Saturday, 08 September 2012
I dreamt there was another belly dance practice we in Rishi's troupe were being called to. Amalia called us all to meet at another dancer's house. This one I didn't know, had never even heard of. Can't recall her name either... Cassandra or something. Meh. I'll just call her that.
The house was huge! It was a mansion full of corridors and stairs every which way and large ornate rooms.
We met together in a big parlor whose only furnishings were the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, the wall sconces, thick ottoman carpets, and a stage. Cassandra stood on the stage overseeing it all: a tall woman with raven hair like Rishi has but more angular somehow and less friendly looking.
I was surprised to see we weren't the only troupe that had been called. There were several others here as well, some even including guys. Male belly dancers are common, if not predominant, in the Middle East, but here in the U.S. they're a rare bird, so this was a surprising thing to see. What's more, we were not all practicing the same dance. Each group had its own. Somehow we were all combining these parts into one big collaborative production.
But leave it to this Cassandra person to take a strange event and make it downright uncomfortable. Her first announcement once she got everyone's attention was that we would practicing our routines together here IN THE NUDE.
You could have heard a pin drop in there. And just imagine all the dropped jaws and wide eyes, the silent vacuums soon filled like a tide rushing in with "Excuse me?" "What the hell?" "Did she just say what I think she said?" "Oh my god she did!"
"Well I'm not doing it!" I said.
"Me neither!" said someone else and others, "The hell with that!" "What about our pretty costumes?" "What about my horrible body?" "What about the mixed company?" "What the hell is the point?"
"I'll do it!" said one grinning young blond guy, immediately doffing his clothes and being given wide berth by all around him who moved away with averted eyes and exclamations of shock and outrage, not phasing him in the slightest.
"Who is this Cassandra person anyway?" someone said. "Just because this is her house doesn't mean we have to strip down in it. We can leave if it comes to that!"
Turns out we couldn't. We found the doors were all locked from the outside when a large number of us made a rush for them.
Somehow our clothes disappeared anyhow. Not sure how that happened. One minute we were all colorfully dressed individuals, a two-color combination per troupe but each top and accessory set quite different, the next were all just a bunch of boring naked people being herded down long wide corridors like so many cattle.
"Where are going?" I asked.
The corridor we were in now no longer looked quite like it belonged to the mansion. The floor was bare polished cement, cold to our bare feet. The walls were stone. Elegant sconces no longer lit them but rather plain guttering torches in black iron holders, exactly as you might imagine a dungeon being lit.
I couldn't recall having gone down any stairs so I was surprised at this development. It really did feel as though we were underground now.
The heavily chipped and cracked flagstone stairs, when we finally came to them, went up. I had a moment of hope then as I climbed them with the others that we were leaving the dungeon without lingering in it as I'd feared.
Oddly enough, we climbed to the top of these stairs, high up, and still felt very much underground. It was very cavern-like here, to include stalactites and stalagmites.
Cassandra's voice announced from somewhere up ahead, "The North Koreans are here. They're going to give you an injection as you come up to the platform single file. But first you need to sign the form the offer you absolving them of any liability for it. Should you fail to do so, we will sign it for you."
Again there was a torrent of, excuse me's, and objections being voiced as to the wisdom of releasing anyone from liability for giving us injections we weren't so sure we wanted in the first place. And why North Koreans exactly? Why were they here? Why were we for that matter?
I ducked under the arm of an older friend I suddenly found walking beside me then. Didn't even know he was a belly dancer. Sure didn't look like one - albeit I made it a point not to look too closely. But I was glad to see him and he squeezed me tight to his side as we were pushed steadfastly forward. In turn, my own arm was tightly gripped by one of the women in my troupe.
I was expecting to have to fight a needle injection as I used to fight the many inoculations of childhood, which I hated so much. But that wasn't how it was. There was no chance to fight. We didn't even have to be separated from one another. We stepped up on a stone platform about 6' square, it bounced a little with our weight, and a green light flashed around it and became a green nimbus around our bodies before sinking into our skin. Then we stepped off and others stepped on.
My skin was tingling as with static electricity and I felt dizzy and alone.
I was alone... sort of. My friends were still there. We'd all just detached from one another and were walking around a big room in a very disoriented way. It had the feel of an old English cottage: one of the big hearths with shelves and pots in it big enough to set up a dining table and chairs in, big shelf like beds big enough to each sleep an entire troupe, flagstone floor scattered with straw, big open window without glass but with shutters open to a big mountain meadow outside....
Details are a little confused here. I gathered this was another world or dimension of a different technological level than here. Some things, like the cottage, she'd VERY old fashioned. Other things seemed very advanced.
There were 3d portraits of each of us on the walls... just our faces and necks. I thought they were sculptures at first, but they proved to be a sort of hologram. My hand passed right through when I tried to touch the one of Fateen, having spotted that one before I found my own.
Low down on the wall, I found another picture of sorts - this one of a dorm cottage very like the one we were in, though with unfamiliar people in it, most of them male as we were mostly female with a few exceptions on either side. These, though, were sleeping. I could see their chests moving up and down beneath the coverlet and hear their deep breaths and snores. Saw them wake up and stare back at me as one by one they rolled out of bed, stood, and stretched. But they were tiny people, like Borrowers.
I don't know why it didn't occur to me I was looking at a vid screen. I realize it now but in the dream it just seemed like the most amazingly lifelike picture I'd ever seen. And that's all I remember before waking up.
This morning I tried on a costume I made. Tell me what you think?
Meh. Wish I could do something about the face. Well I could: it's called makeup. Too early for that yet today though. At least I got the horrendous belly covered.