"How long is your workshop?" she asked.
"Three sessions, each one is two hours. Six hours total."
"How about Saturday, 16 July?"
"But Arabesque (our hafla) is on the 17. Won't we be busy doing rehearsals?" I asked.
"Okay... Well... That leaves either the 30 or 31 July. That's the beginning of Ramadhan, though," she replied.
"Hmm... How about 10 July?" I suggested.
"That sounds great! Okay, 10 July. I'll get the ball rolling," she said. And in the next hours, text messages came in from her saying she received confirmations from many people.
The conversation was on Saturday, 2 July 2011. I came back to Jakarta from my trip to Bali at 1 AM a week after and found out that already eleven people paid for the workshop. The next day, the total participants reached 21 people, dancers from all backgrounds and experience.
Here is what I noticed: ATS is not for everyone (out of 21 participants, only 4 showed their interest in learning more). I'm not talking about physical limitations, not even the inability to keep the elbows lifted with the shoulders back and chest lifted. I'm talking about the constant need for choreography and the ability to just "wing it".
That being said, I found my experience exciting (to say the least - the four enthusiastic participants demanded an intensive before I went back to the US on 10 August) and humbling (many of the participants were newbies and never touched finger cymbals in their lives, and they played better than I did when I first started out).
Also, it reminded me to always, always be patient, because not everyone is on the same level as the others. Nobody was a bully in my class. I'm a victim of bullying and I will not tolerate that behavior while I'm teaching. No matter how long you've been in the advanced level, when a new person (who had just got promoted to the same level as you are) entered your class, you are obliged not only to welcome him or her, but to be forgiving. It is really, really intimidating to dance with people who are more experienced and it helps to see smiles and receive friendliness.
I'm in this for the dance, not for the drama. I'd go take acting classes if I needed drama.
The second picture in this entry showed me bowing to Ms. Miftah, our troupe director, thanking her for successfully organizing the workshop on such a short notice.
So, there you have it. I'm sprinkling a little of FatChanceBellyDance dust that I received during my training to the dancers in Jakarta. I hope this will be the beginning of a lovely path filled with flowers, old coins, fluffy skirts and pantaloons, cholis, old silver jewelry, zils, swords, and a whole lot of American Tribal Style.