Tuesday, September 15, 2009

International adventures

During 2007 and 2008, I wrote an MA thesis about belly dancing in New Zealand, which was duly marked and pronounced to be good. You can find it in the University of Canterbury library, and read it online here. It consumed my life for that year and a half. i read a lot of writing in the field, such as there is. One of the things that happens when your life is consumed by a topic, especially when it's not a widely written-about topic, is that you sometimes imagine idly to yourself "wouldn't it be SO COOL if Important Scholar X, who I am citing, read my thesis?" And also "wouldn't it be SO COOL if somebody one day invited me overseas to talk about my research, enabling me to meet other scholars in the same field and also maybe study some belly dancing while I'm at it?"

So you can imagine that I was reality testing rather a lot when I received an email from Barbara Sellers-Young inviting me to participate in a panel with her and Anthony Shay, among others, at the International Belly Dance Conference in Toronto in April 2010. Was I awake? Had I fallen unheeding and unheeded into psychosis? Or did those two idle daydreams just come true?

Accordingly, I'm planning my trip to the IBCC, where I will be able to do a ton of study, jet lag permitting. I am literally flying there, arriving the night before, and flying out the morning after it all finishes, hopefully without totally crashing afterwards. (For those of you just joining us, I'm in New Zealand. I'll fly to Australia and then direct to Canada. It involves crossing datelines, which is why I'm confused about how many hours it will be, but suffice it to say, it is no less than 12.)

I'm very excited by the intended instructor lineup, which will include Khairiyya Mazin, of all people, and Mahmoud Reda, Jillina, Delilah, Yasmina Ramzy, Sema Yildiz, Sera Solstice, and a couple of people I've studied with before - Hadia and Amel Tafsout. Based on the previous IBCCs there will probably be music classes as well. It's going to be incredibly worth it!

Now of course my job is to get as much cash together as I can for this, since there will be opportunities for buying music and other things. It comes at a time when I've stopped teaching dance, so the income I might have had from that is MIA. On the other hand I do intend to offer some short courses and will, hopefully, be able to pick up a few extra bucks from that.

I will post updates and reports from Toronto when it all happens, but in the meantime, join me as I prepare for this once in a lifetime opportunity!