I joined Jamileh and 8 other dancers to perform at the Downeast Country Dance Festival on Saturday afternoon. When I woke up that morning, I could hardly wait to get into costume. I am glad that I started early, because the makeup application took a little longer than I expected. I was very pleased with the outcome, and I am sure that practice will speed up the process.
Before we took our places on stage, Jamileh accepted the microphone to speak briefly about bellydance. I have heard her say the same words several times, but never tire of it. She explained that bellydance is a celebration of women in all stages of life... "the excitement of youth, the pride of motherhood, and the wisdom of age." It is a dance that you can only become better at as you grow older and gain life experience. When she was finished speaking, one of Okbari's songs filled the auditorium as she performed a traditional improvised bellydance solo. She is an amazing dancer, and an inspiring woman, and I love to watch her perform.
When the song ended, the rest of us joined Jamileh on stage. First, we performed our choreographed piece to Enta Ma Oltesh Leh by Amr Diab. I was definitely nervous and could feel my cheeks twitching as a result, but I do not think it was noticeable from a distance. I cannot remember which song played next for our improvised piece, but that went well too. I had so much fun, and it went by so quickly, and I cannot wait to perform again. I proved to myself that I can improvise in front of an audience, and I think I did it well. I am so grateful to have had that opportunity before my first improvised solo in May. Very exciting!