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too much `feeling`

you know its great that I can project emotion so much when dance and that my `feeling` is so strong but it also has its curses. Such as when Im going through a very stressful time or really bad depression kicks in then my dancing totally plummets and I can`t do crap....bah

my first restaurant gig

So excited and a lot of fun (but some annoyances as well but its all a good lesson to learn).
First of all the dressing room is the storage space, which is what I was expected...but I wasnt expecting it to be on the roof of the building (which lead to leaving on my not nice to dance in heels on when dancing-ouch! -note bring dance-friendly shoes next time). Sadia (her show with Rogear got canceled so she tagged along), Makiko, Ryoko, Mitsumi and Nahid came to show their support. There were also some business men, two iranian gentleman and a very old ojiisan. The show was pretty much great, I opened with an arabic pop number with zills, a slow oldie Iranian song for the veil piece, a drum solo, Turkish pop song then ended with an Iranian Bandari number. Ali got over zealous and tipped me during my drum solo instead of waiting for the 4th song like I asked which led to the tipping stampede. One of the business man reached to tip me right in my cleavage, I was kinda caught off guard by it and wasnt able to turn my back in time (which I planned to be my go to if they look like their gonna reach for anyplace I find inappropriate). I was a bit shaken but didnt stop at the same time I wanted to show this was not ok. So I very pointed in an over exaggerated gesture pulled the bill from my cleavage, frowning and tucked in a more acceptable spot. Incase that wasnt enough when the next tipper, a younger man came at me straight on kinda scooted away playfully and turned my back to him when he got close. When he looked confused I stuck out my shoulder and pointed to the strap and he got the picture that it was ok to put the money there and then smiled when he did. Meanwhile as soon as the tipping started Makiko was giving me a death scowl (later she claimed it was only at the cleavage guy but I saw her frowning at me way before then when the tipping started). That was the only really unsavory part of the show (that and kinda interrupting my drum solo) but the rest was a hit and a lot of fun (I just needed to hold something for the hair tossing of the bandari since I couldnt get as settled as I am flat footed). Afterward Ali wanted to do his group photos and I got up to change after and left soon after getting my pay and some water. Besides that tipper I had a great time and seeing the persians singing along and enjoying my dance made the whole night and I was reminded why I wanted to get into restaurant gigging in the first place, it feels very different to dance for people of the homeland than for other dancers. Even if they are not familiar with ME culture, it feels so good to make people smile and have a good time. The super old man just kept shaking his hand to the music and kept shouting `kawaii kawaii` and just being a sweet old man. Nahid says the business man were from big name tv companies and that makes sense to me why they were acting like that (and also being crude with the girls sitting at the tables) because guys who work for big name companies think they are gods and can act however they want. Ali videotaped the whole thing and seemed generally impressed and asked if he could ask me to dance again. But going home it seems that there can never be a dance night without drama when it comes to bellyqueen.

First Makiko announced `I am NEVER going to that restaurant again, those men were horrible` I understand those guys were jerks but I dont think its fair to blame the restaurant (ryoko later said they saw a dancer there not being so `nice`) because those kind of customers can show up to any restaurant at any time and learning how to deal with them and avoid bad situations is part of the job. She then showed me an email from before sadia canceled her rogear shows...Turkish Orient (house?) really enjoyed Makikos dancing at her debut party and if she wanted to do a show there. Makiko was happy to hear so and said yes, then Sadia revealed it was a show with Rogear and she understandably felt tricked and angry and told sadia no way and why didnt she mention Rogear before. Sadia then told her it was no problem and not to get upset. Then she asked aloud what Sadia was doing at my show and it mustve been Mutsumi who told her (Mutsumi has taken my place as Sadia`s right hand man) and I strongly said no because I love Mutsumi and dont want any gossip about her especially since its not true. Then I get this email from lesley that made me livid: Hey Hannah, how are you? How was your show tonight?
I would have liked to have seen your performance but of course you didn't invite me.
Im guessing that I'm not a person whom you would consider these days.

Are you fucking kidding me!! I told her I didnt invite anybody and just wrote about it on my fb timeline and people came (I made like 6 posts about it, she even `liked` one) and told her I do not invite people personally to restaurant gigs because Im hired to dance, not bring customers and think before she goes out and accuses me...she said sorry and she was just trying to be a friend but Im still miffed. A friend doesnt accuse someone like that so quickly and honestly, any time she has come to `support` me aside my debut party (which she kept a lower profile) it has been about networking for herself and bringing the attention to herself so I dont get where that came from. I told her i would invite her if I was dancing at a private event. Then it turns out bellyqueen Chisato who had made the reservation for everyone but was a no show actually came to the restaurant but had gotten in a disagreement with Sadia and left suddenly. She is teaching (far from ready at only dancing for a year) and the stress of it is getting to her and she feels `jealous` of the higher skilled dancers. She had canceled a private lesson with sadia only 2 hours before the time saying she was catching a cold and sadia was miffed saying she still had to pay the fee. At the restaurant she said she wasnt angry but that is how it goes if you cancel an appointment last minute, Chisato took it as Sadia doesnt care I was sick and just wants money and ran off crying (not before telling her side to Makiko and Ryoko)...
Late at night she emailed me to apologize for not coming and that because of Sadia she will no longer take lessons at bellyqueen (I hope she takes lessons elsewhere because it makes no sense to be jealous of more skilled dancers and to not take lessons yourself. She is a very sweet but sensitive girls and I suspect she has some issues so the email really made me sad for her and I hope she can get to a better place. I am as confused as fuck over the whole thing and am honestly relieved when I`m going on my own way after December. The drama is unreal

Aurora Show

Guest dancers were all fab! And it was heartbreaking when mina played a video of her sister dancing before she passed away and all the dancers danced to the choreography along with the video.
there was somethings that I was cringe about (naming an Arabic drum solo, and a techno song with cat women catsuits dancing like bond girls with 'guns' as Turkish style belly dance among other things,) but Im keeping that to myself and here. When I go to a show, Im there to be a supportive audience, not pick apart things even if its stuff I feel strongly about. I can say that in the end all the dancers worked very hard and did their best!

Btw...Joe and Farasha and Zizi OMG!!!! SO MUCH GREATNESS!!! Runa was a lil dynamo too!

standing up for myself more

I think the more I realize who is healthy in my life or not i have less tolerance. Yesterday's lesson was meh.
little stuff first then I'll get to the bigger issue.

Little stuff:
After hearing about how much more I'm loving turkish Sadia totally switched gears on me wanting to make a dance for mastika. I was not enthused because of three reasons

1)Sadia is NOT a turkish style dancer, even with her amcabs roots, when i looked at her dance
it's very hoppy and she's dancing to the karislama 9 but something doesn't look right, maybe because her knowledge on the style is stuck from the 70's west cost (Turkish was more in the east coast) or maybe her style doesn't fit me. I love Artemis, Ozma's, Tulay's, Sema's, Birgul's, Ozlem, Ruby, Gigi's styles. Also I think she's coming from 0 knowledge in roma dance and the roma 9 rhythm which I guess has an effect? Also I can bet she never really studied it thoroughly, maybe she can move through the motions but she definitely doesn't know how to teach it.
2) Her approach, after only teaching 3's and belady rhythm, throwing me into mastika without any pattern background is intimidating as hell, saying "oh just follow it, i never learn or do any patterns" doesn't help me. Artie and Ozma break the patterns down and start slow, not super fast like mastika.
3) I don't want to fuck up everything i learned over the summer by getting confused with what she says. I also don't want to make a choreography, i want to makes some combos that can work in a particular song but I don't want to map it out.

Honestly, I love turkish and want to learn more. But I don't want to learn it from her. I wonder if this a ploy to get me to stay longer. I also think it's her pride and ego if i told her i don't think her styling suits me she would explode lol. Finally I said I wanted to learn toba which is the 2nd choreo from her last level. I want to learn all three and gtfo. I want to take private lessons with Ozma and attend workshops with other teachers such Dalia Carella, Serap su, etc. I also have artie's notes from the intensive to give me some practice. And I have her zill cd and ozma's zill notes which i have been trying to do several times a week at home as well as dvds for turkish and floorwork.
Big stuff:
That all is little stuff though compared to the next thing. I owe her money for a costume which i have been trying desperately to save money which is really hard for me. She suddenly says today she has an offer for me. I am immediately suspicious because I know her boyfriend is coming and she's been trying to book shows so he can make money. I do not like the guy, he is annoying, narcissistic and an overall douchebag (worse night ever, getting stuck at sadias over night with him and his buddy at her apartment and him reaming into the guy the next morning because he didn't have his way with me so he must be gay), even more I hate them together when she is trying to hustle for him. She then asks me "How would you like to work with Rogear? I'm thinking of reserving bolbol and you can dance while he sings" super smiley which quickly faded when i gave her my answer which was "I would not be able to bring people, I don't want to, I think its better if only you dance with him" of course what I really wanted to say was "FUCK NO!". She became very irritable and snappy "Well I think you could bring people if you tried, anyway I was going to offer you something but I won't now" Like she was going to do some huge favor and I squandered some amazing opportunity. um no, I want nothing to do with the guy and it's not my responsibility to make money for her boyfriend. I wouldnt be able to bring people, I could for my debut party but that was a special event for me, I don't think people care about Rogear and would pay the price. It was a disaster two years ago with bolbol and I'd be surprise if he'd agree again. I don't want to deal with her rage if i couldn't bring people and i don't have the money to pay for the "opportunity". I'm sure her offer was to give me the costume without paying the rest, but I'd rather pay the money. She was continually snappy and saying "I was going to offer you something but I won't now" and I told her to cut it out and said that I am allowed to say no and I have my own reasons so don't take that tone with me, I don't need any more drama. She is not my pimp.

felt better after my therapist session

but we both agree i should be on some sort of medication which is proving to be a huge hassle, it was much easier when I was seeing a therapist in Japan. I cant afford it but my mom said she was willing to pay for me but apparently i need a physical letter from my therapist...also trying to find a day since really the most convinient time to go would be from tomorrow since its finals week but the letter wont get here in time. i cant afford a day with out pay.
oh and i really cant deal with Sadia anymore. I need to get the fuck out, and maybe its good timing because she doesn't "need" me anymore, mutsumi has taken my place as the sidekick and how sadia acts towards me just proves that she only looks out for and takes care of people who do the most work for her. Im pretty sure this is why kaori (who sadia said was special to her) stopped coming to lessons all of a sudden and wont answer her...i took her place and now mutsumi is taking mine and in a couple of years someone else will come. in her dilusions she is bring her boyfriend back which was a total disaster last time saying he wants to make money to take her to lebanon for good or take care of her, but if not lebabon she is thinking of uruguay. Yes, the 30 year sleazy guy who's asking you for money and fucking other women is going to pay to take of you and marry you whut...this woman is crazy and i need to get away. i liked having a break with her but i missed dancing, dancing gets me out of my head in times like these and unfortunately i dont have anywhere else to dance...

and then sometimes i feel...

that im wasting everyone's time and energy and i don't have anything to offer and can't get anything right...not good enough and why the hell am I even still breathing and taking away precious air...and those type of thoughts tell me i need to see a pyschiatrist asap because i can't get myself out of this with thoughts like that...i screamed into my pillow the day before yesterday over and over, i wanted to punch something but i just screamed...

im not dead!

Still here just came back from an amazing trip to the USA. Just struggling with myself about should I stay here in Japants or to make a change. Money continues to be a problem I don`t understand why I`m struggling even though I have a full time job >< So I guess it depends if things don`t improve soon...I`d like to start teaching dance as some nice extra income and doing more what I love...restaurant gigs would be nice but everywhere I go I get the `you don`t have a big enough name` speech which I think means `why don`t want to pay 10000 man for a dancer`, sucks but I won`t resort to undercutting. Also I`m making my move to wean away from Sadia because that seriously doesn`t help my money or mental situation.

Now I what I want to say is that I had an amazing trip back home. I have two awesome dance experiences, persian and turkish....but I really spoiled myself by going to Artie`s first because while the persian event was informative, it doesn`t compare to Artemis` intensive. The whole environment feels totally different, Artie is different. The dancers there were different (I got a slightly cliquey feel from the dancers around my age at Robyn`s). There`s too much to tell, but I will say one story about what kind of person Artemis is. One day she pulled me aside privately and said, `Today during the lecture, at one point you held a hand and asked very timidly `can I ask a question?` I don`t want to hear that from you again. That is part of your old life and you cannot let it sink back into your new one. Everyone woman here has asked questions, it`s your right, if you continue to act timid and weak people will think they can and will try to take advantage of you. I don`t want that to happen. You have every right to ask a question so don`t act like a scared mouse.` I know it`s a small thing but I got teary after not because I was hurt but I was touched. There`s not many people who look out for you like that, the only other person I have met who is like that is Ozma. Later I thanked her for doing so and said I was touched that she looked out for me to that extent to call me out on such things because not many people would ,she smiled and said `that`s the difference between a teacher and a mentor`. I love Artie >

debut party!!

So omg it was an awesome night and I was surrounded by so much love...save from my teacher but she couldn`t ruin my night because I had my trio of wonder women by my side and it was my night!

first let`s get the bs off my chest..
I got 15,000 yen from the night...when after the charge cost 46,000 was made...I didn`t see that money and neither did the restaurant owner, so guess who pocketed it? Sadia. First thing she said to me of the night was that I needed lipstick, was cold to my mother and Elena, I don`t know if she was nice to ozma or not (she better have). She announced that she was dancing because I had requested it...y`all know I didn`t do that lol and later found out the owner like I thought had asked if she was going to dance or not, her never asked her, I didn`t care about that but the lying is what really bothered me.

OK, but other than that all I felt was love love love and was so happy my mother could finally meet Ozma and also met Lena who is awesome in her own right and the three of them like I said formed a shield for me and gave me nothing but love and support the whole night, reminded me this was teacher/sempai/other dance friends should be doing for each other. I was a bit nervous and just wanted to dance, when I finally got on stage I felt I was flying! A couple of things went a bit off (my head band slipping, took it off, my veil not behaving=played the `oh I totally meant to do that`game). I was so happy to be able to dance to a full routine by John B, to dance to the american cabaret, turkish, armenian, persian music I love so much. I did a little persian-esc number after my full routine and then a bandari dance. Oddly enough my neck is not sore today after all the hair tossing. Also I tripped on my skirt during the bandari but caught myself, phew. Mina Saleh was here and even though I have a few side eyes for what she advertises the fact is she is very famous here so I was a bit touched she came to see my show when I don`t have a name out there yet. I will of course go see her shows and stop by her studio sometime since its so close. Nahid is playing next week so I will go see her, and called bolbol...I talked with him a bit and he told me what happened with the money but we decided that we want to work together more (without sadia, include more of my dance friends who are my sempai). I agreed, this is good I think and also I`m confident I can say my case that I`m not a 4,000 yen danceer ;). I got great feed back from ozma (note, wig clips and find my old turkish pro cymbals). All in all a wonderful night I will never forget that I`ve been waiting for for six years now! Thank you all so much for coming!

pray for me

after a very annoying email from sadia, I`m thinking its time yet again to stand up for myself and say like how she didn`t dance at the other dancers debut party, I don`t want her to dance at mine.
If you don`t hear from me for a few days, call the popo XD
I don`t think it`s so appropriate or...thoughtful for a teacher to dance at a student`s debut party...there I said it, it`s her day dammit. So says Sadia and she didn`t dance at Makiko`s...but she`s dancing at mine...why? Because Bolbol `asked` her. I wrote `asked her` like that because in her words he requested her by saying`oh you are going to dance aren`t you?` so in her mind he`s begging her to dance. A) His restaurant is just the venue, aren`t we the one doing the party, don`t I get a say in this? and B) Bolbol is a nice guy but his English isn`t great. Call me bitchy but I`ve known Sadia a long time and have seen her work out similar scenarios to save her pride because she really is starving to dance (ie. Konya had called requesting her to dance but really it was Sadia who called them), also he requested Baba Karam. I thought he meant to put a baba karam song in my routine (give me a fedora and let me dance on my own) but Sadia has a whole group doing the same choreo she used from Mohammed Khordadian (this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oz7eSj7Z9H4), with Eugene playing Khordadian`s role. Not only has this routine been done to death by people who want to do Baba Karam but don`t know it well enough to do it improv or make their own choreography, it`s been done by us at bolbol before and I strongly voiced my opinion that Sadia misinterpreted some of the movement (wtf, why are you hopping, it`s strutting!). I personally think it`s strange for me to be a background dancer in a group choreo for this particular party so I said, fine you guys do it, I`ll rest and do a bandari/disco time (audience can dance) on my own after. I invited practically all the Iranians in the area, I don`t want to be taken for a dumb dancer who can`t do the Iranian dances properly, I want to show that I know what`s what. My main beef with Sadia opening for me is well, the aim of this party to showcase me as a pro dancer and show off what I know and I feel it`s kinda not fair for the master teacher with 30+ years of experience to also dance. But it`s too late to say anything and because she talked about this to bolbol first there`s nothing I can say. I did pick Mutsumi to open for me as she`s coming along as a dancer in her own right, also loves amcab and like me is totally about learning and researching everything she can about the dance, she`s a doll! And I also picked two baby dancers Miho and Yuka who hardly get to perform as well. I don`t mean to come across as a diva, really but I feel that this show is like I said, made to showcase me. I`m all for being a team player usually just this time I want to be a bit selfish.

Also this charity bazaar is gonna be a shitfest, Sadia, again is starry eyed that we are going to perform for a Princess VIP style but all the dances are a mess. Songs we knew got canceled because she made them too belly dance-y and none of the choreo is written out. I still don`t know wtf Im doing in the khaleeji and the sidi mansour choreo? I did only the first half once...ages ago and the show is on the 18th. The rehearsal schedule sucks and was put together very last minute (so no, I didn`t cancel my lovely workshop with Ozma *heart heart* or my bus ticket to Sendai because I had planned that way before). I think we should`ve kept it to 3 dances so everyone could remember and catch up on such short notice, and it would`ve given a nice but condensed showcase of folk dances (khaleeji for the gulf, debke for the Levant, plus one more to represent North Africa-Nubian,Saidi, Im not including Maghreb, Tunisian, Ghawazee because Sadia doesn`t know those well enough).

Also there`s Cabaret Tehran, she`s not happy I`m gonna be in the states and has to postpone it for a long time. But family is first and this time I have the opportunity to take a classical Persian dance intensive as well as Artie`s Totally Turkish and I`m not passing that up for anything. These events will make me grow as a dancer, one show that will cause me more stress than good won`t. I also told her if she wants help with the Iranian dance choreographies but then I really don`t plan on being in the show because it`s too much. She`s already asked the musicians and Nahid (must email Nahid to warn her to ask for money upfront, I don`t want my friendship with her to suffer and I worked the guts to tell Sadia that she must pay her every cent she owes her). I don`t think august 9th would`ve worked considering she hasn`t picked any music or came up with a godawful story yet. I don`t want her to promote it at my party either. The genie show was a mess, I don`t want the Iranians to associate me with that type of show.

But ws with Ozma was fun, and awesome as usual. I can`t say enough how wonderful it is to be in a healthy, postive, encouraging learning environment. It was also nice to see Hiromi again. And I really can`t wait for the persian dance intensive with Robyn C. Friend (this woman is amazing! http://www.robynfriend.com/) and of course the Totally Turkish intensive with Artie. Suzan`s also having a good bye party at the end of this month and the Lebanese restaurant Al Ain in Yokohama. Suzan thinks I ought to be dancing there anyway and we worked out that she will dance at her good bye party but I will also perform a couple of solos to show the restaurant owners my stuff and see if they like me or not. Suzan is very close to the owners and mentioned me to them a couple of times. I know I`m not as fit as I was a year and a half ago but I`m back on a healthy eating and circuit training regimen and while the results aren`t fast I know I`d be able to stick with it, unlike a fad diet that will have me rebounding in no time.



Hannah (ハナ)

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