2017年4月29日 星期六

A Random Affair came into a Home-coming Journey

My encountering with the Salimpour School and certification programs seems like a random affair: my cousin who lives nearby the studio drove by one day and she saw the sign of school. Later she dropped me there on one of my regular visit to her and other relatives in the States.

At that time, I was just a baby in this big bellydance world. I love travelling and I love to see what locals do. Since bellydance is my new flame, why not just drop in few classes wherever I go?

The class I dropped in was so different from what I had back to my country: it is very physical challenging. The most amazing thing to me is that they sat on floor to squeeze their butts!! Then students all walked in a circle following instruction, which obviously is English but I was not quite sure about those timing, downbeat…. But I like the little combo we had by the end of class. It is pretty and fun.

I didn’t quite understand the whole thing. However, when I return home and back to my regular bellydance class at Taipei, my teacher saw the huge difference and improvement on me. She was curious about what changed me from this experience, so we decided to visit this school.

In 2007, we went dropped in all evening classes at the Salimpour School as we could. This time we had finger cymbals – as ATS dancers, we were more than happy and confident at playing finger cymbal and dancing at the same time. But, what do those numbers mean? It is like magic spell. When the instructor called out some numbers, those dancers would immediately change into something else and delightfully go cross dance floor.

It became a little serious when I shortly taught ATS for a period of time and students asked me the difference between ATS and Jamila Salimpour format. Honestly I had no idea and as a responsible teacher I went join one Jamila Salimpour workshop at Rakkasah Festival to check it out. It was so overwhelmed in terms of stamina and techniques. So I ended up having a banana sitting by corner and I could only just watch them. But I like this circle. It is beautiful to watch. All women in different size, shape, age, race, are so beautiful and powerful in this circle.

I like it. I want to be part of this circle.

In the meanwhile, I had a small surgery to remove tumors around my womb. My doctor estimated that I could check out hospital within three days. It is not. It took me two weeks of intensive care, 5,000cc blood transfusion, and few comas. During my hospitalization, I thought of the butt squeeze and cymbal numbers – I already studied Suhaila technique with another local instructor then. Since my both hands were needled for all kinds of injection all day long, the free parts of my body were my butt and my brain. I had some weak and uncertain butt squeezes and listened to “Cymbal with Jamila” during those endless injections. At first I just thought this was great way to distract from the painful waiting time. Then I realize this actually helps me to feel alive.

I learned that the first Jamila Salimpour certification workshop was about to happen in upcoming September during my hospitalization. I told myself that if I would walk out of this hospital, I want to take this workshop to celebrate my rebirth.

So I did, with medical girdle.

Is the rest just history? No! Little do I know that it is only a start point of my long journey in training and education on the field of Arab music, culture, dance, and beyond.

There are several levels in this certification program. In each level, I also pave myself into different goals and mindset: from Level 1- just give myself a chance to try, to Level 2 – stamina and fight against resistance, till now I am working on “be ready” for Level 3 testing. The journey is long and challenging, sometimes frustrated and self-doubted. It is never easy.

And it is so real. In an era the world is so flat and seemingly borderless via internet, life can be very superficial and virtual-real: You swap on cellphone and you buy things. You send an email and someone will do something for you. It is fast but sometimes you don’t feel. Those training, drills and practice on dance floor make my life very real and momentum. Also I can see myself improving little by little. Sometimes my body does not feel right, and I learn to live with this frustration. I feel centered and focused. I also learn to live with things that are important to me in an ordered and yet flexible way: there is always something I can do to train myself, even just research a classic Arab song or some historical material reading.

This certification program is especially important and meaningful to me because in a culture that traditionally women are commonly asked to “sacrifice” or “compromise” for their family, husband and children, this certification program delivers a positive message: you have to take care of yourself, to fulfill your dream, and to develop before you can take care others. You have to nurture yourself as a human being and as a woman. It is not selfish. It is, for a long run, mutual benefit for us, friends, and family because we are more capable to be there for them. This may sound cliché, but it is so true.

I really love to dance and this program helps me to dance in a genuine and well-prepared way. I love to learn about other’s culture, art, and myself. This is a place where all the above can happen organically. This is a place that is safe enough to express and to share. I met so many incredible women/men here and we share a sweaty classroom, tears, laughs, and life!! It is a family in a sense. Even when I saw friends on social media, I feel this expanding family grow vividly. I am not alone. We spend real life together on this dance floor and we are here for each other.

As Maya Angelou said: “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” This random affair almost ten years ago, eventually led me to a homecoming journey. I came to learn and to nurture, and then I have more courage to walk on my own journey to reach out the world and life.

For more information on the Salimpour School and certification programs please see http://www.salimpourschool.com/

2013年11月13日 星期三

阿拉伯貓王Abdel Halim Hafez經典名曲中文歌辭賞析-Gana al Hawa (愛朝向我們走來)

這支悠揚的名曲出自於1969年的賣座電影Abi Fog al-Shagara (吾父如樹),這也是一代歌王的銀幕告別作。電影劇情描述一名天性善良正直的青年(當然由歌王來飾演囉!)因為愛上一名在夜店表演的舞者,而陷入吃喝嫖賭,紙醉金迷的黑暗世界,他的朋友看不下去他這樣向下沈淪,跑去找他理論,好青年於是向友人坦承已愛上舞者不可自拔電影中安排了男主角隨即與女主角去貝魯特旅遊,踏青拍照,還上演了一段衣著精美的德布卡舞蹈表演(別人跳的),男主角就在這風景怡人,佳人相伴的場合下唱了這首歌曲。

Abdel Halim Hafez - Gana El Hawa

عبد الحليم حافظ - جانا الهوا - أغنية رائعة كاملة Abdel Halim-Gana El Hawa-Full

知名歌手George Wassouf翻唱歌曲附送肚皮舞表演
George Wassouf - Gan Al Hawa (old arabic song)....

Gana Al Hawa - Belly Dance

Abdel Halim Remix"Gana El Hawa"

Gana El Hawa-Baligh Hamdi-Remix-Said Mrad-Arabic Music

On Fire! Aziza: Gana al Hawa









2011年6月8日 星期三

再探格瓦濟舞者的神祕傳奇 3-3

獲Carolena Nericcio同意譯自The Mystery of the Ghawazee Lives On! by Nadia Khastagir, May 1998, Tribal Talk

塞入一捲Abu Kherage的錄音帶,我們開始上課:她向我們示範了註冊商標的格瓦濟shimmy-這是一種重心很低的臀部搖擺,腳則踏在重拍上,臀部shimmy將重心換到跺地的重心腳上,雙手外伸,以非常放鬆的姿態位於身體兩側,或者腕關節相互交靠,放在身體前方。典型的上埃及音樂的樂句轉換往往是由一手置於臀部,作出一個緩慢的臀部轉圈換腳的動作,形成一個很細緻而紮實的大圓圈,或者一手置於臀部,另一手臀上抬朝前,做出俏皮的頸部左右平移。然後樂句重拍再度開始,跺腳與shimmy的動作於是再度開始。

顯而易見地,上課中沒有太多口語指導,僅僅只有kwayis!(很好)。一天一小時,重覆著同樣的上課方式,然後Khairiyya Mazin會換下服飾,卸下粧扮,回復原來上課前的面貌再回家。

上課最後一天,她邀請我們在下課後去她公寓吃午餐。我們覺得好興奮,好光榮!我們走過陸克索街頭,時間到時Khairiyya Mazin開始進行每日五次的喚拜禱告,她幫我們找了由馬匹拖行的馬車-這通常是給觀光客搭的交通工具,帶我們去她家。當我們抵達她家時,很明顯的,她單身居住於此,完全看不到有所謂的其他男人的踪跡!那是一個小而整潔的公寓,還有一張舖上玫瑰圖案的小沙發,她為我們擺上桌子,還有滿桌子超過我們兩個人能吃的豐盛食物,她做了燉菜和烤雞,米飯以及更多的菜餚。因為在齋戒月裡,所以Khairiyya Mazin不能與我們一起吃飯,穆斯林只能在日落至日出之間才能進食。所以對我們來說這有點古怪,只有我們自己吃,卻要她來收拾善後。我主動提出幫她洗碗的要求,她只是笑著拒絕,輕聲說了謝謝。午餐過後,她拿出一大疊照片,向我們展示她的父親,著名的Youssef Mazin與姐姐們,以及過去以來向她學習的其他西方女性,我們試圖記下她所說的關於她的家族歷史,以及這些她過去以來的學生,幸運的是我們能拿出自己的照片送給她,還給了她一份有Carolena在上面的簡介,她說她聽說過Carolena與FCBD!

那天我們離開她的公寓時,我們覺得很感慨,因為我們親身接觸了歷史的一部份,而這歷史極有可能即將失傳。那時(1995年)已經沒有人來傳承格瓦濟的舞蹈以及著名的Benat Mazin家族。像是Edwina Nearing、Morocco與Aisha Ali這樣的研究者幫助保存了這種舞蹈,並且將它們傳到了西方世界去。我誠心希望所有熱愛肚皮舞的人都能來與Khairiyya Mazin上課,將這些基本的舞蹈根源帶回去到一個讓這舞蹈能開枝散葉,受人賞識的地方去。

2011年6月7日 星期二

再探格瓦濟舞者的神祕傳奇 3-2

獲Carolena Nericcio同意譯自The Mystery of the Ghawazee Lives On! by Nadia Khastagir, May 1998, Tribal Talk

無視於Salah的極力阻止,我焦慮而開心地在翌日清晨與Khairiyya Mazin會面。我簡直像知名搖滾巨星的粉絲要與心目中的偶像見面一樣地緊張又興奮!完全出乎我意外的是,一名嫻靜而舉止優雅的女性走進房間,她的穿著打扮一如其他埃及女性:黑色的寬長袍加上黑色頭巾。她的面容安詳自在,不施脂粉,她有著濃密的長睫毛與棕色眼眸,圓臉上有著像蘋果般紅潤的好氣色,厚厚的嘴唇總是微笑著,偶而露出如編貝般的潔白牙齒,她的聲音沙啞而沈靜,基本上她的英文全然無法溝通,那時我的阿拉伯文也與她的英文差不多,所以我們必須依靠民宿經理作翻譯,我們談定了上課的價碼,以及上課場地。據民宿經理表示,我們不能去她所居住的公寓學習,但他很樂意讓我們在我們的房間裡上課。她會在早上過來教學,因為「她必須回家為丈夫及子女烹煮午餐」[譯註:以小眼麗莎在埃及友人家作客的經驗來說,午餐時間大抵與我們的晚餐時間差不多]。我們同意連續三天的課程於第二天清晨開始。民宿經理同意出借音箱給我們上課使用,因為Khairiyya Mazin自己沒有。

在Khairiyya Mazin離開後,民宿經理知會我們(不如說是托辭),我們必須搬離先前擁有明亮大窗戶的前院客房,遷入後院的房間,在房間上方的小窗戶在Khairiyya Mazin來上課時必須關上,他說我們必須尊重當地齋戒月的習俗,他與Khairiyya Mazin可不想引發鄰居們的抱怨。但我開始對於這位似乎很寬宏大量的經理覺得可疑,我相信他的翻譯對我們與Khairiyya Mazin兩造來說都不是百分之百正確的,我很確定他一定從Khairiyya Mazin那裡抽取了相當可觀的佣金,因為我們的學費非常昂貴,我也知道他對於她的「丈夫與子女」一事完全是睜眼說瞎話,因為當我以旅遊手冊上的阿拉伯文詢問Khairiyya Mazin關於他們時,她很困惑地看著我,說她沒有丈夫與子女,我不知道他為什麼要這樣撒謊。

第一天上課時,Khairiyya Mazin準時抵達,她帶著一個大塑膠袋,我在樓下與她會面後,帶她上樓到我們的房間去,我看著她上樓梯時,注意到她筆直而敞開的體態。我們的房間不是很大,所以必須把兩張單人床推向兩邊,留出中間的空間,舖上地毯,才有一點空間讓我們可以跳舞。Khairiyya Mazin開始換裝,她脫下頭巾與家常長袍,以及袍子下的家居服,然後換上綴滿流蘇加上多重顏色亮片的緊身長洋裝,再綁上流蘇腰布,她搽了粉底與腮紅,上了睫毛膏與口紅,戴上一對金色的垂墮耳環,在她濃密的黑髮上戴上珠串編成的裝飾髮網。我和我的朋友看得目瞪口呆!這一切都只為了我們!她全身上下都噴上香水,包括腋下,在此之後,每次我走進這房間,聞到那香水味,就會想到她。

2011年6月6日 星期一

再探格瓦濟舞者的神祕傳奇 3-1

獲Carolena Nericcio同意譯自The Mystery of the Ghawazee Lives On! by Nadia Khastagir, May 1998, Tribal Talk

在伊斯蘭教遵行白日禁食的齋戒月裡,公開的舞蹈或其他娛樂活動被禁止時,我與我的朋友Bri來到了埃及,展開我們的舞蹈朝聖之旅!我們運氣壞到無法在開羅看到任何表演,最後只剩下一張信手撕下來的小紙片,上面寫著Edwina Nearing為Habibi雜誌所撰寫關於Benat Mazin的文章,其中有以阿拉伯文書寫的一個地址,可以找到知名格瓦濟表演家族Benat Mazin最年幼的女兒Khairiyya Mazin,她是目前唯一還在陸克索一帶教授格瓦濟舞蹈的人。雖然所知有限,但我們對於阿拉伯文化的認識越來越增長,於是我們決定搭火車沿著尼羅河前往陸克索,入住當地一間小小的民宿。

在陸克索的第一天,我向民宿管理人員出示了這張寫著阿拉伯文地址的小紙條,他說他會打電話連絡Khairiyya Mazin,幫我詢問關於授課的事宜。一開始他似乎很樂意協助我,但到了打電話,在電話裡以阿拉伯文討論過後,他的態度有了一百八十度的大轉變,儘管他安排我與Khairiyya Mazin會面,但打完電話後他很不耐煩地應付我,在對於環繞著Benat Mazin的傳奇故事,以及格瓦濟被視作娼妓的歷史背景有點了解後(或者,格瓦濟被視作單身獨立女性的投射),我不禁思忖著在電話溝通過程中民宿經理的妻子也在場,是否讓他覺得不需要對我表現出合作的態度來。

那一晚,有人敲了我們留宿客房的門,開門一看,是民宿員工Salah,他要求我到客廳去,在那裡質問我為什麼想要見Khairiyya Mazin,他不斷地堅持我與Benat Mazin接觸不是件好事。我則是對於他如此警告我遠離那家人的原因感到無比好奇,所以我回問他對於這家人有多少了解。不幸的是,我們的對話陷入曖昧不明的混沌,因為Salah不斷地提到「他」-我假設他指的是Youssef Mazin,這個格瓦濟家族大家長,據我所知,已經過世多年了。Salah說那家族常常有狂歡派對,人們群聚飲酒作樂,實行雜交,警察會將所有參與派對的人押入監獄,他們會將每個與Benat Mazin家族有往來的人都抓起來。與這些匪夷所思的謠言一樣有趣的是,我不但對這些謠言覺得好笑,也對於與Khairiyya Mazin會面一事更形堅決。