Monday, February 05, 2007

Little Egypt

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I went and bought myself a ticket and I sat down in the very first row
They pulled the curtain but then when they turned the spotlight way down low
Little egypt came out a-struttin wearin nothin but a button and a bow
Singing, ying-ying, ying-ying, ying-ying, ying-ying

She had a ruby on her tummy and a diamond big as texas on her toe
She let her hair down and she did the hoochie-coochie real slow
When she did her special number on the zebra skin I thought shed stop the show
Singing, ying-ying, ying-ying, ying-ying, ying-ying~Leiber & Stoller

I remember this Elvis Presley song and most of the words even after not hearing it in probably 30 years. To a kid growing up in smalltown Bible belt southern Ohio it was bordering on scandalous. Enough to make you wonder just what this Little Egypt did and you knew it had to be good when adults would look uncomfortable when asked. I recall my Greatuncle Bill, he of the checkered and well-travelled past (he was into horseracing, also somewhat scandalous because of the gambling) talking about seeing Little Egypt and getting stern looks from my mother when he brought it up. Wow, this must be good!

Fast forward-My sister-in-law began studying Middle Eastern dance in the from of Tribal Bellydance several years ago and was here this weekend to do a performance at the University of Arizona. Through her I've learned some of the history of bellydance and the importance of dance in many cultures. Having been a labor and delivery nurse for almost 30 years I'm intrigued by the origin of the dance, or Raqs Sharqi , as a dance by women for women to prepare young women for childbirth. What an empowering ritual that must have been for women facing the rigors of bringing forth new life. Bellydance also brings women a better awareness of their bodies and the beauty of the female form.

The dance was introduced to the US at the 1893 Chicago Exposition by a dancer known as Little Egypt. But America was scandalized and the dance became sleazy sideshow or nightclub "cootchie-cootchie" act as immortalized in the Leiber & Stoller tune.

Dancing looks fun-that's probably why so many people are against it. There's that great scene in the movie "Monsoon Wedding" with the women sharing dance and song, it made me want to get up and join them. Those people looked so happy, how could that not be a good thing? I wish I was part of a dancing culture.

What does this have to do with strawbale building? Not much but we all have art in us, it's up to us to find it and lose ourselves in it.

Now, pictures from the weekend. Lots of painting accomplished and little details that have to be done.
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Hearth finished-check!

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Joe's room painted-check!

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Sam's room painted-check! The green boxes contain bamboo flooring "acclimating".

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Shower painted-check!

The End Is Near!