February 6, 2008

Yeah Zils!

A little ray of sunshine came back into my life this evening...I found my bag of zils. Wow, what a relief! If you're not familiar with the term, zils or finger cymbals are used as musical accompaniment for dancers. You can either play them along with the rhythm of the music, use them to create accents that don't exist or add a little musical flair to your performance. And, in case you weren't aware my zils have been missing for about a week.

It seems that dancers either love or hate zils, and there isn't much of a middle ground. They either love to play them or grudgingly put them on because audiences expect it when watching belly dancing. Personally, I used to despise them...and dreaded any time I had to take them out to play. The first time I had to use them on stage was just horrifying, and I do believe the only tape of that performance has thankfully disappeared forever. I found out that when I had to actually dance with them, I was unable to make any distinct notes if my hands were more than a couple of inches apart from each other...not conducive to a good performance!

Over time I have come to terms with my zils, and actually embrace playing them. I don't usually solo with the zils, but if you ask me to pick them up and play...no worries. I think I started to embrace zils after joining Mirage, where it's a guarantee we'll start each show playing zils. That experience combined with teaching informal classes really made me face my zil-playing fear...and I made it through stronger, smarter and more in tune with my inner zil-child. And, now I know…I do love them. It really is true; you don’t know how much you love something until you risk losing it.

It’s been tough for me...I'd already lost one pair of zils this past year, and I finally just ordered a pair to replace them. It took almost an entire year to get over that loss (silver Saroyans) because I loved how pretty and shiny they were; the weight of them; the coolness of the metal and their lovely clear, clean tones. Although I knew where to get another pair, I felt that I was admitting defeat, utter loss by going out and replacing them...but when I was faced with the loss of all my zils, I started clinging to the hope that if I got one pair back, the rest would follow.

And follow they did. I'm still waiting for my new silver zils (darn post office...they didn't come in the mail today), but I found my precious bag of zils, yeah! I have spent the last week searching, calling, seeking and hoping for my little bag of zils to turn up with no luck. I’ve called lost and found at the Union and at UT, searching through all my bags and in my car…with no luck. My biggest fear was that I had left them inadvertently at UT when I was teaching last weekend, and someone picked them up...liked the bag (it’s a cutie) and tossed out the contents. I don't typically lose keys, bags, purses, etc. so I’ve been upset with the fact that I was preoccupied or simply lazy and left my sweet little bag all alone. I worried that I let my zils down…despite the fact they’ve always been there for me…even when I didn’t love them unconditionally.

As it turns out, the bag had fallen out of another bag, and dropped behind a cushion that a cat had subsequently sat on. My little bag of zils was just hidden out of sight, but still safe and sound and in my possession the entire time. So, here I sit happy and content to have my bag back and the three sets of zils they contain. For the record, it's one pair of brass Saroyan Pros, brass Nefertiti and my very first (and dearest set of zils), the little Arabesque's that I learned to play on. *sigh*

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