Thursday, September 22, 2016

Things Kicking Around My Brain These Days

October is looking to be a crazy busy month for me, and I can already feel the energy gearing up. I'll have a lot of plates spinning, so to speak. On the one hand my Type A organization gal is all YES!, but my peace-loving hippie chick is all "I just want to chill and drink apple cider while laying in the leaves." I'll have to find a way to make both happy, I suppose.

1. I think the biggest thing on my mind these days is my business. September has seen the best month to date for me, and it has been incredible being able to tick off goals on my list. It is also bringing change, as I will be losing my current space as of November 1st. It throws a wrench in my plans, but I can't say as I was particularly suprised or upset by it. As much as I truly loved working in that space, I knew going in (it was a sublet, after all) that it was a jumping off point and I wouldn't be there for very long.

The good news is, I have already found an incredible new space that will allow me to expand my hours and have a wonderful community around me at the same time. I'm looking forward to eventually giving out more details, but it is still early days yet. Details to follow.

2. My dance troupe is performing three out of the four weekends in October, and then again in November. I will also be doing solos at two November events, as well as a full day of dance workshops... if I can ever remember to sign up for them. I really need to do that.

I am so incredibly excited for our first performance on October 1st, as it will be to live music, and Best Guy is one of the musicians! This particular venue really allows us to flex our theatrical muscles and we always come up with something fun. It will be our first anniversary of our troupe, so coming back to this spot has special meaning to all of us.

3. Cultural Appropriation and Middle East Dance... it's on my mind. There is a hafla coming up in early November and the call for dancers was very specific. The organizer is putting this event on with an eye for education, which means MED styles, folkloric styles, traditional music, the works. Which is awesome. I know this organizer and I know she has probably thought about this very issue and is working toward bringing understanding towards a larger community. And yet.... this is Vermont. My local city's diversity has exploded in the last fifteen years, but it is still a predominately white (pale? see-through?) state. It is in my mind that no matter how culturally sensitive we try to be, a white-wash of belly dancers trying to "educate" other white people with nary a cultural native in sight is not exactly representative of anything except our own privelege.

In the last two or three years, I have really strayed from the Egyptian/Cabaret style to focus on American Tribal/Tribal Fusion. Our dance troupe intentionally left out "belly dance" in its description. While we draw from it, our style is definitely American-based with a strong theatrical influence. I know personally that straying from my original style was never intentional; it was more a combination of what I had access to and the thrill of something new. Which is essentially the same reason I got into Egyptian/Cabaret. I was following my love of dance and movement more than any affection for the culture from which it came.

But after dancing in that style very minimally for the last few years, I worry about the ramifications of returning to it and claiming I somehow represent cultural knowledge and understanding. I love it, but what is this redhead saying, she who gets up to dance solely because the drums - any drums - call to her? She who prefers Western music over traditional? She who has never been to the Middle East, she who has no real desire to go? She who can't speak the language, can't identify any of the different drum rhythms (even though she knows they exist)?

I don't know what the answer is. But it's on my mind.

4. Beck the cat. Our poor girl is deteriorating. Slowly, but we are noticing it more in the last week or so. Yesterday, we had to start watering down her food so she could eat it better. The drool has come back in full force, and she has become much more tentative in her movements. Her personality is still there, she still cuddles/grooms her brother, and she still asks for cuddles. But the idea of a misdiagnosis has been swept from our minds. We've had two really good months with her; more than we thought we'd get. But if we still have two kitties by Halloween, I'll be surprised.


I was going to type more, but I went on about cultural appropriation way longer than I thought I was going to. If you're still reading cheers mate because I probably would have given up several paragraphs ago. So thanks, and in closing, here is a picture of me wearing a cowboy apron from the fair a few years ago.

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