Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Decisions, Decisions...

Sigh - so much to do and so little money! Yes, "Elizabeth" moved back to Miami and found a wonderful job where she doesn't have to choose between feeding herself or feeding her dog but "Nawar" wants to spend all of "Elizabeth's" money and there's a rift growing between the two personalities. Do I prefer to eat daily, purchase gasoline to take me to and from work so I can make a living and ensure that I have utilities and a roof over my head or do I want to buy costumes that make me drool, jet set to far-off lands to engross myself in culture and take workshops from every dancer whom I aspire to be like? Decisions!! Sadly, my lucky numbers have been no luck at all since as I Iook around, I'm not swimming in a pile of money so I GUESS Nawar will have to make a few sacrifices and cut Elizabeth some slack.

Remember being a child at the grocery store with your mom or your dad, putting any and everything within arm's reach into the shopping cart? After getting scolded, mom or dad felt an ounce of pity and told you that you could have just one item of your choice. Damn! Bubblicious or Dunk-a-roos? This exact emotion has plagued me for the past few weeks because workshop after workshop taught by dancers I admire are surfacing like there's no tomorrow and logically, I can't attend them all... but I want to....

To give you an idea of what I am currently facing:

Tamalyn Dallal
Nourhan Sharif
Karim Nagi
Amar Gamal

This is just September and October and the list goes on! Add to that various performance and fashion shows, costumes, eye lashes, photo shoots, air tickets and regular weekly classes and you're living the American Dream.... living "the life" on the surface but racking up crazy debt and crying on the inside every time the credit card bill arrives. Sidebar - I don't own any credit cards. If I don't have the money for something, I don't need it! End Sidebar.

Photo courtesy of

Workshops are important tools for any dancer, from beginner to career professional. I have danced since I was a child; I've been a member of all sorts groups, troupes and entities that seemed more cult-like than anything, and I have also been a leader. I've never seen or felt the sense of community, respect and appreciation for a dance form as I've seen for belly dance and Middle Eastern dance forms in general. I currently study with someone whom, after a few classes, I am in complete and utter awe of. The other night she began teaching a form of dance that I'd never heard of [but am unequivocally in love with because hot damn, it's beautiful!] and in an instant, at another dancer's request, she spit out its history. Like other instructors, she encourages growth through learning from others. She said something to me the other day on the phone and she's right; when you walk out of a workshop you have a dance growth spurt. Learning from masters seems to automatically make you a better dancer, spiritually and technically. I'm fortunate to get to learn from someone who travels the world and has such a broad dance vocabulary so every class feels like a workshop! The feeling that I get when entering and leaving her class is the sense that takes over me when I see that someone I've belly stalked (I'll be the first to admit that I do this - no shame) will be teaching a workshop in a city near me. It's immeasurable. I turn into a kid all over again but this time, mom and dad aren't around to tell me I can only select one item so I put everything within arm's reach into the shopping cart and for a few months, Marshmallow and I live on breadless PB&J sandwiches and Goldfish crackers. How can I possibly be expected to choose?

Photo courtesy of

For the workshops that will be taking place within the next two months, I may try a series of ideas: flipping a coin, picking names from a hat, waiting until the last minute and attending those that haven't sold out.... I guess I don't have to attend all three shows at the Miami Belly Dance Convention... Sigh, life isn't fair.

*Animal Rights activists and dog lovers, Marshmallow does not go hungry! :)



  1. Love it! Imagine poor me with teenage kids. I have been able to manage it so far and feel blessed to do what I can but I do understand. My secret bellydance dream, travel and take classes and go to shows. Eventually maybe get paid but that is for the big girl bellydancer in me. Love you and MISS YOU!!!! Saniyah!!

  2. Saniyah,

    I feel for the parents out there! I never even thought about that - all the sacrifice that goes on for one's children! Reach for the stars, my love. Anything is possible with hard work. Love & miss you too and can't wait to see you!

  3. Nawar, so many of us can relate to this. My two personas have been battling for a while! Looks like Jenny's edging out Noureen :) Thanks for sharing!

  4. Perhaps one way to approach this problem is to explore whether any bartering options might be available. If you have a skill like photography, costume design, seamstress, marketing/PR, or even could offer babysitting for a portion of a workshop time, I wonder if some workshop organizers/teachers might be willing to reduce their price in exchange.... Just a thot.

    Just as you are wise to recognize that life still exists without credit cards, I think we can all sometimes use a reminder that life can actually exist without (a lot of) money as well ... as long as we are creative.

  5. Thanks, Jenoureen! =)
    Holly - interesting perception. That is an idea to take into consideration!

  6. I SOOOOOO FEEEEELLLL YOU!!! I feel so far behind, wanting to take workshops and buy costumes and jewelry, but Angie must take care of Angie's responsibilities first and then Daania can run and play. LOL!! But no worries, Daania will be back out there taking classes and dancing and shopping in no time!! :) I loved your blog!!

  7. Im with Daania. I sooooooooooo feel your pain.... Watching other dancers and wanting to be just like them. Wishing they lived in the same city you do so it would be easier to take some of their classes and workshops. And i think im in the beginning stages of bellystalking some dancers.... But then I realize im still young and stil somewhat new to dancing and God willing I have plenty of time. One day I will be able to do all these things. Until then I will continue to learn from those wonderful ladies surrounding me, like the lovely Dania, Jenny and Nara....