I looked at her with disbelief. "Wh... What?" I stuttered. "I mean, the money I get, either from performing or teaching, goes to costumes and taking classes and workshops!"
"My husband said the same thing! He said that all my money went to more costumes and more workshops!" she replied.
I know I've dedicated the last six months of my life learning ATS the FCBD way straight from the source, but when my friend told me about a dancer called Mihrimah Ghaziya and that she was doing ITS (Improv Tribal Style), I was intrigued. So, I signed up for Mihrimah's workshop and my belief is reconfirmed: you never stop learning new things.
Mihrimah's format of teaching is well-crafted and nicely laid-out - this has to be related to her vast teaching experience. She explained the dance and the movements very eloquently and even took the opportunity to tell the students briefly about the history of Tribal and Ms. Nericcio. Her structure and method made it easy even for those who had never tried bellydancing, let alone Tribal Style bellydancing.
I learned the different dialects for Egyptian Half Turn, Arabic, Arm Undulation and also the format and shape of the chorus. She also taught about "gathering the chorus" to circle together. A really cute thing was when we (as a chorus) all knelt on one knee when the song was about to end while the featured (solo) dancer was doing her thing. She said that her troupe did it once to a very shy student who finally took the lead; it was a way to encourage the shy dancer or give props to a dancer who just did a neat thing.
It is just amazing that even when her tribe is very far apart from the Mothership (Mihrimah's tribe is in Germany), she still regards the ATS rules with much respect: have solidarity, have trust, and always follow what your leader does, even though you know he/she is screwing up.
I admire her, for she is not only a generous teacher, but she is one of those people who dedicate their lives for the dance. She has become a world citizen, travelling around the globe, staying with the Kalbeliya Gypsies in India to learn their dance. Now that's dedication.
Mihrimah Ghaziya dancing a modern version of "The Peacock"
* Photo by Kusuma Dewi. L-R: Veronika, Desi (the organizer), Lia, Mihrimah, Yours Truly