So this past weekend was the big annual hoo-hah of the Middle Eastern Dance Association of New Zealand, held right here in Wellington this year, yay !
I took four classes in all:
– Milaya lef – “how to flirt with your wrap”, sort of. “Oops, my wrap seems to have slipped off my shoulder; let me adjust it. Oh my, let me refold that — did you peek ? Oh dear, there it goes again…” Imagine loose, cheap women going down to the Alexandria dockside to flirt with the sailors. Now imagine cheeky, but actually chaste young women imitating and exaggerating the mannerisms of the loose dockside women in a flirty teenage kind of tease dance. Not “sexy”, per se, but very cheeky and flirty. Now imagine that exaggerated again, stylized, and put on stage. With lots of sequins. In high-heeled mules and a ruffled minidress in the loudest colors you can find (the wrap itself is always black, except for the sequins). And a see-through net face-veil. While chewing gum.
– Khaleegy – “see the pretty, pretty, very *expensive* embroidered and beaded front panel on my thobe (long wide dress like a big sack, with big sacks for sleeves) ? Check it out. Take a look at my jewelry, too, while you’re at it. And my gorgeous long hair.” Fun dance. The dresses themselves, apart from the embroidery, are often quite transparent, and we’re told the “traditional” underclothing for a proper Saudi oil baron’s wife is a nice Chanel, or maybe a Prada.
– Pilates – wanted to see what the hype was about. The hype is apparently about spicing up your sex life by toning your “pelvic floor”. Useful stuff for dancers, too.
– Floor work – involving the actual floor (and no grunting !). How to get onto and off it gracefully, even in a tight skirt. Things Not To Do. Things That Look Cool. Fun class ! And I remembered to bring a towel, so it didn’t trash my knees !
The big show Saturday night featured dancers from all over NZ (and a few from Oz as well). Stephen, Sylvia & I did front of house. There were some good bits. I find I enjoy watching friends, even if they’re mediocre, to watching dancers I don’t know, unless the dancers I don’t know happen to be very very good, and/or are doing something really unusual.
Sunday was the hafla at Istanbul. There were I guess 40 or 50 of us there, so quite a shindig, supplemented later in the evening by significant subsets of the ME population of Wellington, who’d undoubtedly Gotten The Word, as it were. Good food ! (None of that chicken-flavored toothpaste stuff from the place in Courtenay Place — everything was yummy yummy.)