Sunday, November 12, 2006

In the basement of Irving's

Lately, I've been calling Sunday "song-and-dance day." Practice for the Bellefonte Victorian Christmas choir started up about a month ago, Sundays 2 to 4. Then I have dance class in the evening.

I joined the choir last year with a friend of mine. It was her idea. She wanted to do something that had nothing to do with writing her dissertation, and asked me if I wanted to come along. This choir is a volunteer, unpaid, single-purpose choir. We practice for 2 months' worth of Sundays, perform twice during Bellefonte's Christmas celebration in early December, and then disband for the year. It's a lot of fun. One of the few opportunities I get to sing that isn't in the shower or along with the radio, since I don't belong to a church and therefore can't join the choir. I made the mistake of saying that a fellow choir-member last year, and she tried to get me involved in her church. I finally had to tell her gently but firmly that I didn't miss being in a choir quite that much.

I should be there right now, but my friend's mother needed to be driven upstate somewhere. I have no other way to get there -- buses don't run to Bellefonte on Sunday. Instead, I've dragged my laptop downtown to Irving's, a sandwich shop/café with free wifi. Bought myself lunch, and now I'm blogging in their basement.

I've moved up to Belly Dance II, by the way. First class was last week, and it blew my mind. We've thrown zills into the mix, as well as doing things faster and in odd rhythms. Remember the whole steps-on-the-down ("that butt-clench thing") I went on about last March? Well, now we're doing something called a three-quarter shimmy. Instead of 1 squeeze each step, it's squeeze-left-squeeze-right-squeeze-left each step. Yeah. That's gonna take a bit of practice.

And on top of this, we add zills. Now I know why I've been holding my fingers like I'm holding a coin between thumb and middle finger. That's where the finger cymbals go! I bought a pair and was given some rhythms to practice. Here's what a zill looks like:

The safety pin is there at the suggestion of my teacher. When I bought them, I got 4 zills and long piece of elastic. You cut the elastic into 4 pieces, thread a piece through each zill, and then fit it to your finger. After a few weeks with them, once I'm sure of the fit (tight enough to keep them from falling off my fingers, yet loose enough to keep my fingers from turning purple. It's a delicate balance), I'm supposed to sew the elastic at the pin mark and trim the ends.

They make a nice, bright, loud "dinnggggg!" The cat hates them. She doesn't run from me when I practice though. She just sit there and stares at me, wide-eyed, ears back flat, wondering what this is in aid of. The way she tells me she's had enough? She starts to sharpen her claws on my rocking chair. That backfired on her, because the last time she did that I chased her away, hissing and clanging the bells.

No comments: