On Life and Love

True Dance Technique at Work

I had the joy of seeing a belly dance show in person this weekend. Ladies from throughout the region, with international repute, different skills, and different styles. It was so damn inspiring. The costumes were top-notch, the crowd was hype, and there was a cash bar.

A great Saturday night in the making.

Greg and I got stood up pretty rudely for dinner at Libretto’s beforehand, but we had a great time despite my annoyance. I tried a delicious fettuccine al forno (essentially what I’d call a carbonara: pasta, cream sauce, bacon, peas, bell peppers) and Greg got an intimidating but subpar calzone. It’s rare that something has too much cheese for us to handle, but they managed to pull it off in the calzone with two thick layers of cheese surrounding a layer of spinach.

I’ve noticed that tendency in calzones around here: cheese and more cheese. I think I’ll try my own hand at making a calzone sometime soon. What could be better than a self-contained pizza? Put enough sauce in it, and you’re guaranteed at least second-degree burns in the eating.

Unfortunately for us, I parked the car for convenience in a big, well-known parking deck instead of hunting for metered parking near the event. It was a brisk 3-4 block walk to the restaurant and a freezing 1.5 mile walk to the hotel where the show was being held.

Greg didn’t bring a jacket. Silly man.

Luckily, I’m a furnace, so he wore my jacket and I only had to contend with being skin-deep cold. Still a long walk. It’s a testament to my heeled shoe-buying skills that I wasn’t even in foot pain by the time we arrived. I love my little clicky-clacks.

The show was in the fairly swank Blake hotel. I’ve never really been a hotel person–I couldn’t tell you how the Blake should compare in price to the Ritz or the Marriott that are nearer to the center of downtown. My family always collapsed tiredly into the Knight’s Inn or Days Inn on our road trips, so I’m mad if I have to pay more than $40-50 a night for a room anywhere, regardless of the city. A couple nights of a dim yellow bathroom (why are they always so yellow?) and a too-firm bed won’t detract from a vacation, in my mind.

That said, the $100/night Marriott room Greg and I stayed at in Atlanta was damned comfy. I almost got lost in the fluffy bed.

Once we finally found the show in the hotel, we were then subjected (quelle horreur!) to two hours of amazing dancing. I want to dance like that when I grow up! Much better than just watching on YouTube. Nayna (my instructor and the event organizer) was adorable: she got all teary and sentimental about getting to dance with the ladies.

I pretty much sat drooling at the skill the whole show. A couple of the most memorable dancers were Natalie Brown and Gina. Natalie Brown did this wonderful interpretive (-ish) tribal-style dance. Her costume was understated–no coins or glitz at all, and completely black and grey. Gina was the grand finale, and was a living example of precision and stamina. She danced three songs and wasn’t even breathing hard at the end. Nayna, of course, turned it out in a great example of showmanship.

I’m getting pretty good at picking activities and event for Greg and me to attend–we manage to both have fun, and we both feel… enriched, I guess. We definitely took away different things from the show (oh, the precision!), but it was fun to see how he perceived the differences in skill. He noticed Gina’s stamina more than her precision, although he agreed when I pointed it out. He pegged the differences in layering ability (the ability to do a shimmy at a funky rhythm while doing rib circles, for instance), while I noticed the breadth of moves and traveling abilities each dancer incorporated.

We beginners don’t travel much. Shimmying while walking often ends up looking like a case of a giggling seizure.

Greg and I totally punked out when faced with the long walk back to the car and took a nice, warm taxi to the parking deck. We wrapped up the night with some Civ IV until the clocks rolled back. A marvelous Saturday.