And it so happens that the way to FatChance BellyDance and ODC Commons Studio is just one station away from the BART Civic Center, that's USD 3.50 for round-trip.
The first studio that I tracked was FCBD's. When I found the door, it was probably like when Alice discovered The Hole. I pressed on the buzzer, the door got unlocked, and I went it. It was so warm and agreeable but since I could only be there in a flash, I didn't take off my jacket and overcoat. And so I almost got cooked alive.
Ms. Kristine Adams, my contact for FCBD wasn't there. I had tried e-mailing her yesterday (or was it two days ago), informing her that I'd arrived in SF and I wished to visit the studio, but she didn't respond. So I just gathered all my guts and went.
I was greeted by Ms. Suzanne Elliott, whom I know by face (and I was very proud about that), and she told me to write my e-mail and name and she'd forward it to Ms. Adams. So I did. I wrote a note, actually. I guess that kind of confused Ms. Elliott. But anyway, let's just hope everything would be fine and I could start the sessions very soon.
I took a peek inside the studio and I found people dancing. I should've anticipated from the hypnotic sounds of zills that I'd heard from way downstairs when I was climbing up. What I saw was very beautiful.
After leaving the studio, I realized that I hadn't drawn a map of the location of ODC Commons. And I also didn't take note of their address. It was somewhere there in the Mission District. I just remembered that it was on a street parallel to FCBD. I saw a streetsign that said "Shotwell". That rang a bell. So I took chances and just walked down the road on the direction back to the 16th Street/Mission BART station. If I didn't see the place, then I'd still have to go back to the station anyway.
And there it was. ODC Commons Studio. It looked so small on the outside, but when I came in, it was so huge. It was so big.
I kind of got the front-desk girl confused because, well... I was freezing, and English, despite what everyone says, is not my first language.
When I asked her if Jill Parker (Ultra Gypsy, former member of FCBD) Tribal Bellydance class had any gender restrictions, she said definitely no and that ODC Commons made sure that all the instructors there didn't have that issue either. So I was so glad. She told me I could get the first class for free. Yay!
For Tribal Bellydance, it's a drop-in only class and each session is USD 12. The next session will be on Wednesday. I can't wait.
The front-desk girl encouraged me to look around so I did. And oh my God. The place is huge! There are at least four dance studios on the first floor and two more on the second.
She also told me that in Suhaila's school, there's no gender restriction. Maybe I should check the place. Nigma told me that I should definitely try to take classes from Suhaila. Well... I think I'll start with FCBD and Jill Parker.