Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Originally uploaded by pink-kitty.
means ecstasy or joy in Arabic. That is the best way in English to describe it. For the dancer, it is the moment when they become one with the music and lose all sense of time and express what the music is saying completely.

For the viewer, you are drawn into that story and shared emotion. Randa Kamal made me weep with this performance of Inta Omri (You are my life). It is a love song. Classic Arab music is poetry. In talking with musicians over the weekend, they really didn't care for the current surge in pop music because it wasn't challenging to play and the lyrics were boring. The poetry was gone.

Belly dancing at its root is improvisational. The music plays and the dancer interprets the mood being played right then. Having a musician (Dr. George Sawa) explain this to me was a huge relief because I have never been a big fan of choreography. I have no problem with having a general plan for a dance but the audience, the location, how I feel will all play a huge role in how I would dance to a particular piece of music. It isn't that if it is a sad song, I would dance it like I just won the lottery but the nuances would be different. Different patterns. So you know "Alf Leyla Wa Leyla" (A 1001 nights) but you don't know this band or how fast they are going to play it. It is not supposed to be the same from day to day. The musicians don't play it exactly the same way each performance - why should the dancer?

For a brief moment Sunday night, I experienced tarab. With the live band and singers, on a packed dance floor, Linda told me to let it go. Use the time to release everything. Put all of my emotions, physical pain, heart and soul into the dance even though no one was watching. Time and space disappeared for a minute. All I heard was the music. No yelling. No wait staff. Nothing. Just the music and the lights. It is nearly impossible to put into words what I felt but I will never forget it. It was not a 'high' like a runner's high or what I've felt before like during showcase, which was a euphoric experience in and of itself. This was different.