The Cymbal Dance

In the 1990′s, Suhaila’s dance company had been performing regularly at the Northern Renaissance Pleasure Faire, where musicians were readily available.  Several of the musicians had played (or learned from) the original Bal Anat musicians that played when Suhaila danced with my mother and Bal Anat at the same faire back in the late 1960′s and early 1970′s.  Soon Suhaila’s company also signed on for the opportunity to dance at the Southern California Ren Faire.  After working out the contract and details, the last thing the organizer asked was who the musicians would be.  Given that that musicians seemed to drop out of the trees when you needed them at the Northern Ren Faire, it hadn’t yet occurred to the group that the situation might not be the same at the Southern Ren Faire.  In that moment, Suhaila made the decision that the dancers would be their own musicians, therefore, creating what she ultimately titled the Percussion Show.

One of the resulting pieces was the Cymbal Dance.  It went through several iterations until it arrived at its final point. . . and it’s a fun piece specifically designed for an ensemble. . . switching off themes from side to side.  But, given the fun and flirty nature of the piece, it can crafted into a solo, as well.

Suhaila teaches the choreography in her easy-to-follow format in three one hour classes. The piece was originally performed “acapella” without music accompaniment; however, music was created for the choreography when it was included as a part of Suhaila’s Sheherezade theater production.  (“The Harem” on Suhaila’s Sheherezade album.)

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