Monday, January 21, 2013

Busiest Weekend

Those are sculptures of straight jackets hanging from the ceiling of the restaurant where I was having dinner after Club Bellydance... with the five members of Bellydance Superstars who are part of the tour, along with their road crew, Ava Fleming (who hosted the Phoenix Club Bellydance show), some of the other local performers, and a couple other audience members. And that is one reason why the busiest weekend was also the awesomest weekend.

(Side note: I had to steal this picture from Jolie's FB, because I left my phone in the car and couldn't take my own straight jacket sculpture pictures)

My weekend of busy awesomeness was not originally going to be anything too spectacular. I was going to vend at Yasmina's Bellydance Swap Meet, take a fan veil workshop, maybe have some dinner, and then go home. But a month or so ago Jolie asked if I would like to assist Skirt Full Of Fire at a gig up in Phoenix that night, because I had expressed some interest in doing some ride-alongs to learn more about the business side of dance. Since I was already going to be up there for the swap meet, this was perfect! So my plan became swap meet, workshop, assist at gig, maybe sleep over, then go home.

Then Club Bellydance was going to be in town on the 20th and I was torn on whether to go or not. After all, did I want to spend the entire weekend in Phoenix? But when the local performers were announced, I knew I had to go. Not only was Jolie performing, but so were my former teachers Anaya Tribal, so I really had to go make some noise for the ladies who have shaped my dance career (plus the rest of the line-up was pretty impressive). This meant that my plan was now swap meet, workshop, assist at gig, sleep over, Club Bellydance, maybe a quick late dinner after, go home.

I'll write separate posts about the swap meet and the pro gig, as each needs some things said about it and I don't want this to turn into a disjointed novel, but they were both good experiences for their own reasons, and I had a really good time on Saturday.

If you haven't been to a Club Bellydance show before, it's split into two parts. The first half consists of local performers who auditioned to be part of the show. This time around the judges had chosen a really great mix of soloists and troupes, tribal and cabaret. A really great mix of styles. Since it's pick-your-own-seating, I grabbed front and center, because why not? Besides, Fonda and I sat in the front row at my first Club Bellydance show, so I'd like to make it a tradition. I enjoyed the heck out of the first half of the show and was really glad that I went. It was incredibly inspiring and really a good time.

So during intermission I'm posting on  FB about how great the event is, when Jolie texts me from backstage and asks me if I want to go do dinner after with Sabah and the others. I played it cool in my response with a simple "Love to!" and meanwhile texted my husband going "Omgomgomgomg." I was going to get to hang out with the cool kids!

And that was about when I started thinking about the importance of making good decisions in life. If I hadn't decided to ask Jolie for the opportunity to help out with some pro gigs, and if I hadn't decided to spend the entire weekend up in Phoenix so I could see Club Bellydance, I would not have been in the position to get asked to the post-show dinner. By stepping out of my comfort zone with working to go pro, I had set myself up to go down a path that would lead to hanging out with a lot of dancers who I really admire. I think this is good inspiration to keep pushing myself!

As for the dinner itself, it was a lot of fun. I was between Sabrina and Ava. I spent most of the dinner being my usual shy, quiet self, just soaking up the conversation, but when Sabrina busted out her phone to show pictures of her cat and snakes, I came out of my shell a bit. I can always talk pets with everyone (thank goodness photographs no longer set off my snake phobia!). And I talked restaurants with Ava, who had picked the super-cool AZ88 as a place that could accommodate 17 hungry dancers and dance-related people at 10:30 on a Sunday night.

It was really, really awesome to meet all of the dancers and see how sweet and funny they are off-stage, and it was also nice to be reminded that while superstars may be far better dancers than I am, just like me they miss their pets when they travel.

Oh, and next time Club Bellydance comes through? I'm going to audition. Talk about pushing myself!

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