Here is a take on Christmas at my house from one of the participants to tide you over until I get some pics....
In the meanwhilst, I finally got some pics from my second belly-dance performance and since everyone is clamoring for them.. ;)
The first event I performed in was a mainly professional show. There were definitely varying levels of talent and ability represented but it took place in a theatre at night with fancy lights and a hefty ticket price and booze served. The second event was the Ho Ho Ho Habibi Hafla.
Hafla: This basically refers to a party. A private hafla thrown by a belly dancer usually involves Middle Eastern music (sometimes live musicians jamming, sometimes just taped music), dancers taking turns performing for each other, and some open-floor dancing for everyone to get up and enjoy the music. A more public hafla may be effectively a full belly dance festival, with vendors selling their wares and a more formalized stage show.
This event took place in a brightly lit school gymnasium. But it did have a stage that all the performers performed on. It was a family affair, some small girls actually opened the show (they were wearing belly-dancesque costumes but basically just doing a sign language piece), there was a drum circle before the show started that some kids participated in. The floor of the gym was surrounded by vendors of various belly-dance costuming and accouterments. One thing that participating in the performances has opened my eyes too is there is a whole belly-dance underground out there. It attracts a very interesting array of women and there are a variety of styles of dance and people represented. The style I've mainly trained in is called "Cabaret" and this is what most people think of when they think of belly-dance. It is actually an American-born dance style corrupted from the Egyptian-based originals. There is "Tribal" belly-dance, and "Gothic" belly-dance, and "Crazy ladies that want to wear weird homemade outfits and dance in front of people" belly-dance and probably more than that. But it is obviously a community of a sort and there was a pretty comfortable, accepting and supportive feel to the whole thing. Last time, my nerves didn't hit me until I was on stage and the lights turned on. This time, I was nervous before we went out on stage. I still had the shakes for a little bit in the beginning but was able to calm down much more quickly. Here are some pics of "Ro-he", as the student troupe is called, and myself both in performance and posed. My instructor is the one with the insanely long hair and the other performer is my fellow student J, whose sister M kindly took and fwded these pics.