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

A Drummer and a Dancer


By Shira




The pulse grows more insistent
As the song draws near its end.
The melody is ending,
And the rhythm takes command.

The drummer shares his passion
And I answer back in kind.
Together, we are partners
And in music, just one mind.

A drummer and a dancer:
Each alone is not complete.
We make a perfect duo
To explore the music's beat.

We tap the great unconscious
For the rhythms that it holds.
We give them form and share them
As our dialogue unfolds.

The energy is peaking:
It's the climax of the show.
I lose myself in rhythm
And I let the power flow.

The final drum roll ripples
And the spell at last is done.
The drummer and the dancer
And the audience are one.




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.

This poem, "A Drummer and a Dancer", refers to the sixth part of the dance where the performer has just completed either floor work, balancing, or standing undulations followed by a fast song. At this stage, all of the melody instruments take a rest and the drummer is free to showcase his or her talent.*

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 Kaylyn Hoskins, Solon, Iowa.




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 Pixie Vision, Glendale, California.




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