2011 has proven to be a most fruitful year since my departure from company tour life. Traveling as a solo instructor/performer does get a little lonely from time to time. Nevertheless, my independent spirit always presents itself with strength, and effortlessly carries me across the globe. The following images are special mementos from my travels and adventures. Hope you enjoy taking a little peek into my dance life.
The beginning of the year started with a series of intense flamenco training with master teacher, Roberto Amaral in Van Nuys, California. After several years of touring, my return to flamenco studies has been quite challenging, as I’ve had a lot of catching up to do! I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to spend quality time practicing this powerful dance. Thank you Roberto, for sharing your amazing talent with us.
For the first time, in a long time, I had an opportunity perform in Los Angeles! But this was not going to be my typical Egyptian style belly dance performance. The Zulu Lounge was holding a very special event for a very special cause, as they do throughout the year, and the theme for the evening was, India! It could not have been more perfect timing, since I had just returned from India, where I spent a solid month of intensive classical Indian dance studies. I felt super inspired to create something new…something I had never done before. This is an event where I am given the chance to explore outside the box, and ohhh how fun it was!
My first workshop of the year was a long anticipated one! After two years, I was finally able to make it down to San Diego, California, where I also had the privilege to perform live with Middle-Earth Ensemble. My mother joined me on this day long adventure, making it a very special one!
I thought it would be nice to share with my friends what I learned during my travels through India. So, I offered a a monthlong introduction to Odissi, classical Indian dance, where I spent quality time with some lovely ladies who took the time energy to come out and dance with me. Immense gratitude to Napali, Sooz, Jenn and Lilly for giving me this wonderful opportunity and experience!
For the first time, I drove the longest distance! To some, it might not be much, but to me, it was epic! It is 1800km, from Los Angeles to Seattle, and my first stop was in Portland to visit my best friends, and attend the 8 Elements Intensive with Rachel Brice…always looking forward to her new projects and ideas. After an intense week of dance training, á la tribál, I was Seattle bound, where I taught my latest drum solo workshop.
Awaiting to revisit South America, I was invited to one of the biggest festivals of belly dance in Bogota, Colombia. Upon my arrival, I was whisked away from the airport to a radio station, followed by a hectic schedule of television appearances! What a day…what a weekend! It was so good to reunite with an ol’ tour mate, Elizabeth Strong, as well as meeting a new friend and fellow dancer, Mohamed Shahin, Egyptian born New Yorker. A big thanks to Antonina, for organizing such a great event!
In between gigs, I do like to hang out with friends…and I bet you can guess what that entails…a little music and dancing, perhaps??
Another highlight of the year was sharing the stage with the great tabla master, Karim Nagi of Turbo Tabla and Carlos Carmona, one of my favourite male belly dancers. It was such a treat to spend time with them and our wonderful friends and fellow dancers in Queretaro, Mx.
Upon my return to Los Angeles, I was invited to share the stage with Rachel Brice, among all the amazing fusion dancers in the local community. This is a rare opportunity where I take myself out of my usual element as I experiment with my extensive dance background, creating new choreographies and style.
Visiting the Philippines for the first time, I was welcomed with open arms and beautiful smiles. The week consisted of two photo shoots (my first underwater photo shoot with the assistance of Kim Kong, as well as an in-studio shoot with the lovely Karen Ilagan), workshops, and an intimate performance with the workshop participants and their families. Oh yeah, and a dentist visit too…no cavities…Yay!!! Thanks to Charmaine Wang for organizing a great week in Manila!
My visit to the UK was certainly a wet one, considering it was the middle of summer!! Rain or shine, there was no lack of warmth from the workshop participants…Thanks to all!
Yet another month in beautiful Taiwan…Thanks to all organizers and students for the love and support!
After a very busy month of work in Taiwan, coming home to L.A. was so relaxing…yet, the dancing never stops! I was invited by my dear friends and ol’ tourmates Jillina and Lauren to join their fun and inspiring workshops at Jillina’s humble seaside studio in Malibu. They couldn’t be more generous friends and teachers! Thank you ladies!
Although my first visit to Brasil was short and sweet, I made new friends who MADE the time to take me out for a day! Obrigadooooo!
Teaching workshops in Peru for the first time was pretty exciting…but, what really took my breath away, was spending a week in Cuzco, among all the natural and ancient sites. Simply breathtaking! Thanks to Emilia for joining me on this great adventure!
You would think October would be a time for rest and relaxation! But noooooooooo, how could I possibly do that?? I spent the whole month attending my favourite ballet and flamenco classes, as well as conducted my personal Odissi dance practice. One of the best parts of being back home is not only the dance training, but the food I get to make myself! Being a fairly new vegetarian, I have experimented in the kitchen like never before. I especially like trying out new Indian recipes, my fave…thanks to my Guru-Chef Urmilla!
Back to the daily grind! And I mean that with the best of intention…heh,heh! Ohhh soooo grateful to see everyone in Hong Kong! Thanks to Liina, a wonderful host!
This brings us to the end of the year! My Goddess, what a year it was…abundant with wonderful things such as family, friends, love, health, dance, life! You name it, I was blessed with it! Thank you to EVERYONE who has made this possible!
To end the year, I planned a trip to India. I have done this for the past three years now, and I just can’t say enough about this place. I have hundreds and hundreds of images, but which one to share??? Maybe you will just have to revisit my blog, as I have a new story in the works! Thanks for visiting my scrapbook, 2011 a year in review. Love and blessings. ~S
…more to come!