Arabella, Dance Queen of the Mahala

Arabella, denim-clad dance sensation of the mahala is mocked by her family and neighbors for her modern “disco” Romani style of dance. While her father entertains with hoots and jeers, the mahala laughs but also watches. Perhaps in a few years, the children circling her now will dance as she does, learning, much the way she did: village gatherings, impromptu parties, adults twirling, swaying and shimmying around them. Little gestures caught by the eyes and heart. Arabella is the descendant of master interpreters; her legacy, to create new languages of movement. A lineage stretching from Rajasthan to Romania made up of bits and pieces of everywhere.

Traditional Romanes mixes with the bumps, grinds and pops of the video vixens Arabella watches on satellite TV. The result is a fusion of old and new, rooted, looking back and moving forward and infused with the swing of her ancestors. Called forth by two polyrhythmic violins and a syncopated bass doubling as a drum, Arabella’s hips offer tiny kisses to the wind. Around her, the Rajasthani/Romanian sands rise and warm her body, preparing it for the long night of revelry.

Beyonce and Shakira have nothing on her.

4 thoughts on “Arabella, Dance Queen of the Mahala

  1. EL CHAVO! says:

    What a cool video! And thanks for giving it the context by which to see it, that’s the kind of stuff I would miss entirely. But yeah, the kisses to the wind, despite the mocking of family, gives this dance number a unique quality. I like her persistence to do her dance, despite the drunken mockers, there’s some duende in it!

  2. apio says:

    This is great, and despite the mocking, you can tell those guys are enjoying dancing with the girl with the sexy moves…

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