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

The Finale


By Shira




Now the music builds and swells again.
Now the dancer starts to say good-bye.
She parades and thanks the audience,
Blows a kiss and breathes a little sigh.

Frenzied music pushes hard at her,
She taps from her stores of energy.
Faster, faster, faster goes the beat,
She keeps pace and shimmies joyfully.

Now the dance is drawing to a close,
Now the dancer takes her final spin,
Now the music catches hot on fire,
Then in just an hour she'll dance again.

So the cycle then will start anew,
Diff'rent costume, diff'rent music too.
Mem'ries of this show too soon will fade,
Mem'ries of a new show will be made.

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




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 Finale" refers to the very end of the dance, as the dancer wraps up her performance and takes her final bows. The music for this section is often high-energy, pushing to a final climax.

Many American-style dancers (including me) enjoy using a folkloric Turkish musical rhythm that dancers often refer to as karsilama for finales. This rhythm is known to musicians as a 9/8, with 9 beats to the measure. If you look carefully at the above poem, you'll see that every line consists of exactly 9 syllables, to echo this musical rhythm.

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 John Rickman Photography, 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 Pixie Vision, Glendale, California.




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