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Archive for November 14th, 2006

Dancing at Mason Middle School

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

Tuesday, three of us from the Habibi Dancers started our day with performances at Mason Middle School (20 minutes outside of Lansing, the county seat and a lovely town with many Victorian homes). Our first show was 8:30am. My friends, none of the three of us who danced today are typically awake at 8:30am, but we did a very nice show in spite of that.

habibimasondrum.jpgIt was pretty wonderful to dance for a large room full of kids that age. We danced with canes balanced on our heads and I did a basket dance (more balancing, I just LOVE dancing with a basket). We taught them the beledi rhythm, they drummed it on their desks and tummies while Yasmina Amal drummed on her drum.

We discussed costumes and had a male teacher don an Egyptian man’s outfit which drew many giggles from the crowd (he was a great choice, did a wonderful job). We ended by teaching some of them a simple Greek line dance.

After the first show, we had a couple of hours to blow in Mason before we had to dance again at 12:45. We found our way to a restaurant for breakfast. One of our dancers can do these daytime shows only if she brings her toddler. Feeding the child pancakes after she was good during our performance, was a smart move. For me, it was all about a cup or two of tea!

habibikeanes.jpgBreakfast can not last several hours, so we decided to go downtown Mason and browse Keane’s five and dime.

Keane’s has been a Mason institution a long time, with wood floors, a fabric/crafts department (it was where I first bought polymer clay), and a candy counter. They just remodeled (very little wood floor left, I’m sad to report) and we were curious how it looked. And of course, the child was happy to go to a store with a very large toy department!

I could not help myself, I took a photo of the candy counter. Isn’t it beautiful? Mind you, this is only one side you see. It forms a sort of island in the middle of the store, with counters on four sides. Just like the five and dime we went to at Brookfield Plaza for Christmas “stocking presents” when I was a child in the mid-1960s. That’s a good memory. (Actually that is where I bought emerald green and turquoise Red Heart acrylic yarn in 1969 when I learned to knit from Mr. Johnson, but that is another story.)

habibimasonman.jpgAfter perusing the five and dime as long as we could, we each bought a little something and proceeded back to the school. One more set of kids. This group was more awake and had the energy of lunch under their belts! More fun, indeed… Again kids asking why a man would wear a dress. Again me explaining that if it is very hot, it makes no sense to wrap fabric around your legs… that wearing something that shades you and allows breezes to blow around your skin is a very wise way to dress, male or female. (Personally, I think shorts make no sense even in a Michigan summer, but I know I’m in a minority.)
habibimasonlinedance.jpgI can’t say I enjoyed the alarm clock going off this morning when the sun was not yet up, but I did enjoy my day. Dancing for anyone, but perhaps particularly for kids, is a great way to spend half a day.

Photos: Yasmina Amal on drum (note kids in background drumming on desks and their tummies); Keane’s candy counter; male teacher modeling Egyptian man’s garb; kids doing Greek line dance.