Looking back at 2011

2011 has been an incredible year, very gratifying and challenging in ways that have made me grow as a dancer!  A few highlights…

– January: Grand opening of Bright Star World Dance, my brand new dance studio partnership with fellow dancer and friend, Jan Hanseth.  Application to teach at the Las Vegas Belly Dance Intensive accepted!  Attended and excellent weeklong professional workshop with Aziza of Montreal in Florida for the second year running.

– April: Hosted a great edition of Raqs Borealis featuring Jeni, newly arrived in Maine from LA. Attended a fantastic day of workshops and had a private lesson with Leila Farid at Raq-On Studios in Lebanon, NH!

– June: Hosted Tamalyn Dallal at Bright Star for a weekend of sold out workshops and show, and a screening of her excellent film 40 Days & 1001 Nights.

– July: Had a great consultation with Julie Eason of the Belly Dance Business Academy, and made the decision to produce a DVD of the workshop I’d be teaching in Las Vegas, “Delicious Pauses: Negative Space in Movement.”

– August: Had a photo shoot with the incredible Michael Baxter of California in Boston, and captured the image for my DVD cover!

– September: Traveled to the Las Vegas Belly Dance Intensive, where I taught a workshop and gave very well-received performances in both the pro show and on the festival stage. I had the opportunity to connect with dancers from around the world as far away as New Zealand (hi Roslyn!), and to meet some of my favorites, like Princess Farhana and Ahava!  What an incredible varied, awesome and well-run event this was!

– October: Shot all of the footage for my DVD!  Developing new workshop topics for 2012.

– November: Hosted sold out workshops and show featuring Zafirah of Montreal in Portland.  Traveled to Baltimore to perform in the DVD shoot for the documentary, “A History of America’s Belly Dancers of Color” in Baltimore, Lotus Niraja’s latest project, where I shared the stage with dancers I’ve admired for a long time, and dancers new to me, who totally blew me away!

– December: Released my DVD, “Delicious Pauses: Negative Space in Movement,” with nearly 30 pre-orders going all over the USA–and one to the Netherlands!  Had a great photo shoot with Jon Reece.  Helped my students prepare for an excellent student recital in which they really shone!

… Whew!

Next year has lots of exciting things in store.  Now it’s time to take a few weeks to catch my breath and relax, before jumping feet first into 2012!

Thank you, thank you to everyone who has been a part of my life this year, particularly my ever-willing students; my dance teachers and my dance community; my business partner and friend, Jan Hanseth; Samira Tu’ala and her team at the Las Vegas Belly Dance Intensive; Julie Eason of the Belly Dance Business Academy; my fellow “Circle” members, my sister, Bragita; my awesome event volunteers… and last but not least, my boyfriend, Sam, for his constant support and encouragement.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season, with some rest and relaxation thrown in!  Cheers!Image