After an early finish at work today Sarah and I abandoned our buddy Matt to have a group dinner at a local Indian food establishment called India Mahal. With at least two (that I know of) locations in the Tacoma area, the one we patroned includes belly dancing.
Tonight's dancer who shall remain nameless because I don't know itWe met up with several people from Sarah's work and, after some confusion about our group's reservation and a few rounds of musical tables, we sat down to enjoy some chat, a little belly dancing, and the food. The belly dancing was pretty interesting because I'd never seen it before. It was pretty much as I expected it to be with only a few surprises. The dancers were not the "perfect" specimen of the female portion of our species. They were by no means obeise but they certainly did not have perfect Hollywood hourglass figures. This was a good thing for otherwise I might have felt awkward observing their motions. The dancing itself (without assessing its true cultural validity) was both fluid and percussive at the same time. It seemed like the hands and feet flowed with the overall melody of the music while the hips, shoulders and breasts kicked with whatever lept out with the percussion. All in all I was expecting the fluid stuff more than the percussive. The final surprise came from the main dancer (two of her students also danced) when she moved into the restaurant-going crowd and accepted cash tucked into her costume. I didn't quite know what to think of this one. Kinda' seemed a little cheap and pretty well detracted from whatever aforementioned cultural validity the dance itself had. Oh, well.
The service at the India Mahal was a little pokey and came with a side of teenage angst (thanks to our young water boy) but was forgotten in the end once our food came and went. We had a great time taking in the evening and I enjoyed catching a glimpse of what the folks Sarah works with are like. I'm sure we'll be doing this sort of thing again (in different venues, of course).