I thought I better write it down while it’s still fresh in my head.  I’m already starting to question my memory (“did they really ?”).

This was a pretty fun gig.  I was part of the entertainment for a Christmas dinner evening organised by an oriental (that’s ‘Asian’ for you folks on the other side of the pond) supermarket chain for their staff and friends.  They had karaoke and party games (pass the parcel, musical chairs, etc) and me.  I performed twice.  The first time I was up I wore a folkloric outfit, performing a stick dance (Raqs Assaya) and then a Raqs Sharki-style dance.  The crowd, which had been quite rowdy – talking over people making speeches and also talking whilst people were singing, became much more quiet when I began to dance.  It was lovely to feel like I had many of them under my ‘spell’. I remember seeing several pairs of eyes wide like saucers. That’s one of the things that makes performing so rewarding for me.

I really got into the folk dancing.  The location of the dance floor didn’t allow for me to make an entrance from ‘off stage’ which I had been planning on so I had to switch up what I’d sketched out in my mind beforehand.  It was very freeing actually, though whether it was that, or just where I’m at at the moment I don’t know, but I got into a performing mindset that was really inside the folk dance.  Or at least that’s what it felt like.  It’s quite hard to explain, and the memory of it is slipping from my grasp now, so forgive me if this isn’t as clear as I’d like it to be. I did things I would never have thought to do if/when I planned a routine or parts of one, but they felt right, and absolutely ‘in character’. The experience of that transformation was amazing.

After a break with more party games and karaoke I performed for a second time, now in my assuit “tribaret” outfit.  I did two songs again, with the last one being one of Issam’s “tabla solo” pieces from his ‘Dancing Drum’ album.

I had the crowd clapping along with both songs (the first was Ice Queen, an oldie but a goodie) which is always nice and was especially rewarding as they seemed really into it, many of the faces seemed really captivated.  But what was really amazing was the spontaneous applause at different points during my drum solo.  I guess they were really impressed.  It felt wonderful to get so much back from the audience – and then when I finished they actually roared.  Wow, just wow.

I’m on a real high now 🙂

PS – The DJ, “DJ Bill” was amazing. Very professional – slick, competent, funny and liaised wonderfully with me.  I’ll try and get his details and edit in a link if/when I find them (alas I didn’t get a business card).

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