Saturday, January 22, 2011


The day didn't start quite as expected. I was late for ten minutes, thank goodness there was only one class that day. And when I got there, I was handed the sheet of paper that contained by GRE/GMAT Argument essay and it wasn't relevant enough to address the issue.

I always know I have a hard time conveying a message in an effective and efficient manner. Oh, and I was so burnt-out the day before whatwith the application and everything and so I slept late and woke up late and didn't have a chance to eat breakfast.

After the class, I went straight back to the hostel, had a very quick lunch of triple decker peanut butter and honey sandwich, and, thinking that I was already late, decided to walk rather fastly to the UN Plaza BART. I stopped a bit, though. There was this lovely bazaar of strange things like rings and necklaces... Things that could've been easily found all over Bali and even in some places in Jakarta, but still: I love trinkets.

The BART ride was fast, as usual. There's only one stop between UN Plaza and Mission. Waiting usually takes longer time than the ride itself.

I blogged earlier about finding FCBD's Red Door instantly when I went there for the first time. Nope, it didn't happen yesterday. I got lost for about ten minutes and definitely knew that I was going to be late. However, when I instinctively reached for my cell phone to get hold of the time, I was relieved: it was only 2:32 PM. The class started at 3 PM. So, I cleared out my mind, took the map that I drew, retraced my steps, and got to the studio very much way before time.

In the studio, I met Ms. Kae Montgomery (I knew her from the videos!). She was minding the store and told me that Ms. Anita Lalwani would be there soon. She showed me the changing room and I changed in there, my gaze transfixed on the posters and Indian accessories that were hanging there. This was truly the room where magic was made.

And soon, Ms. Lalwani came and oh my God... It was just incredible. It was just amazing. I was ecstatic. I mean, we did the Pooja and so many slow and fast moves and we jumped right down to cueing and she even let me take the lead.

I told her that I would be in San Francisco for at least six months and that my goal would be to open a sister studio back home.

After everything was done, she told me that I was already in Level 2, which means I've basically graduated from the six-week course of Level 1. Boy, that was fast. Although still, I need a lot of practice with taxeem and arm undulation and basically, the slow moves. There's the T-turn in Circle Step and Torso Twist that I still can't get right, so I need to work on that. Ms. Lalwani also reminded me of my posture. "Lead from the heart," she said. That was it for me.

Remember when I blogged about how Ms. Pooja Bhatnagar from the Nehru Center in Jakarta commented on my slouchy posture when I was taking Kathak? Yep... Apparently nothing changed. Or not much has changed.

Ms. Lalwani asked if I were interested in the Dance Conditioning class on Sunday morning, of course I said yes. She said that she would ask Ms. Nericcio if it would be okay for me to join. She explained about how men had this energy that would require constant attention. I almost blurted out and said, "It is not hard for me to be invisible."

Although that could sound depressing.

So, when we were in the changing room and chatting, suddenly someone entered and it was... Ms. Carolena Nericcio herself.

HERSELF. As in person. I was sitting and my heart leaped out and I just had to stand up.

I guess I made a fool of myself but I was just so startruck. I mean... This is the creator of American Tribal Style. I told my boyfriend about this and I said it would be like him meeting Jamie Oliver (my boyfriend's a huge fan of Jamie's). It's when you have an idol and you're finally meeting him/her and you're being treated very kindly.

Ms. Lalwani then encouraged me to say my goal in front of Ms. Nericcio and so I did. I repeated the whole thing: that I would like to open a sister studio in Jakarta.

When I went to FCBD's website late last year, I noticed that they had a General Skills Training in February. People who want to open a sister studio must take (and pass) GS Training. After that, there's the ATS Teacher Training 1 and ATS Teacher Training 2. I was going to ask Ms. Lalwani whether she thinks I'm ready for the GS Training... But before I could do that...

Ms. Nericcio asked if I was interested in joining GS Training.

Needless to say, I almost died.

I forgot what I said... Did I say yes? I guess I didn't. I think I said I was worried that I wasn't up to it but Ms. Lalwani said that although I needed some pointers and corrections, I could do it.

Everything became a blur after that. All I remembered was finally going back to the hostel where I almost cried in Union Plaza.

The day started out like hell... It's amazing how that one session at FCBD studio changed everything.

Even if I didn't get accepted in any of the universities of my choice, I'd still be happy to spend six months training for that little studio somewhere in the near future, where I can teach Tribal Pura.

Oh, and that lesson with Ms. Lalwani really kicked ass. When she was talking and laying everything down so clearly, I could see how passionate she is with ATS. And learning something who's passionate about that something is the best.

This is my favorite video of FCBD. You can see Ms. Montgomery (orange skirt), Ms. Nericcio (black skirt), and Ms. Lalwani in the background in orange choli top and green skirt.

And no, there's no choreography. Only improvisation, cues, and transitions.

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