PART 4: THE LOVE
Could you tell me the Fast Step and Slow Move that you love most from ATS? It doesn’t have to be your favorite, though, but the one that you most often use.
The Egyptian Basic. The step is just so big and gorgeous and it’s good for all body types. It fits right into the beat of the song. For the slow movement, I think it’s the hand floreos because they just complement nicely to the slow movements like the Taxeem, Bodywave, and Circle Step.
What do you think is the most gratifying aspect of performing?
Being able to entertain the audience – it was only until recently, during the second Taiwan trip in 2008 that I discovered to just let everything go and have fun on the stage. I used to resent the audience and the idea of me having to entertain them. So, my conscience and I decided to have a talk. I had lots of moments when my Self and I would say, “Let’s have a talk because this thing isn’t working.”
One time, my Self told me to let everything go when I’m performing. I used to think that when people came up to me and ask where I bought my choli or what music I danced to, people weren’t paying attention to me, but to what I wear and the song I dance to. My Self said, “That’s right!” So, at that moment, I decided to just dance and I was so into it.
At the end of the performance, I was there, with people taking hundreds of photos with me. I used to dislike people taking photos of me because I felt they were stealing a bit of my soul, but I realized this made them happy. So I just stood there until everyone was gone, still smiling, asking if everyone’s sure they don’t want to have another photo with me.
And what do you think is the most gratifying aspect of teaching?
It is so good to have that lightbulb experience and lightbulb look on the faces of the students. It’s so good to know that they can connect to what you are teaching.
It doesn’t have to be in the class or about a move you’re currently teaching, but it can also be about the body image. Some people who are really conservative could put on a costume and just have that lightbulb moment when they feel that it is just natural for them to bare their stomach and dance in something that could be too revealing for most people.
This one might be a hard one. Can you point out the things that you love most, in the dance studio, in the book shelves (the resource center), and the goods that aren’t the merchandise.
Inside the dance studio, it’s definitely (the statue of) Quan-Yin. For the books, I have to say it’s Africa Adorned (a hard cover book filled with gorgeous pictures of African jewelry, written by Angela Fisher). For the goods… I have to say my War Rug and my first coin bra.
Africa Adorned? Not even the Art of Bellydancing?
(Laughs). Oh, right! My book. I would add the Folkwear Tribal Dancer Pattern as well. I am very proud of that partnership. (The Art of Bellydancing Kit is a starter kit that includes a book written by Carolena Nericcio, a DVD, CD, belly jewel, and zils. The Folkwear Tribal Dancer Pattern was published by Folkwear Patterns and features Carolena’s original costume pieces.)
Alright! Now, to close our interview: what’s the meaning of the matching pinky tattoo that all members of FCBD have?
That one! Well, we were at Cues & Tattoos last year and Kristine (Adams) suggested we all got matching tattoos… So we did! And to have someone like Kae (Montgomery) who didn’t have a single tattoo on her body to do that (get a tattoo) was a brave thing.
Thank you! That’s the end of our session. I wish you good luck with your endeavors, especially your book! When is it going to be published?
You’re very welcome! Ah, the book! Well, not very soon. Megha is helping me writing it, but I suspect not very soon. But if it does get published, you’ll be the first one to know!
Thank you again! I’m looking forward to it!
So there you have it. To be frank, there're lots to love and talk about with this lady. Her insights are invaluable and one can learn so much from a short chat with her. I apologize if I hadn't covered the tidbits that you would have liked to know.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this interview. You can read the PDF document containing all parts by clicking this link.
I also apologize for my dorky smile in this photo. I look like a geek posing next to Seven of Nine in a Trekkie convention.