Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Learn something old every day

Tonight I attended another of Alessandra Belloni's Italian drum and dance classes. She is an amazing artist and a wonderful teacher. I can't gush enough about her, but I will stop it there for now. Tonight we worked on the tarantella drumming rhythm. I used to be able to do it fast, or at least at full tarantella speed, but when I tried to follow along with a dvd a few years ago, I was incredibly rusty. Tonight she broke it down into steps and I was mostly able to put it back together. I could follow her drumming and kept up as she went faster and faster but couldn't rock the speed on my own lol Ah well, I need to practice!

As we were putting our drums away and moving into the dancing part of the class, I was transported back to my Grandparent's kitchen. My Grandfather was sitting at the head of the table and I was sitting to his left. I was maybe 3 years old (and when older, he would show me this a lot...). He would drum out a beat on the table using his fist and his hand, which would flip back and forth to make the rhythm. It was almost the exact same thing we were drumming tonight. When I was little, I thought it was an army thing. he was incredibly proud of having served in WWII. And in all the years I've been doing tarantella, I never put that together. I was just good at that kind of dancing and drumming and never gave it a thought. Then again, I've never taken my study and work with it as seriously before.

This is a perfect example of how it works in my Family: You are taught without realizing it, without having to put together the connections because it's just there, a part of your life, part of the family games and the stories and "the things we do."

Thank you, Grandpa, for teaching me something I didn't know I had learned!

On deck for posting (which doesn't actually mean it will appear here):

Why words are important and when and how they should evolve (pt 2 of  "formed in strength" vs "formed in beauty")
Witches in Turin cause earthquake (on purpose, in protest!)
The difference between "tolerance," "acceptance" and "understanding."
Commedia dell'arte


  1. How wonderful that you can study with her. May I ask which of Alessandra's tambourines you have? I am contemplating buying one and am not sure what to get. Any recommendation? Thanks!

  2. I have a Tamburello ( I've been thinking about getting the Black Madonna tambourine ( The design doesn't float my boat, but it sounds great and I've had the chance to play it and it's very comfortable. Sometimes ya just need less jingling.

  3. Just wanted to say thanks again - I received my tamburello yesterday. It sounds incredible even with the little bit of video instruction I've used. It sounds SO wonderful - even my husband remarked about the tone.
    Don't care for the Black Madonna design much either and I think this one is a good starting point to learn how to hold and handle it. Maybe later I'll get one. I also purchased her book, Rhythm Is The Cure with a DVD.