Posts Tagged ‘belly dancing’

“Ali Baba and His Four Thieves”

October 12, 2009
neolithic dancers on a cave wall in Morocco

neolithic dancers on a cave wall in Morocco

While Ali Baba and his four thieves were drumming last night to wild North African rhythms, I ran to them, giggling, hot and sweaty, fresh from the dance.

Grabbing my dumbek, I wiggled in between two drummers, propped my right foot on a chair and tucked the drum beneath my breast. I tried to catch their rhythms already swirling like looming, stomping ghosts.

They are tolerant, my Berber friends, of the silly belly dancer who would rather drum than dance.  They are like my brothers, but that fades when the dumbeks gets serious.  Then the primal rhythms heat our blood and strong, dusky hands gallop over the skins.

I am transported to a desert of their making, where they are no longer just waiters in a restaurant, but dangerous blue-skinned veiled men on Arabian steeds and fast camels.

I am thrown over a saddle in front of one.

I see Ali’s eyes narrow and Hassim’s close, and my nipples harden.  The Berbers before me are fierce men, and I am a woman.  The drums draw us together in this ancient dance of lust.

I feel sand in my shoes.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008

Belly Dance, Spiritual Connection, Muscle Memory and Summer Heat!

July 22, 2009

Jesus!  It’s hard to get back to it in this sultry heat.  Even air conditioning doesn’t make much difference when you are working hard and fast.

The summer is always the dead zone for classes, and my students and I (the few I have…..we aren’t talking hordes here…) have agreed to ‘can it’ for the duration of the heat.  Late September is when I go back to studio or dancing in public, and my students are welcome back then.

However, I realize that there is a deep and enduring body/mind connection for me with dancing.  And in particular, belly dancing.

I’ve been dancing for a little over 5 years now, and people would have thought that I would have lost interest by now.  At least some.  But belly dancing is something that goes deep in your body.  Five years of moving in particular ways means that muscle memory is  up and working, present even when you aren’t.

And then, there’s that spiritual connection that is intangible but we feel it.  The flesh made Spirit.

It took me a couple of minutes, putting on music and listening to ALL of it….not just the tracks I like, but the ones I don’t like.  When you dance in clubs, venues, you don’t get the privilege of choosing most of the music you like.  Sometimes, but that is  not always.  But the music goes deep (most of it) and the body on a very primitive level starts to respond.  It twitches.   The  shoulders go back and down, the shoulders start to rotate, the breasts lift, the arms come up and at least the upper torso starts to come alive.  The neck and head perk up.  Something responds at a very deep level, and you find movement and satisfaction in this beginning movement.  It floods the senses and soon you are on a different ‘plane’.

I think it’s this ‘hyperarousal trance’ thing.  After a few years of training your body to respond to movement, and particular, repeated and enforced movements…something clicks in the brain.

Something magnificent and and transcending.  Little zars running around your brain and body.

Yeah.  I have missed this fundamental part of my life for the past few months.

Just enough to make me realize what is bedrock in my life.  Today I’m going back to self-classes, to regain that power and confidence that all dancers have…at least those who recognize the inherent power of their bodies and movement.

Some good dance music a la Arabic/Turkish style:

“Beats Antique” tribal derivations.

“Wash Ya Wash” Sharif & Hassan  (takes a bit to get used to: warning: Popular Egyptian music…but of some merit for dancing, especially the middle passages of most songs.

“The Kabila Project” Eventide Productions

“Alif” Omar Faruk Tekbilek  (a personal favorite, for listening to  and also dancing…)

Part of the problem with most canned music is finding songs, tracks that are SLOW enough to really work the zones.  So much of bellydancing music is too fast.  You end up doing some weird things.  Slowing down the tempo makes for a concentrated application of movement particular to a zone that can be repeated again and again to develop muscle memory.  The second track on Wash Ya Wash is a pleasant surprise.  Slow enough, and with repeat phrasing to go decently through combined movements, or just single movements.

And the fact is — you can dance until they place coins on your eyes.

Teela/Lady Nyo

Damn….I’m slow. GET A GRIP, Jane!

March 20, 2009

I should mention here that I have been invited this weekend to guest blog on “OhGetAGrip”.

Lisabet Sarai invited me a while ago, right after “A Seasoning of Lust” came out.  I am very grateful to her (and others… ) for the invite.

Her topic was belly dancing and the effects on her earlier life.

I am posting a blog entry on belly dancing, so hit that site if you want to read.  However, hit that site anyway because it’s a great site with some GREAT writers:  Helen Madden, RG, Lisabet, Garce, and others.

FIRST DAY OF SPRING and I’m ready for some big changes.

Later for that, next week, but have some new news…

Lady Nyo

Again, Gratitude….

February 9, 2009

Time out,  look around and give thanks.

These last two weeks have been wild.  Coming home from Montreal has been interesting.  Bill Penrose released “Seasonings” sooner than I thought it would be, but this has been a good thing in the scope of things.

This weekend, I have been scattered and fried, as things caught up with me.  I have had to answer for  offers of promotion and you have to pick wisely.  I generally don’t because I don’t know what to look for. I throw everything up in the air like cards, and catch things as they fall.  That is how I work when overwhelmed, not in precise ways.   I poke out my eyes this way a lot.

I should not complain.  These are opportunities.  I am very fortunate the book has caught the eye of some people, and I am more blessed that it has caught the attention of some international poets and writers.

Dr. Singh for one, in India.  Dr. Singh has published over 40 volumes of poetry, mostly haiku, tanka, freeverse and other forms of poetry.  There are also his many critical reviews.

He has just published another book of poetry and Damn! if this isn’t some of the most exciting, provocative and alluring poetry I have ever read.

I can’t praise this book more highly. It is one of the most exciting and heartfelt pieces of literature I have read.  Poetry is so subjective, but Dr Singh makes it broad, universal and resonate in the hearts, minds and experiences of anyone.  An astounding poet is Dr. Singh.

He picked up my poetry on this blog months ago, and praised it.  That was like water to a thirsty woman.  Dr. Singh (and his colleague) have continued to encourage me in my writing and any praise from him spurs me on.

So, I am very thankful for the attention of this wonderful and well published man.

I am also thankful for my friends on ERWA and NDY (Not Dead Yet) , writers groups.  They have carried me many times when I was really out of my mind over stupid issues, and sometimes wrote such wonderful blog comments, I put them on the front pages where they continued to give me a break.

Others, not so in the forefront of my life, were also helpful because when you think of it, a writer’s life is made up of experiences, it ain’t all in the head.  And the experiences can be trying and traumatic, but they usually propel one to produce, something, even if it’s in angst.

So, I am grateful for those needlers.  They are necessary to a full life.  And a more colorful one at that.

Thank you, and you know who you are….

Bill Penrose, again, deserves more mention and praise.  He stands by to do the same magic with Volume II of “Seasonings” to be out this early summer.  Thank you, Bill, but you already know how I feel about you…and not just for your editorializing.

I am thankful for my belly dancer friends.  They know I can get ‘lost’ and they find me sooner or later.  I heard from Mari this morning, the physical vision of Mari in “The Kimono” a beautiful Japanese woman I met in belly dancing years ago.  What a visual delight to write a novel with her in my minds eye. Also Dea, a bellydancer in Seattle who has been searching this blog for the bellydancing articles buried in all this other jazz.  (I’ll email them to you, Dea, easier that way!)

I am thankful for my new belly dancing students because you push me to attend to something I have grown to love: teaching.  And you are ALL good.

And finally, my husband and son….son because he does the audio sound work for my podcasts (get them converted, will you, Chris???)

and he changes the cat litter and cleans the hen’s house and corrals the dogs.

Husband, because he is always there for his scattered and sometimes very afraid wife, and last night he took me to a place….without leaving the bedroom, that I did not expect!  After 24 years of marriage, he comes up fresh and new each day.  And full of love.

Lady Nyo…full of it this morning.

There’s a poem, written on the coattails of Dr. Singh’s beautiful first poem in his new book: “Sexless Solitude and other Poems”, I wrote last night. A poor answer to Dr. Singh’s lovely verse, but nonetheless, an attempt.  Which some nights are the only thing you can do: attempt.

Some Aberrant Thoughts

Sitting on a wooden Quaker bench,
The wood as hard as some of the hearts
That take ‘pride’ in their tolerance..
Ah, I am beginning to hate that word,
That single word, because there ain’t none.
The stiff necked brethren, and sisthern too,
Wear their spirituality like empty pearls around stiffer necks,
proud in a borrowed heritage that came to do good,
And did very well for themselves in Philly.

Sitting in silence is bearable,
it’s when they speak, not the popcorn messages,
that is tolerable, because it comes more from
spontaneous Spirit,
but these sonorous, drawn out,
perfectly enunciated vowels,
the ponderousness of it all.

I wonder what the God Vishnu would do here?
Would he jump up, and burst into flame?
Would he call in the elephants to stomp the
Professors flat?

Kali would lend some color to these
gray clothed worshipers.
Now she would not tolerate a false piety,
But would as she was known to do,
Run a path of death and destruction
through the middle of the Meeting,
and let them pick up their pieces.

And Shiva?
Once he bumped off the black
and heavy Kali shown standing on him?
Would he bring a particularly nasty Rise of the Meeting,
when all would shake hands
to those on the left and the right?
Or would the trickster be a Yamabushi Tengu
with a buzzer in his hand?

It boggles the mind,
but at least gets one through
the Meeting for Worship.

Jane Kohut-Bartels


November 30, 2008

I am preparing a new manuscript for possible publication this spring. It’s a collection of all the Japanese inspired flashers, poetry, tanka, haiku and some other sundry writings in this vein. It’s piling up, too much was written this year in this ‘style’ and I do have people interested in seeing it all together. That’s the good news.

The bad news is I have had to push back the publication of “A Seasoning of Lust” just because of a more careful rewrite of that manuscript. But Bill Penrose is the editor of all things good and is still the best of news. Bill inspires confidence and takes a great burden off my shoulders and on to his formidable ones.

Looks like “Seasoning” will be due (??? is this birth??) February 14, 2009 and that seems very appropriate.

I have set myself a writing schedule that forgot the big appointment in Montreal in late January. A 5 hour workshop with Audra Simmons at Dance Conmigo and a gala performance that night. I won’t be performing, but it was close. I had to decline because it meant a piece of choreography developed and that does take months. At least for me.

This workshop is an introduction, as I have written here before, to a whole new strange world for me. Trained in Turkish/Egyptian, Tribal Fusion is a riot…and definitely a discipline that is alien right now.

So, I’m posting a little poem, non tanka, just to coast by.

Some new tanka tomorrow….this is still Saturday on this side of the pond.

Lady Nyo


You stir my loins
Like a long kitchen spoon,
Worn smooth
With years of
Bowl of it
With sexual waves
Long forgotten.

You stir my loins
Make me shiver
Make me weak
Make me cream
Make me wet

Make me lean
Over the counter
Your hands
Slipping up my thighs,
Under my apron
That piece of cloth
No barrier for modesty
Legs spread wide,
You move
To crush me against
Marble and
The marble of my skin
Soft, smooth, cold
Heating to your lust
Telling me to
Keep stirring
Act like nothing
Is disturbing
The making
Of this cake.

You rise-
I don’t know about the batter.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2008

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