I´ll have to apologize – once more – to all my blog readers for the lack of time, energy and focus to publish frequent articles. The cause for this apparent “problem” is actually a blessing: I´m too busy working, traveling, making sure my next book is the start of something truly GREAT, a new door opening in my life and in the way people see dreams and the roads they bring along.
So much to tell you and little time and space to do so. Somehow, I´ll try (briefly and straight to the point).
Returning to Russia – to teach, perform and judge – was a predictable joy. It doesn´t matter how many detractors the Russian Oriental Dance community gathers, the truth I´ve seen with my own eyes has been the same: here´s the country where the best work and technical development has been accomplished. It´s not perfect – there´s no perfect Oriental Dance community. It´s still the best I´ve come across.
Plus: Russians make me feel at home: imagine you´re sitting at the fireplace in your own living room, wearing your pajamas and driking hot cocoa in a hand painted mug: that´s exactly how Russia and their citizens make me feel.
Extra plus: I´m invited to teach, perform, judge and lecture for all kinds of reasons (popularity, credibility offered to a certain event, recommendation of someone “important”, fame, etc); Russian sponsors have always hired me for the only reason that can make an Artist happy: they recognize my value as a dancer/performer/teacher and respect it to the point of wanting me to leave a mark on their dancers, even if their style (the so called and criticized “russian style”) is distant from the Egyptian style I teach. They probably hire me for that exact reason: I bring something different to their community: something they recognize as valuable.
Tatiana Dubrovina (whom I met in Moscow, last May) added another beautiful stone to this russian home I call mine. She organized the “Northern Oriental Festival” in Petrozavodsk (relatively close from St. Petersburg which immediately became one of my favourite places on earth) with enough candour, generosity, professionalism, love and dedication to make my eyes water. Dancers from 10 different cities joined the event and their humble curiosity (ok: humbleness is always curious) made me return to the first steps I ever gave in this magical dance.
Every single person I met – from Anna and Natali in St. Petersburg to students, audience, dancers and even strangers – received me as if I was Russian. Probably better than if I was Russian. Never – for a second – I felt like a foreigner. No wonder “my beloved Russian sisterhood” has started dancing in my head from the moment I landed in St. Petersburg and all the way to Petrozavodsk.
Err...there was also a Russian man (oh, boy…) in the story but I´ll leave that for later 😉
Success redefined – trip by trip; step by step; experience by experience. Success is (by now) doing exactly what I love without compromising my values, belief system or soul WHILE being appreciated, understood, respected and loved by the ones who surround me. Russia is not the only country where I see my work supported and cherished with full heart. It´s certainly the warmest.