In the Belly of Nuit
SAWAH - INSIDE INFO #2 (out of 10)
Aspirations of Today's Bellydancer

True to Thyself - Post Sawah Production Thoughts

SAWAH INSIDE INFO # 10 (out of 10) - True to Thyself

What did I learn in the making of SAWAH? More than ever I have learned that I must listen to and trust my instincts about music choice, costumes, lighting and of course movement.

In INSIDE INFO # 1 (out of 10), I mentioned that I had been asking Arabesque Orchestra for 5 pieces of music over the years which they refused for a variety of reasons but for some reason, in SAWAH, there was less resistance and I got all 5 of my music wishes to come true.

I always tell my students to choose music to dance to that they are passionate about and moves them, no matter what style. I finally took my own advice in a complete way with SAWAH.

Often the ADCO dancers oppose some costume choices over the years that are new and have not been done before. I usually try not to listen and it always works out. One of the choreographies in Sawah had an initial costume idea which there was a lot of opposition to so I tried to dilute the idea which ended up in a shipment of costumes that are now for sale and never used. The last minute make-shift costume that resulted worked well but I am kicking myself for not sticking to my guns because a few days ago I saw another dance company use the same original idea and it was very effective. 

As usual, there was no time to create choreography for my solo, so I had a foundation of ideas to get me started and then improvised each performance. On Friday night, my parents were in the audience. The music I had chosen was Wahashtiini which I used to dance to with Nour Mehanna in Damascus. My family and friends thought I was crazy to be spending so much time in Syria in those days and were hoping my "Bellydance phase" would soon be over. That night in SAWAH, I tried to explain to them through my movement why I was in Syria all those years, to let them have a glimpse of the joy I felt every night on stage dancing to musical pieces like Wahashtiini with such exquisite musicians. I am so glad I was finally able to consciously communicate that sentiment to them.

Everyone around me in the 80s and 90s including fellow Bellydancers thought I was crazy to go and stay in Syria so often and for such long periods of time. But now I know that if I hadn't, SAWAH would have never happened.

Here is to being true to oneself where ever possible. I have learned to listen to that voice and instinct and trust it more, no matter how many people think I am crazy. Often what is labelled crazy at the time is later named brilliance.

Shine on...

pic below is me as an awkward 12 year old - ya, I play classical guitar and used to write my own songs.

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