And Other notes on my visit back to the US...

Nov. 2nd 2012. I'll never forget the date.
I won't forget how akward I felt standing in front of the woman herself. SUHAILA SALIMPOUR. I have to laugh, because in a way it's  silly to be so nervous, she is a lovely, encourraging, wonderful woman. She also doesn't allow for slacking, tough love in the best way possible. I won't speak too much about the test itself, rather encourrage you to go and do this for yourself.
What is a Suhaiala Level1 test? What does it mean? IT DOES NOT MEAN, I can go out and teach her format. (I believe you have to be Certified level 3 to teach the Salimpour Format). What is it then? It's a personal test and a goal...and a start to you on your way to the higher certifications.
To stand in front of this woman, (my favorite teacher of all time), have her call out and assess you in HER format, the most ass kicking format I have found to date, and then get her approval. It's amazing. It was hard work, training, I was in classes about 3 times a week 1-3 classes each of those days at 'the mother ship' The School itself in Albany California, I had 2 private lessons with Andrea Sendek (amazing woman for preparing people for the certifications). Went to Andrea's seperate Suhaila Format Classes at the FCBD Studios. Had to read, study, make myself understand classical dance speak, and Suhaila format Speak, had to pull out, dust off, and make friends again with my finger cymbols (we're still working some stuff out)...
And still made some time for a few other classes, with Strangebrew, and visits with friends, eating all the foods I haven't had here in Europe over the last 2 1/2 years, helped mama at home with her broken ankle, made it to Shadow Dance and Unmata's 10 Year Anniversary Show -Blood Moon. Got to see dear friends, places, and the shopping...woa mama.
Anyhow, so I had been back and forth in my mind in my security level of how I would do on the test, I went everywhere from, yeah, whatever i got this to, oh shit, I'm not gonna make it.
We had to set up a private test for me while I was in the US, I wouldn't be there in the normal test date times (people lucky enough to live n the area are able to take the test on specific group testing dates - check the website for those dates), for me I would miss her in Europe until sometime next year, and miss the normal test dates at the studio, the "Mothership" in Albany California.
So, Nov. 2nd 2012, 11am, just me and Suhaiala...
It was all done in about an hour hour and a half, then I HAD TO WAIT, It was a very hard few hours. Checking email often, then all of a sudden it was there, and i smiled, my finger going towards the button to open up the email...then i pulled it back, waited a couple of seconds, then pushed the button, and heres what i saw:

Dear Keri,

Congratulations!  You have passed the Suhaila Salimpour School of Dance Level 1 Certification Test.  Due to your hard work, you have proven your proficiency in Level 1 in the Suhaila Salimpour Belly Dance Format.  We are very excited about the impact this format is having on the Middle Eastern Dance community, and we are proud that you have chosen to become a part of Suhaila's program.  In about 4-6 weeks, you will receive your personalized certificate in the mail as proof of passing the Level 1 written and practical exam.

Happy happy Keri. I did the hard work and it paid off! Now the trick, is continuing that work now. i will be joining the online classes and keeping up with what I've learned and continue to challenge myself, because I deserve it.
Do you know what's even better than the certification? To learn more things about myself as a dancer (and as a person). Who knew? I didn't really know i was so in love with my finger cymbals, I expect to keep up with that and get much better at it, they're fucking beautiful when played right, with interesting patterns, and funny, even though i have a very hard time w left hand dominant, I preffer it. I also learned to LOVE the work being asked of my legs and building those up, I also learned that y body is pretty smart, it can do a lot, and i owe it to my body and myself to ever find challenges and confront myself with it, my body and I, we're kinda stuck together, we deserve this stuff. xo