Maria – Excerpt from Chapter 10 of Turquoise Interlude 1969

… In my upstairs bedroom in Arroyo Seco, Maria, born and raised in Taos, teaches me how to move my body in this lifetime, and later I practice smoothing my rough, apprentice movements. Over and over, carried by the music, I repeat and repeat, trying to emulate the exotic and fluid Maria. 

Her tall shapely body sways to the music, undulating and rippling with a sensual beauty –her dancing like the river flowing. “You must surrender in your dancing, and you must dance with your heart as well as your body. Dance your soul,” Maria whispers sagely. 

Here in New Mexico, Maria had touched something primal and ancient, asleep and buried inside of me. From her I learned the importance of letting go, receiving and giving, of strength, and that the dance had come from the ancient Egyptian temple priestesses. …

©2021 Marianna Mejia

Past Life – Excerpt from Chapter 10 of Turquoise Interlude 1969

Up the Nile I float, the water lapping the sides of the banks. Whirling, it takes me to past lives, past stone temples of Hathor, Horus, Nuut and Osiris, where sacred prostitutes dance, past lotus lilies and fields watered by Nile sludge, past the women carrying baskets on their heads, their long black robes billowing. Camels stand like a still life painted beside palm and date trees on the shining riverbanks. Music flows in the air of the arid land, desert wind blows sand, drum commands hips accenting the rhythm. Melodies, like the river, push the hips, with no inhibitions.

In Arroyo Seco, 1969, I reunited with this past life studying Belly Dance with Maria. The prodigal daughter recently returned home to her family in Taos, at least for a while, Maria …

©2021 Marianna Mejia

Gift of Belly Dance – Excerpt from Chapter 10 of Turquoise Interlude 1969

… the Middle Eastern music, Maria twirls, her long dark hair flying with abandon. But not really total abandon –her moves were practiced and perfected, the rhythms relearned in this lifetime. She is the priestess instructing me, her student. Hip up, hip down, the drum, then the melody moving now to undulate the torso, the breasts shaking rhythmically and then transcribing the arc and the figure eight as the music softens, mirroring the hips, the music coursing through the body like the Nile through the land, bringing sustenance. The pelvis tilting rhythmically, up and down, side to side, directed by the hourglass shaped dunbek drum, then moving in circles, describes the melody with the rhythm. It is not random, but improvised as the music directs. The high reed flutes, the stringed kanoons and ouds, the clay dunbeks with their round, translucent fish skin heads, the metal drums deeper with more opaque goat skin heads – they all meld the music. Again the high reed sounds and I think of snakes dancing with the goddesses, pulled by the music into undulation. 

Dum Dum tekatek dum tek a dum, the melded music echoes. The reed pipes pull the hips, increase the frenzy. Whirling, circling, gyrating –our faces flush as our bodies move beyond our minds. 

I put the tiny round cymbals on my thumb and middle finger, learning to accompany the drum beat with the zills. My borrowed green veil finds the air as I move it around me in circles and then seamlessly wrap myself in it with the music once more. My matching diaphanous green skirt follows my hips and swirls to the music. High tones again turn to drum beats and the rhythm quickens. 

Once upon a time,  …

©2020-2021 Marianna Mejia