Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Saltare and Valentine’s Day

Monday, February 16, 2009

Current mood: pleased

About 2 weeks ago, my friend Fiona emailed me, letting me know of an SCA
event called Saltare going on, and to let me know she had a crash space at a hotel, if I wanted to join in. I spoke with Mark, and my honey gave me the go ahead (: Getting to go was his Valentine's Day present to me ((:

My honey stayed home with our boys so I could go out for a day of dance classes, with a ball and a hafla at night. And it was WONDERFUL!

I'd meant to get up at 5. It takes about 3 hours to get there from here-- but they're also an hour ahead due to time zone-- and I wanted to be there by 9 for the first class of the day. Well... (lol) I actually woke up at 5, but I layed there awake waiting for my alarm clock to go off--expecting it at any minute. When the sky started lightening about an hour later-- I knew it was -way- after 5 by then. Turns out that I'd set it for ..5 pm... (lol)

So I actually arrived a little after 10 local time. As I pulled into the parking lot to find a space-- I saw my friend Fiona (: I couldn't have timed it better if I'd tried! I'd been worried that even though the event flyer said there was going to be Middle Eastern Dance classes-- the on-line class schedule only listed European. So I brought garb for either (; And as I trolled in, was glad to see there was a full Middle Eastern selection.

As I got changed in the restroom, I was pleased to see my friends Anna and Heather from my shire show up! Woo-hoo!! Middle Eastern Dancers of Flintmarsh unite!!!

I headed into the room where a drumming lesson was supposed to be going on--
figured they must have finished early. And I only had to wait about 15 minutes before Duchess Diedre saw me in there and brought Lady Sabia and their drums to join me (: Once we stared drumming, Yve joined us. Apparently, no one had shown up for the first drumming class. It was originally going to be a beginning class (which I don't mind-- refresher courses are always good and I like getting lessons from real people with feedback!).

But as it was only the 3 of us, it turned into a minor drum session and I had a blast (: Lady Sabia said neither Yve nor I belonged in a beginning class. (lol) Yve has been drumming for well on 20 years now, was a member of Peach Curry. And is -very- good. I've now been drumming for 17 months to the day, at 10 minutes a day (: And I got some feedback on some of my favorite rhythms/ combinations.

Then it was time for lunch. Fiona, Anna, Heather and I went to Chick-fil-A. I'm going to say right now that we couldn't have made a better choice if we'd -meant- to! As we walked up, a store associate opened and held the door for us (: We got our meal and headed to our table--behind another group of folks from the event (: While we were sitting there, a couple of other people there checked on us and even refilled our drinks! We had one older lady stop at our table and ask if we were going to perform (: She'd thought Chick-fil-A was going to put on some sort of show for Valentine's Day (: We told her we were in town for a day of Medieval Dance classes.

There was a cup on the table-- the people who were being such great servers were actually trying to raise money so that two of the students from the local High School could afford to be the foreign exchange students going to ....England.... and ....Germany..... We left them a tip. (Okay, I left my pocketbook in the car, so Fiona and Anna left a tip for all of us) (: And just as we were finishing our food, they came out offering samples of lemon pie. It was really good and just enough (: Then as we got ready to clear our trays-- another gentleman came up, offered and gathered them for us. It really was the perfect lunch (: Great food, greater company.

Then it was back to the Convention center-- and while I'm thinking of it, I want to mention that Valdosta, GA has an -awesome- Convention center! They kept each of the rooms stocked with ice cold water and drinking cups. And it's surrounded by hotels. It's -very- nice!

Looking at the class offering when we got back, I decided I wanted to take "Spirituality and Dance throughout the Ages with Mistress Sindokht". As we waited for the class to start, we were introduced to a lady who belly dances in her regular life and had been unable to find anything locally for it--And one of her friends mentioned what was going on at the center (: She'd never heard of the SCA before-- but she'll be joining soon (:

It was a great class! It was a discussion and lecture, and just what I was looking for (: Then, we got to take a class on zills with Lady Ciorsdan. I'm pretty decent with the zills when I'm not moving. I'm pretty good at following the moving when I'm not playing the zills. I absolutely -suck- at either and or both when trying to do them at the same time (lol). But I got some instruction on how to try to fix that. Then it became a class in dancing with props. OH MY! I'd say it was,
above and beyond, my FAVORITE class of the day!!!

I got to play with my fan ribbons-- Seriously, if I have any say in the layout of my dream house, it will have at least one room with high ceilings so I can play with my fans (; --and had a blast with them! We danced with veils. Fans. And Parasols. OH WOW! I love, LOVE, LOVE!!! dancing with a parasol!!!! And the biggest thing I learned about dancing with a prop-- it's a fun thing to enjoy dancing with-- (: It's a pretty to play with! So enjoy playing with it! And if you're going to
perform with a toy-- practice with it and your garb so you don't screw it up in the performance (; (Even if you don’t plan to perform, as I don’t, it’s still a good idea to practice so you aren’t goofy at the Hafla (lol)). And our own Heather is a natural with sword dancing! She’d never done it before and was amazing to watch.

Then it was off to dinner. We went to a local buffet. Had fried shrimp, fried
clams, cream corn, rolls and cabbage. It was so good! And the company and not being rushed was great too (:

Then it was time to change garb into the evening’s attire and head back to the convention center for the Ball. It was scheduled to start 1 hour before the Hafla. Everyone looked –great- in their garb! I should have taken pictures. (lol) As it stands, I took a grand total of 3—two of Heather with the sword, and she took one of me with a parasol.

It’s been almost 6 years since I had the luxury of live musicians playing European music! I am SO glad they were there! I realize, in retrospect, that I took the musicians in Atlantia for granted—and I’m excited to see some in Meridies! They were wonderful! And even though I was in middle Eastern garb, I got one of the dance cards (:

I didn’t expect that I was going to get to use it, but I did!! I got to dance 2 of the dances and recognized a third all from the first set alone! I credit this to our shire dance mistress Anthionette. It was my first ball and absolutely amazing!

Then the hafla started (: It’s not often I get to DANCE as well as drum at a Hafla and I got to do both and loved it! There might have only been 8 of us, but it was one of the most enjoyable gatherings I’ve ever been to, and very much enjoyed the companies of the other ladies (: And then I got to drum with Yve and he even
drummed for me so I could dance (: It was a lot of fun. And I learned something about myself: When it comes to either my dancing or my drumming—it’s 98 % learned and only 2% improv. That’s not a bad thing, considering I’m not actually musically inclined. It does mean that I need to just play with both of them on my own so I can increase the amount of improv (;

At the stroke of 11, we needed to vacate the center, so it was off to mundane clothing and we headed over to one of Fiona and Yve’s friends’ room. I got to try some very dry meade (not quite to my liking, but everyone else enjoyed it), and some exceptional apple cider that the harp player’s husband brewed. And there were back and foot massages (much needed after 4 hours of dancing and music playing!) and goofing off with Fiona’s iphone watching muppet clips from youtube (lol), singing and the violinist picking songs. We got back to the room
at 3 and turned into pumpkins, and I will say now that Wingate is an exceptional hotel—comfortable beds and I slept like the dead, Fiona and I sharing a bed and Yve in the one closer to the window.

I woke up at the crack of dawn then went back to sleep and couldn’t make myself sleep past 8 local time (lol). We ended the weekend vacation with brunch at IHOP and then headed our separate ways after a great weekend. Or so I thought ((: About an hour down the road, I saw a vehicle pass mine and thought to myself—wow! I wonder where they got that bumper sticker because Fiona is the only person I know who has it—and then I saw the other sticker and thought, “Hey! That IS Fiona!” And she was taking an alternate route home, so we traveled together and had a great time (:

Saltare, like All Things Middle Eastern, is an event that has made it’s way onto my permanent calendar of events.

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