Monday, 21 November 2011


So you know how I was being all self-congratulatory and shit in my last post about finally being up on stage with my teacher's tribal (my brain insists on typing that as tribble, btw) troupe?

Well, this weekend, the Tribble Dictator wants us to repeat this piece. With zills.

Yeah. About that.

I have chronic RSI in both wrists, a sense of rhythm comparable to that of an epileptic one-legged wombat, and a lack of coordination that makes said wombat look like a prima ballerina. This is not going to go well.

Of course, I could always say no, but where would be the fun in that? Besides, this performance is by way of being a spot of one-upmanship, as another local tribal group (with whom I used to study) recently performed with zills but didn't actually play them. If I don't join in and pull it off, we don't get the sense of smug holier than thou-ness which is an integral part of the sisterhood of dance :)

So this last week I have been drilling the ever-loving shit out of my zills, at home with mufflers on, on the wasteland outside the office without mufflers (and scaring every pigeon in South Birmingham) and driving my husband mad in bed (not in a good way) by singing baladi rhythm whilst mentally rehearsing the piece.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Tribal Debut

I think I've mentioned before my difficulties in memorising tribal combos, and this difficulty became considerably more pressing when my teacher asked if I wanted to join her troupe on stage for Infusion Emporium last weekend.

To help you put this in perspective, four years ago I remember sitting in the audience at my first ever hafla, watching Khalgani dancing, and thinking how much I wanted to dance like them. To end up performing with them and their sister troupe, Prana, was literally a dream come true... or a nightmare, if I couldn't get my brain and my hips in the same gear.

I also needed a costume in a hurry. My first attempt at a tribal bra ended in ignominious disaster and a lot of safety pins, so I was determined to do better this time!
As you would expect for an inveterate hoarder, I had a whole world of fun collecting bits and bobs to sew onto it, including keys from an old necklace, a pentacle, a little silver spider (to ward off stage fright), and about 50 old coins, which an obliging colleague identified as a mix of Pakistani, Indian, Irani and Afghan, and the oldest being from 1948. Probably my favourite pieces though are the turquoise roundels, which started life as earrings from Primark (50p a pair!)

Spiders or no, I had epic stage fright on the night; fortunately we were on int he first half, so I didn't get to brick it for too long before we were up. As far as i can recall, I didn't balls up too much, although there are a few embarrassing photos of me with my arms in completely different positions to the rest of the troupe!
As you see, my arms definitely need some work, and I'm wearing far too few clothes to be able to pass as a proper tribal dancer, but I'm definitely on my way!