I hopped a train on Saturday for a whirlwind trip to London. This time I was going for the monthly Saqarah hafla, hosted by my friends Eleanor and Nafiseh. They were celebrating their second anniversary of hosting haflas (belly dance showcases/parties), which meant there was cake for all! I was most excited to see a dance called “Baba Karam,” a cheeky Iranian dance form that I’d read about but never seen performed (follow the link above to see my video–while I’m at it, here are the photos I took.) I also won the impromptu dance competition! Lucky me, I got a framed photo from the official Saqarah photographer. I couldn’t have been more surprised if I’d accidentally stepped in the cake! (Fortunately not something that happened…this time.)
Eleanor let me stay the night with her and two dancers she was hosting. We got home well after midnight, and despite our hafla-induced exhaustion, wound up staying up until the wee hours discussing dance and giggling. It felt a little like being a kid at a sleepover again. Except I was staying in my friend’s gorgeous apartment in the center of London! Lucky me, I get to do it all again next month when my friend Lorna visits from Cairo to perform and give some workshops. When I stop to think about all the wonderful things I do that I would never have done if it weren’t for my PhD all I can do is grin.
In other news, I’ve also been invited to give a talk as part of a panel at the International Belly Dance Conference in Toronto in April 2010. As I’ve mentioned previously, there aren’t that many people who study belly dance from an academic perspective–pretty much the entire field will be on this panel, actually. (You could fit us in the thimble you use to repair costumes with.) I’m going to be the only one who doesn’t yet have a PhD. I’m incredibly pleased to have gotten the invitation from such a prestigious person in my field, but I can’t help some anxiety about how it’s going to go–whenever something like this happens, I always feel like I don’t really belong in the same boat but rather in the dinghy hanging over the side…foolish I know, because they wouldn’t ask me unless they believed I could do a good job (or because they realized there were only three people on the panel and had to look around in panic for someone to fill in the fourth slot because there just isn’t anyone else to do it…GAAH! Shut up, brain!)