Friday, January 30, 2009

The New Year -- Looking Back, Looking Forward

January has been a reflective month for me.

I've done very little performing so far this year, but have devoted the past four weeks to thinking about what 2008 brought me and what I'd like for 2009.

All the "life coach" people say you should commit your desires to writing, but the most wonderful events of 2008 came as such a surprise -- so much so that I would not have dared to even ask for them, beyond a vague hope of "someday I'd like these things to happen" -- that part of me doesn't want to box myself into a list.

Travels were the first of 2008's surprises.

Early in the year, Raquy invited me to Egypt, where I:
  • Learned enough Arabic to get around and haggle the best prices
  • Rode a camel
  • Visited the Pyramids and Sphinx
  • Found the perfect cabaret costume (not an easy thing, given my size)
  • Shot pool with the locals (yes, they play pool in Egypt)
  • Visited the Egyptian Museum
  • Studied with the great Randa Kamel
  • Danced with a live band (unofficially, but they kept pulling me onstage, which was another great surprise)
  • Walked alone by the Nile at 2am
I went on various retreats -- drumming with Raquy and whirling with Dunya -- and managed to lose 20 pounds in the process.

I also visited San Francisco for the first time since I was 3 years old, and spent time with family I hadn't seen in over 20 years.

Having done theater and stand-up comedy in the past, it had been in the back of my mind to unite the two with bellydance, though I had no clue how this might happen.

To my surprise, I was asked to join the cast of the Off-Broadway show 700 Wives as a dancer and choreographer.

And to my greater surprise, Bellyqueen asked me to host the finale of their 10th Anniversary Tour -- which included assembling a 15-minute stand-up routine, which I subsequently began to perform in NY-area clubs.

On a personal level, I joined Kings County Divers and finally got my scuba certification, and have continued to teach sailing with The American Small Craft Association.

I also managed to refinance my co-op only a few weeks before the mortgage crisis hit (whew!!).

So... what's next for 2009?

At the moment, I'm concentrating equally on bellydance and comedy: continuing to develop a strong and flexible technique suited to working with live musicians, and building a consistently funny 20-minute routine and promoting myself as a comic in the New York area.

And I promise I'll make more updates to this blog (really I will!!), as well as put a full-fledged website online.

Beyond that... we'll I'm just staying open to new ideas and will see what comes my way.

Have a wonderful 2009!