Life does not wait for us to write down and/or capture every moment we have in our lives, but there are moments that we will not forget. These moments will bring up a variety of emotions from happy to sad, from frustration to anger, or a mix of all emotions together. In our dance community, over the years we have been blessed with amazing people either dancing together and/or supporting the dancers who decide to perform and participate in various events. Some of them are still around while others have left on other adventures or have passed away, but each of them have impacted at least one or more of us at any given time.
For some of those no longer with us:
I remember Gee Gee Robinson, a teacher I never took classes from, but only met a few times and how she inspired many a student who remember her fondly. I remember Rosemary Corfield our community drummer who I had the honour to work with it and dance for at her end of life celebration so so many years ago. I remember my mom, who started belly dancing with me and one of my last memories of her was dancing one last time at the Sultan’s Tent on a Toronto weekend adventure we had in 2010.
For those with us but cheering from the sidelines and/or continuing their support:
There are husbands and friends who may never have performed but they have supported us in their own way, either by being our bodyguard at gigs, our drivers to events and/or our cheering crowd. Then there are dancers, like Tracey Vibert, who has been dancing for over 20 years and has been a major pillar of our community for all those years. She has organized student shows and dancers bazaars to give us all a chance to build connections outside of our regular classes. She created a performing group called Belly dancing for Fun who performed at various events across Ottawa and beyond, as well as co-created Bollywood for Fun who has enjoyed many years of performing at festivals and private events. And although she’s retired from teaching and organizing she does still come out to support our events that are organized by other dancers. Of course, she’s still a great resource for costume alterations and/or creations; just saying.
For those we may not know and for causes we dance for:
We are blessed that our dance community expands beyond our class room. There are people we may have only passed by at a dance events but have touched someone we know in the community. I’m sure if we applied the “six degrees of separation” theory we’d find out how much we really are all connected in this “small world” of dance. For instance, I may not have known her directly, but I know dancers that remember Sabrina Radema, a local dancer who occasionally performed at 73 North on Sparks Street, and who recently lost her battle with cervical cancer after five years. My dance friend Leslie posted in our Facebook community page informing us of the loss of this beautiful person and one of the ways we could help this young family through a fundraiser (for those interested in seeing the post and/or knew Sabrina here is the Facebook link.) Although Sabrina’s fundraising doesn’t involve a dance show, many of our community events involve fundraising for a variety of causes. For instance I attended and performed at an event this past May in Brockville; it was a dance event that raised money for the local Interval House which helps support people escaping domestic violence. This month, November 25, I’ll be performing in Kingston for a similar event called Dancing for Dawn House. These events make me aware of places and happenings outside of my own day to day life and when I can I try to support them. Locally, we have our renewed Ottawa Class Party that has now become a fundraising event for local charities. Niki of Corazon Tribal Fusion Belly Dance organizes this event and all proceeds made this year, after covering the rental costs, are getting donated to Teen Moms – Youville Centre ( http://www.youvillecentre.org/) and Adopt Me! Cat Rescue (http://www.adoptmecatrescue.ca/).
For those looking for a point to this blog:
Whoever we are or whatever we do, we affect others and they affect us. We remember those that have supported or influenced our opinions or who have just provided an emotional stimulus that added to the way we shape ourselves. For myself, dance has been the conduit that has influenced who I’ve chosen to become. Like, dance one song may end but another always comes and well sometimes you don’t even need exterior music to dance to, but the music in your own head can lead to spontaneous dancing.