Monday, September 26, 2011

New Beginnings

Something touched my shoulder. I whirled and saw the Lord of Beasts looking at me from the gap ten feet away.
 Ilona Andrews, Magic Bites

When I joined Mecha's class six weeks ago, I had no idea I would soon be experiencing my first troupe performance, let alone hearing words like awesome, cute, precise and pizzazz in reference to it. I had joined her class as a way to get back to belly dancing while waiting to officially join Azalea, the beginner Egyptian performance class taught at the same school by Thia, the school's owner. Azalea didn't kick off until this last Tuesday.

When I showed up for the "advanced beginner" class six weeks ago, I was simply trying to mimic the moves of the very adept teacher as she wended her way through routines. Three weeks ago she announced that she had permission to debut her class as a troupe to Shakira's "Ojos Asi." Since I was about to leave the class the following week, I asked her to copy me the FaceBook link to the event so I could come watch. Her response? An incredulous, "You're just going to watch?!"

"You want me to dance with you?"

"Just let me know how you feel about it on Thursday." I realized I had two weeks to memorize a choreography that I hadn't expected to perform. So my two-a-week sessions, including my private lessons with Kelsey in tribal fusion, suddenly expanded to three when it was time for me to start with Azalea. Mecha happened to be subbing for the class, so I got extra time with her to pick up another segment of the choreography.

Each night I put in about an hour trying to get through the moves, to the neglect of much of my other training. Azalea started in full swing on Tuesday, launching immediately into drills of my first choreography there. I was consistently called out on various issues, mostly due to the tribal style I had picked up and need to tweak for Egyptian dance. It also comes as no surprise as most of the girls have at least a year or more of belly dancing in Thia's schools. They say it's a test and a compliment to be picked on or singled out in her class. She wants to see how you respond to criticism and she only does it with dancers in whom she sees potential. But let me tell you it's rough, and I want to improve so she doesn't keep stopping the class for my personal instruction.

Saturday, I and the other girls in New Beginnings--Tammy, Heather, Rebecca, Kathey and one other girl I feel guilty about not remembering her name--arrived at Sugar Space at 7 pm, one hour before performance to block out our performance. I was so nervous and running late that I hadn't realized until I took off my heels to practice that I was wearing a mismatched pair of shoes. We were third in the lineup and I was hoping I was going to do a lot better than our last practice, trying to clear my mind.

It wasn't long until we took the stage following a drum solo, a incredibly fluid dancer and a very long announcement introducing our first performance. I couldn't see the audience clearly due to the lighting and once we were about 16 beats in, the room was full of beat clapping guiding us through. I lit up my smile and flirted as best I could with the audience to the fast paced music, and before we knew it, the routine was ended. I blew a couple of kisses at the audience as we exited to the applause.

Once we returned to our seats, I kept hearing how they loved my costume and how awesome the performance was. Thia also told me, "You were awesome." I sought out my private instructor who had come to see me so I could thank her for coming and she said the same thing, complimenting me on a cute smile as well. I confessed that I made a few mistakes, and she insisted that there weren't any and she was watching for them. She didn't see them. I had successfully covered over them. But this being a community and we being beginners I certainly wasn't go to let the few words go to my head until I saw what the announcer Yasmina, herself a long time veteran and organizer of Night at the Casbah, posted on Mecha's wall:

Your solo had so much passion and left the audience wanting more Mecha! AND finally--what can I say about your babies-"New Beginnings?" They stole the show last night--the audience went wild--AND if that was their first performance--we are going to have to hold onto our seats for their second show! NEVER have seen a first-time group perform with such precision and pizazz!

I am flying higher than a kite. I see my private instructor tomorrow and back to Azalea class the day after. I am also back to only those two lessons and an occasional drop in on Mecha's class--that is, unless there is  a second performance.

Hugs and Blessings,
Sofia Featherwind

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I would say you have found a great place to blossom, Congrats to you girl!!!