Goddess Night November 2013 with Alia Saleem Bellydance & Sacred Geometry Part 3 Dancing to Mandalas

I love just anything vintage. I scour flea markets for rare lovingly made finds, watch old movies , love music from the 60's from just about any country and treasure my vinyl belly dance albums, scratched and all. In todays fast , plastic , hungry consumer and throw away world, I yearn for a time when things of all sorts were precious, when they were felt taken in to the heart and truly experienced and left and imprint that truly enhanced our lives.

I so appreciate anyone that preserves something very special and passes it on. That someone was honored last Goddess Night as well her legacy of choreographies. Before she introduced her dancers and star protege Cara, Alia Saleem spoke of the Vintage American Bellydance scene in the 1960's and 70's. "We all made our own costumes, even beading our own fringe strand by strand. It wasn't so easy to be a bellydancer .You had to really know your craft and be good at all of it ."

I remember seeing photos of bellydancers from photographer Ed Frick from that time period taken at the Middle East restaurant in Philadelphia and drooling over the costumes Each one was so unique. Each one oozed love and pride. Don't get me wrong as I love the costumes brought back from my trips to Egypt but there is something really special when you have the time to do the whole of your art including designing and making yoru costumes . Now a days most people buy cheap bellydance costumes from China .It is a tough market ..so sad...

"Alia " I said "Tell them about the music .It was all live!" Alia went on to say "Yes it was ,you could't buy a cd or even a bellydance tape in the old days. You had to go the restaurant buy some food and record the band so you has something to practice to and when you performed, well you better be good and know how to do a 5 part cabaret routine or else because it was all live. You rarely knew what the band would play or how they would play it even if you did know the songs.

Nothing can test a dancer's skill like dancing and playing zills (finger cymbals ) to a fastTurkish  9/8 rhythm. Turkish is where Alia has most of her training and she passes this onto her protege Cara who is pictured as the only soloist here .Due to an injury her choreographies are preserved through those she trains like Cara and some her her dance friends like Diana Jelena who performed at our Goddess Night in September.

Back in the day dancers's worked to know their craft in all phases, choreographic ideas, improvization in opening numbers with either veil or cymbals, slow and sensual floorwork, takism, balancing sword, drum solos, extensive rhythm training and how to captivate and audience till the finale.This is what Najia strives to preserve in her Certification program.

I came into the dance scene at a time when the Turkish was dying out and Egyptian dance was the hot new thing so my dance vocabulary is primarily Egyptian whereas Alia's is Turkish. I still love the American Cabaret structure. I find it most effective when working with mixed audiences meaning both Middle Eastern and American which comprised at least a thousand of the shows I performed.I take what I like from my experience and keep it authentic .

GODDESS NIGHT  has Special Workshops. It's time to heal from the harshness and stress of our daily lives. We go into a sacred space that we create with the energy we bring so that we can facilite the right atmosphere for all to benefit as we are all connected. It's the circles, the mandalas we focus on tonight. We are reminded what dance really is at its center.It is transformation. It has magic in it.

GODDESS NIGHT  has a  vegan potluck
All things goddess means all things earth friendy, kind and beautiful. We celebrate and honor feminine energy with food that nourishes us.We cause no harm to the planet by the choice of food we bring to the table.We also make no trash using only china or better yet some of us bring tupperware and have a food share so we can also enjoy our "Goddess Night " feast at home .What is wonderful is nature rewards us with beautiful glowing skin and better health when we eat these meals .

Women love to shop and Alia Saleem was here to help the ladies find bellydance costumes for their chance to shine in a solo dance on Goddess Night 


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