, enrich, and sometimes correct things you've already learned.  We're always discovering new performers to watch and admire (I know most of us are familiar with the term "my new girl crush").   Changes in our lives outside of dance interact in interesting ways with our dance lives.  I'd like to start sharing more of my personal journey, and I hope I'll find even more connections with others in the community who have shared some of the same experiences!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Learn Turkish Rom Style with Aya of Istanbul

Starting this Saturday, September 10, Aya of Istanbul will be teaching a new class at Pera Dance.  From 12:00-1:00 p.m. every Saturday, Aya will share the basics of Turkish Rom-style belly dance.  This style is earthy, flirty, energetic, and steeped in tradition -- and this is your only chance to learn it from a dancer who grew up in Istanbul, Turkey, surrounded by Roma culture and dance! 

Whether you want to put together a Romani-influenced choreography, learn new social dancing options, or spice up your Turkish Orientale performances with some "Gypsy"-style moves, Aya's new class will enrich your dance practice.  And Aya will explain what all those gestures really do -- and don't -- mean!  So come to Pera on Saturdays and throw your belly with Aya.  Contact Aya or Pera Dance for the latest deals on class cards!

Sema Yildiz, legendary Turkish dancer (and a teacher and friend of Aya's) performs an impromptu Turkish Rom duet with Ozgen, another well-known Turkish performer.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

An Embarrassment of Riches this Weekend!

SO much going on in metro Atlanta this weekend for belly dance enthusiasts and like-minded people!  Here's a quick rundown, in case you've somehow been out of touch...

Mahmoud Reda Workshop & Shows in Roswell
Majda Anwar in the 2010 Dragon*Con Parade
Yes, the legend is back in town!  Saturday night's show is going to be amazing... wish I could be there!

Dragon*Con in downtown Atlanta
Many members of Atlanta's belly dance scene (especially Tribal dancers, it seems) are also pretty geeky... it's one of my favorite things about the community!  There will be lots of dancers at this annual convention, especially at the Silk Road track and the late-night drum circles.  Come down and watch the parade Saturday morning!

"Chasing the Sun" Movement & Play Arts Showcase in Athens
Performances Friday and Saturday nights with belly dance, aerial dance, fire props, live drumming... all the things we seem to be loving these days!

Middle Eastern Drum Circle at Floorspace Studio in Athens
A new way to dance and have fun in the very cool Athens warehouse district!  Saturday at 12:15.

Everyone have a fun weekend!