So why write a blog?
To talk briefly about dance, what it means to my dance, teaching and performance life when I get back.
Well, let's start here, I've lived in Germany now about 3 years. the first couple of years...and still, I've struggled with being a foreigner, the outsider. New language, people, places, culture, everything.
I have over all LOVED my experience. And anyone that knows me, knows I'm not particularly, a "good American" whatever that means, can mean. I think every person in the world (withing capabillities to do so), and maybe especially Americans, need to get out into the world, live somewhere else, be the foreigner, the new person, not knowing anything, not 'being number one'. I think it's a nessicary for personal development and growth as a person. EVOLVE! :}
So, leaving the Bay intitally for me, was at least in my mind, a relatively easy thing to do. Giving up everything I had there, friends, the little family I concitter myself to have, DANCE, teaching, being in troupes, availabillity of AMAZING teachers there. Though, I hardly ever went to classes when I was there. More for reasons of not having enough money. Living in the Bay Area, even in Oakland, means working, a lot.
This is something that I came to appreciate SO MUCH while living here. When you live without something, when you change your life, you gain perspective. Now, living here, without all the amazing dance teachers, I have seen what I let pass me by while living in the Bay.
You know what they say about hindsight....
On my trip back, the first time back to the Bay in 2 1/2 years, I spent many many hours in dance classes, studied, trained for took and passed Suhailah L1 Certification. i was not going to let the opportunity of being there amoung these great people, this time pass me by.
There is so much to be said, the parallels of what goes on inside someone to what their life is like on the outside. Giving things up, and taking them back with new appreciation...
So, for 2 years living in Germany, I was the new kid, struggling to make something of myself, struggling to get visas to stay, struggling with the language, therefor Jobs, therefor money, therefor dance was completely sacrificed, I sat around the house a lot. I was far more dependant on others than I'm used to being. Someone that might have known me living here in Germany, might not understand who I am. In my element, I'm EXTREEMLY independant. Self assured, strong. It has been a challenge here for me, but in the same breath, it's been an valuable experience, and one I will never regret...no matter what my heart says to me right now...I will be a better person for this experience.
So, finally, I had learned enough German, started to earn JUST ENOUGH money, and started feeling like I DESERVED to start feeding my soul and my passions again, SCENE: Dance re-enters the room.
This was via, a job only a 15 year old would work...onto a shitty bar job (one I would NEVER deal with if I were back home and in my own elements), irregular work piercing, irregular Professional Make up Jobs, Hustling basically, to make enough money to start honoring myself and the things I love once more. Wake up those sleepy sleepy head parts of myself again.
I started going to workshops. I started believing in myself, started taking classes and started writing schools about coming to teach.
One of the emails I sent out came back, they wanted to meet with me. Semiramis dance School. we started, I would give a workshop, it was a success. So we booked another one, another success, happy students, happy teacher (me), happy owner of the studio, eventually leading to being offered a weekly class there.
THESE PEOPLE saved my sanity, busting ass to start dancing and teaching again. I will be forever greatful to them Thank you Beatrice and Christelle.
And now we have this wonderful weekly class that has been running for a while, a little student shuffeling, people in and out, always new ones trickling in...And a base group of students, so far, only women (I've had male students too in classes throughout my teaching experience). These women, what are we now 8? I love these ladies. these people who continue to stick with me, are willing weekly to work so hard, these people who TRUST ME with their dance form, with their minds and bodies for 90 minutes (at least) every week. I love my students so much. And I feel pretty aweful I am having to leave my class, to look at the faces while I tell them, I have to leave, and I'm sorry, that I wanted us to continue, that I love them, that I will miss them...and finally, that THEY were the reason I am not leaving immediately, that my decision to stay for another few weeks was to give them a half of a series of classes. I feel I owe it to them. They are the highlight of every week here. I can be having the worst possible day, and I go to class, and no matter how I walked in, I walk out feeling amazing and happy and good.
Dear students, I love you. I wish I could put the school in my pocket and take you with me, but luggage fees are outrageous. I also wish I was famousey enough, or THAT good of a teacher, people could afford to fly me out, then I'd come kick your asses in the studio from time to time. At this time, this is not the case, so you will just have to try to take a look at what I'm trying to express from my heart and hold that. Also, please keep dancing! I'll keep in contact and suggest teachers and workshops as much as I know of. Please keep dancing!
So, coming back to the Bay.
Well, you can't throw a rock without hitting an amazing belly dance instructor. What does this mean for me and teaching? I'm not sure. What does this mean for my dancing? Oh it's ON!! I will hit the classes and workshops, as much as I can afford to go, hit it hard and have my ass handed to me! No better place than the bay to have your ass handed to you in dance class. I can't wait.
As far as teaching? Well, the Bay is oversaturated with teachers. And I don't like stepping on toes either...
So, I've tossed around the idea a bit, what to do? I think I'll stay out of SF, and probly Oakland too in regards to teaching. (unless I find some amazing space to live in Oakland that has a dance studio in it).
I know this, I will offer private lessons for sure. And maybe we'll look around Marin/Petaluma Area, offer something like class series, see how that goes. I think it's not stepping on anyone's toes to offer a class in an area I know people won't travel out of to go take classes elsewhere like Oakland or Sf.
I know I'm not "X" dancer/teacher or "X" dancer/teacher. but I'm a damn good teacher, and I've spent since 2007 developing MY OWN teaching regiment, and I give credit to everyone EVERYONE, when I teach things I've learn. I've groomed and weeded and built and stripped and polished and let evolve, what I teach. Basically when it makes me go "AHA!" it's added into the curriculum.
I have a hellavalot to offer as a teacher. And I promise I will pay attention to you, and notice what you're doing and make corrections, and I also promise I'll be dislexiqu ....how do you spell that!? (I won't know right from left, I'll say elbow when I mean knee), I'll frustrate you, and challenge you, I will find your personal limit and push you to it, cause you deserve that. YOU'RE PAYING for that. I promise I will know WHY a body part is moving that way, and I promise when I don't I'll tell you I don't and to be careful then with the movement. I promise I will kick your ass in the workout and I promise even though the class is 90 minutes, we will almost never get out on time because I never feel like the class is over and you deserve as much time and attention and detail as possible when you take dance classes, and you deserve and need sttretching and a cool down to keep your body safe when we feel like the work is over.
I have a hell of a lot to offer as a teacher, and I hope I find my place back in the Bay somewhere, because I truly love to teach.
I want to take one moment to acknowlege the dance community I found here. thank you dear belly dance friends (it's all "belly dance" to me). Europeans get a little offended when it's reffered to as "Belly Dance"....anyhow.
If it weren't for you over the last year, my time out here, teahcers, students, dance partners, and just friends made just through belly dance festivals and such, my time here would have been harder than it was. You helped me find part of myself and part of my voice again, I thank you one million times.
Hey, I know I'm not perfect. But let's face it, I've tried DAMN hard. What's say, you cut me a deal, and I cut you one, or promise to hold up my end of taking care of myself as best I can. I'll even keep working on those parts of being open with people, not becoming hardend, taking it easier on myself, forgiving other people and myself, trusting my instincts and intuition RIGHT AWAY, if you, just cut me a break? We can do better than this. You and me dear Future, we're gonna be best friends and wickedly delicious lovers, a force to be reconed with.
ps. I'm serious about the gardening, pickling veggies, sewing, and chicken thing.
See you soon Bay Area. xo