Define GIFT*, please. What is a GIFT? Is it something material you´ve requested on your Christmas list? Is it a car? A house? A fancy dress? Something you can show off on Facebook or at a party? For me, GIFTS have two particular characteristics: the best ones are unexpected and they are immaterial: impossible to fully expose through images, film or words. Here´s what I got from Chicago: GIFTS*, my kind of gifts.
Teaching, performing and presenting my book “The Secrets of Egypt – Dance, Life & Beyond” – one more opportunity to share my Vision* of Oriental Dance and Life with the world.
First surprise: although USA seems to have been invaded by what is erroneously called “modern/fusion oriental dance”, the dancers I found were amazing and open to the Vision* I brought. Amazing in their dance but, most importantly, amazing as human beings. I am fascinated by fascinating people – this is clear – and those ladies made my day (beautiful, intelligent, generous, loving, creative: ahhhhh…don´t get me started).
Second surprise: being received by Erika Ochoa – the sponsor who organized my Chicago work visit – with tenderness, appreciation and respect. It´s nice (sweet) when someone believes in your work – not only in your popular name – and makes a point at showing it to you.
Third surprise: Chicago Bulls game (against Atlanta). Old dream – since Michael Jordan made that team fly. I´d carry this desire for so long but knew the odds of making it true were truly low: watching Chicago Bulls play in their own town/stadium in Chicago! When? How?
Done. 🙂 We went to see those gorgeous bulls play their asses off against Atlanta: we were meanly entertained (basketball of a high level is already a great form of entertainment but NBA doesn´t stop there: they throw an all American Show with cheer leaders, the Bulls´mascot (I´m a fan of that guy!), music, videos, virtual cake contests, WOWza: you name it).
The talent and instinct of those players never ceases to amaze me and watching it LIVE is…how can I put it?…addictive. Yep: believe me: if I lived in Chicago, you would see me at every single game.
Hot dog, wonder, nerves on fire and…pushing: pushing: pushing: I wanted to see them winning so bad. In times like this, you can REALLY see my competitive drive, a kind of drive that admits no comparison and not the slightest possibility of defeat.
Chicago Bulls won the game in the last minute – I thought I had a Jesus Christ experience (died, gone to heaven and back to life again). Maybe I did.
Fourth surprise: Ernest Hemingway birth house and Museum, just a 5 minute walk from where I was staying (Oak Park). One more passion/reading list to be added to the overwhelming pile of books that surrounds me wherever I go.
Another surprise inside of a surprise: the guide who showed me the house where Hemingway was born was a delightful gentleman with a full, fascinating life inside: a word pulls another word: he tells me he wrote two books and he´s offering me one of them (the one he´s most proud of): “THE HONEY BEE – DEBORAH´S FATE” by Heribert Breidenbach.
Fifth surprise (inside of which many others fit): those Autumn leaves in Chicago are the most beautiful & revealing I´ve ever seen. For the first time, I started to love Autumn (thanks, Chicago!) – the passage between seasons: the patient walk in the somber woods where directions are not clear (not yet…wait…learn to wait...): the grey zone between black & white: the bridge and the slow motion peregrination that lead us all to death (Winter) and rebirth (Spring).
And the prayer is: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU*