Americans are really into Halloween. There is a distressing* amount of plastic spider-based decoration, everything is pumpkin flavoured and my gym even has a special reduced schedule for the 31st so instructors can spend time with their families (OK, maybe that last one is for Dia de Muertos?). So I was excited to be able to go to a Halloween hafla to see how American bellydancers do it!
The answer is: with style I went to Thia’s Halloween Bash, which was held at the most amazing venue, a banqueting hall with a Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ. Not only does the organ still work, we were treated to silent moves with an organ accompaniment while we ate before the dancing started.
You can see some of the decoration there, try as I might I just couldn’t capture it in one photo, but here are a few details from our table decorations. Imagine a 200 person hall all decorated like this! As we walked in it was a riot of orange and black, with great attention to detail.
(Plastic rats don’t bother me. It’s just the spiders.)
The performances were most definitely non-traditional in fact I think I only heard two or three pieces of Arabic music the whole night, but I think that’s one thing Halloween haflas are about wherever you go – throwing the rule book out of the door and having fun. There were some really creative costumes from dancers (and audience members!), there were pirates, witches, a circus freak show, mermaids and – my personal favourite – a tree with a snake in it. Clearly everyone had had a lot of fun coming up with ideas and that came across in their dancing as well.
I’m sure there will be a lot of Halloween haflas coming up and I hope everyone going has just as much fun
* i.e. non-zero