Sunday, August 4, 2013

I'll Be Your Gypsy

Stevie Nicks (of course!)

Yesterday my husband and I went garage sailing along Route 127, a big, annual event spanning a long stretch of highway. I found a beautiful, 1950s porcelain Virgin Mary planter. Hopefully I'll get a picture of it up here sometime soon. But that isn't actually the theme of this post. As we were returning to our car, I fell. There was a big hole along the drive which was covered with tall, flattened grass, so it was not visible. I held onto Mary, and luckily crumpled to the ground without too much injury. Had my hands been free, I probably would have tried to catch myself with them and done more damage. As it was, an instinct, or divine intervention from the Blessed Mother, took over, kind of like dropping and rolling if you are on fire. Nevertheless, hours later my foot swelled up near the ankle, and it became increasingly painful. Some ice and Ibuprofen allowed me to get to sleep.

Some of you know that since February, on the first day of Lent, I have been injuring myself. I threw my back out that day, and it was a long road to recovery. Then I tore a big toenail partially off and had to have it surgically removed. My back has been an issue on and off, especially after a 9 hour drive to and from the state of New York. And now it is both my foot and my back that are sore. I feel like I am getting the message to stop dancing. I did decide not to teach classes this fall. For some time my students have been dwindling, and I have felt like I am supposed to be focusing more on other things. Yet I haven't stopped loving the dance! This morning I was up early before Mass, and I decided to check out fall fashion for 2013 online. I saw ostrich feathers and fur coats. Oh my. But then I saw the word "Gypsy". Now we are getting somewhere. Go to (Ethereal Gypsy-Inspired Photography) to see tons of pictures. If you have Tribal belly dance costuming, you are all set! Put it on mixed with some of your regular clothing, and head out on the street. Even the turban is in style.

I am inspired now by this convergence of fashion and belly dance, in the ethnic, Gypsy way, not in the sparkly Cabaret sense. That isn't to say you can't shimmer and shine. I think that perhaps I need to go inward to hear my dancer voice and ask her in what direction she wants to head next. I took a trip down memory lane and watched some of my old classes and performances on DVD. There has been enough time and distance to objectively evaluate my art, and you know what? I'm good. My choreographies are really quite lovely. My students and troupe have been just awesome. Never any drama--just the love. My niche really seems to be a blend of Egyptian, Tribal, and Gypsy inspiration.

Once my world was rocked by Hadia, and I had a conversion experience rooted in Egyptian, Golden Era music, I knew I had to set Tribal aside and really understand and better master classical belly dance. I had to get deep into the Baladi, and I'll tell you, the Baladi rhythm is my preferred rhythm, bar none. But, dear doves, I am not a purist. Looking back at those dances I have created, the unique genius is in the mix. I want to branch out musically, yet not leave the realm, if you know what I mean. I want to be a modern version of the Art Deco era Gypsy, with some Taheya Carioka and Ruth St. Denis mixed in, and a dash of the Mothers of the Bible, who were, after all, Middle Eastern. And yes, they did dance! So I'll be your Gypsy. I think I'll be back, better, stronger, maybe thinner, and all in one piece--when it's time. Still me, but different. I must simply find a way to put it all together, and allow my body to heal.

For fun and inspiration, I'll do a series of wearable, Gypsy Mama looks for fall, and I'll do it without buying anything new. I'll shop my closet, and you shop yours, and I'll meet you at the hafla!

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