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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Dance of Greeting


By Shira




A moment of silence.
They announce The Dancer.
Polite applause.
The music stirs.
The pulse of the drum quickens.

My everyday world fades away
as I approach the Gate.
Behind me lies my waking life.
Ahead of me lie only possibilities.
I step through the Gate,
onto the stage.

I am The Dancer.
I am Salomé, veiled in mystery.
I am Inanna, the Evening Star.

Feel my warmth as I share my art with you.
Feel my joy as I draw inspiration from the music.
Feel my power as I transform it into movement.
Feel my energy as I work my magic.

I am The Dancer.
I am Salomé, veiled in mystery.
I am Inanna, the Evening Star.

In full regalia, I command the stage.
And yet, I hold something back—
I am veiled,
robed in anticipation of things to come.
Promise. Potential. Pacing.
For now, I greet you, but veil my inner self.
Perhaps later I will unveil and share more.

I am The Dancer.
I am Salomé, veiled in mystery.
I am Inanna, the Evening Star.

Promise. Potential. Pacing.
Power lurks behind the veil,
power not yet unleashed,
power only hinted at—for now.
I pace myself for the dance yet to come.

I am The Dancer.
I am Salomé, veiled in mystery.
I am Inanna, the Evening Star.

My Dance Of Greeting draws to a close
as the music winds down.
The creative energy I’ve raised
draws a breath and waits.
Together, we’ve formed a triad of Power:
You, the musicians, and me.
Together, we’ll pass through the next Gate
and draw away the veil,
and explore the dance to come.

I am The Dancer.
I am Salomé, veiled in mystery.
I am Inanna, the Evening Star.


ARTWORK CREDIT: Drawing by Shira.




About this Poem

This poem was inspired by the beautiful art of Oriental dance (often called belly dance), particularly the style that has grown up in the United States that fuses Egyptian, Lebanese, Turkish, and other Middle Eastern styles of Oriental dance into a distinct art form of its own.

The "Dance Of Greeting" is the opening piece of a dancer's multi-part routine.* In the Vintage American style, the dancer enters with a veil tucked around her, hiding much of her costume, then removes it and dances with it later in the show after the Dance Of Greeting.

If you would like to read the other six poems in the series celebrating the Vintage American style of Oriental dance, they include:

  1. Dance of Greeting
  2. The Unveiling
  3. Feel The Power, Feel The Beat!
  4. The Descent
  5. The Awakening
  6. A Drummer and a Dancer
  7. The Finale

The inspiration to write these seven poems came from attending a belly dance retreat organized by Delilah that was structured around the theme of the 7-part dance routine. Delilah encouraged all retreat participants to do journaling as part of the experience, and the journaling process brought these poems into the world.

*NOTE: The seven parts listed are in the order that typically dancers in my community in California did them, though sometimes individual dancers might mix up the order to suit what they wanted to do for a given show. Also, dancers rarely performed all 7 parts in a single show. Most people would perform just 3 or 5 of the parts, depending on the length of show the client wanted. Also, dancers in other communities have reported that they arranged these components in a different order from that shown above. The order of the poems reflects my personal experience, but there are certainly other equally valid ways to arrange the contents of a dance set.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Bill Corwin, San Jose, California.




About the Poet

Shira has been writing poetry ever since she was about 12 years old. Her poems have been published in several "small press" poetry journals. At age 21, she wrote her first French-language poem, "Le Voile De La Nuit".

Shira first started learning Middle Eastern dance in 1981. Dance has been her inspiration, her creative outlet, her avenue to making friends in a new community after relocating, and her escape from her "day job" of being a professional Silicon Valley computer nerd.

Shira is your hostess, the webmistress of this award-winning web site, "All About Belly Dancing".

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.




Copyright Notice

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All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.

Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.

If you wish to translate articles from into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.



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