I just finished the Ava Fleming Profession’s Retreat in Asheville, NC. Yes, it was awesome, and we’ll see if I can manage to write more about it, soon.
I also performed at a show in my hometown, for the very first time. That’s write-worthy, as well,esp. as I got to see the amazing Donna Mejia perform again. *sigh*
One thing I did want to get down was this homework I wrote from the retreat, on why I started dancing. I thought it’d be of interest to my readers:
I started because I was bored, and wanted to move. I was a teen kid in the Southern US, and my Mother has focused me like a laser on the academic front literally, as my early interest in Track was pushed back for Academic Team. I really ached for some movement, and figured dance was it.
Of course, the problem was that, in part, I didn’t know a damned thing about dance. I never learned dance as a kid, and none of my family did anything but social dances. But I was stubborn, and started checking books out the library this was before the advent of widely-available video tapes exploring dance. I worked through books on Native American dance, as part of my interest in my Native American culture heritage. I poked at ballet, tap (as much as you can do without the right shoes)!, modern, all via poking through books and the occasional PBS dance show.
But I think Belly Dance was kind of embedded in my mind. I had seen it first, I think, via watching the show Vega$, where the opening credits had a snip of a dancer. And it was just that second of hips shaking, something exotic and even, dare I say t, a bit erotic, that hooked me as a kid. Add to that a dimly-remembered dancer on an episode of PM Magazine that cemented the idea that belly dance would be an awesome form to take up, fun, and breaking new ground for me.
Of course, it never occurred to me that it was supposed to be “for women only”. Even reading my first book, Serena Technique of Belly Dancing, it didn’t hit me at all that there was a reason she only talked about women, only showed costumes for women. It wasn’t important, and I was certain that men had to be part of it. So I started studying it, and studying it over and over, for about half a year, poking at it after it. Study happened in the interstitial time between coming home, and my mother arriving from work, since I knew, somehow, she’d not approve.
But I did, I reveled in the sense of my body, so different that what I was used to form being a tall, gangly teen. I adored the sense of Otherness, of an exotic alternate reality just parallel to my mundane life. If lifted me up, to play with this, and made me feel really, honestly like a different person, my own person, for the first time in my life.