The Indian blood that runs in the family certainly has something to do with it. I grew up siting next to my late grandpa and grandma watching Hindi movies probably 12 hours a day. I’m not kidding! I imitate almost all the dance (which is a lot even in one film of 3 hours long) and give my grannies a show at the same time. My dad probably stop me when I was 9 or 10 years old as I grew taller and blocking the view of everyone watching the TV. But of course my obsession and level of nuisance does not stop there. Solutions, he sent me off to ballet school. And from then on, my love for dancing is interminable.
After years of self taught (yes kiddies, back then we don’t have the internet, so the only way is to travel and discover), I finally get a chance to join classes during family vacation and bought tons of instructional VCDs from all the pocket money and Ang Pow I saved. My hipness started when I first saw Suhaila Salimpour performed live to a full orchestra on mom’s VHS tape that she bought for me years ago. Since then looking & searching for belly dance! And at the same time, I learned other type of dance.
Her uniqueness and expressive dancing caught my eyes. I’ve learned that from her. She reminds me of how your body is the actual tool of communication and expression. I was a quiet kid. I don’t express much through conversation. I don’t really tell anyone how I feel as no one actually ever ask before. So being able to express it through dancing, had certainly lifted my spirit and confidence sky high. Even better, knowing her age does not at all affects her performance until now, made me believe somehow there is still hope for the love of arts. In our current world, those who doesn’t have the look, and is slightly older are slowly drifting away. The clients rather pay (which in all honesty, we are approaching 2015 but most of them still begging for discounts) for look over quality. And Suhaila proves age is not an issue. If you have that extra cash to spend, go join her online lessons. It’s worth it!
Now, this next lady had me at hello. It is proven that lean and fit (or some like to call it skinny or thin) body can belly dance too. And guess what? Over the years, the same joke been haunting me. For those wondering what’s the joke? Here it is, ”but you don’t have belly, how to shake without it?” Well honey, what makes us great is not just using the fat on your body to shake, we learn the skills and body anatomy. I remember being screamed at during training. Why? Because my movement is not obvious enough, not big enough. As I being the smallest belly dancer (as claimed by most of my teachers and among my students), I have learned the hard way. I push myself harder every time just to be noticed. To exist. To see her, to know her existence had changed my whole life. Her performance was out of this world. Nothing like I’ve seen before. I was hypnotized. My jaw dropped as she dropped to the floor on her back. That my friends, will be my first time witnessing the backbend Turkish drop. Love at first sight? Yes, undeniably true. As her muscles move to every single beat without missing any, I can feel my eye balls are about to pop anytime soon and my cheeks are wet from my watery eyes. Perhaps it was tears of happiness or simply just have not been blinking for more than 5 minutes. I had this fear that I will miss out on any movement if I blink. As dramatic as it sounds, this is a real thing. And I bet it happens to many more out there as well. Since then, she have been my idol. Through her, I’ve learned body and muscles control, stage presence and the art of hypnotizing. Thank you Rachel Brice.
And so my journey begins…