Thursday, March 31, 2011

Level 1: Desire and Pursuit of the Roll

I'm reposting a few belly roll posts I made for a workshop in 2009. We won't go so in depth in this class, but these sources are still valid. I've learned a few new things in my current Yoga teacher training but will have to add those here when I'm done with my yoga finals. Bring your quarters and try to take a look if you can: At this description of the Triple Axis Belly Roll; explanation of quarter rolls and clip of a Nine Quarter Roll, and yoga links for desiring belly rollers I put together for the previous workshop. Bring quarters to class if you remember...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Level 2 Class: Entrances with Veils

In last Friday's class, I mentioned both the famous dancer Dina (the music we were using for an exercise was named for her) and also the use of the veil as an entrance prop more than a dance prop. YouTube has a great video of Dina demonstrating this technique. This is an older video, but Dina was still in amazing shape when I last saw her, and in this clip, she dances beautifully. The music is live and worth the watch.

Enjoy! Bring your veils on Friday!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nawaal El Saadawi Speaks on Thursday at NYU

Thank you to Jasmine Perryman for sending this information about feminist writer Dr. Nawal El Saadawi. Since it's publication in the 70s, this writer's seminal novel Woman at Point Zero continues to be a staple on many Women's Studies rosters in the West. I remember well my first reading of it in the early, early 90s.

Dr. El Saadawi was also vocal in January's revolution in Tahrir Square. Her comments on this week's events are awaited. NYU people: she's reading at the NYU bookstore tonight. Click here for information on Thursday's event.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Orientalish Lit Hit: The Sacred Night

After a first read of This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun a few years ago, I have wanted to read this earlier work. The book is part of a trilogy that begins with The Sand Child. The Sacred Night picks up themes that run the other work I've read: injustice, the individual's ultimate "aloneness" in the face of the world, and the act of storytelling.

Best in The Sacred Night is the presence of storytelling as a life force. Here, the continued story of a girl raised as a boy to overcome the Islamic tradition of allowing only men to inherit a family's wealth hinges around the act of storytelling. A storyteller opens the novel with a dreamlike sequence where we see this woman, who appears as a man, uses her stories to make a living.

As the book steps farther back, a clearer storyline emerges. After her father's death, the narrator south where she loses her virginity in a confusing rape scene and then joins the house where she falls in love and learns from a blind man the art of writing and the raw value of holding onto memory. The blind man leads her into his dreams where there are factories of words. Sensual scenes where women exist as forgotten, discarded words seem to illustrate the beauty of forgotten stories, which are ultimately all stories.

The culmination of the novel shows her falling in and out of madness in prison, which reminds me of the power of Ben Jelloun's This Blinding Absence of Light. For me, the downfall of this novel is the storyline of the demoralized Muslim woman. While reality might fuel the original stereotype, the overuse of this as a plot line (and in a bigger sense to justify other acts of aggression) makes the storyline itself feel formulaic. That said, the ornate writing style and successful dream-making made The Sacred Night an evocative read.