Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I'm just finishing up on my packing for Spain...hard to believe that this time is here already! I'm looking forward to getting to Spain and chilling, Martin says that the weather is hot and sunny with temperatures hovering around 40 C. Yay!! I'm looking forward to some proper Spanish heat. My flight is at 5:50pm, so I'm gonna head out of here around 2 pm...I gotta get to Stanstead airport which is a fair distance away so I'll need to allow for more time.
I've caught up on some sleep, which feels great and I went for a run in Greenwich park this morning. The weather is variable but warm. There was a massive thunder and lightning storm on Monday night which caused flash floods all over London, the sky was really dark grey with swirling clouds. It was quite ominous at best! I made a tasty ginger carrot butternut squash and sweet potato soup as it seemed fitting with the weather. Yum!!
I rested most of yesterday and did some much needed cleaning in Mandy's (Sarah's mom) room where I have been sleeping. The room is much better now and got a good vacuum so the dustmites have fled thankfully.
I did go to my first bellydance class with Anne White last night in Islington. Anne had asked me to perform for her beginner class, and I stayed on for her intermediate class. Anne was a pivotal dancer in London in the 80s and 90s, but doesn't really dance that much anymore aside from her monthly Planet Egypt events that are held at Darbouka club. Anne knows everyone in the UK and knows many dancers abroad (Raqia Hassan, Leila, Dina, Amani) so she is a good person for me to stay in touch with. She is going to put me in touch with some higher level working dancers here in London, as well as with her first teacher Suraya Hilal (!!!!) when she returns from abroad in August. I also met a young Turkish drummer Tash who was drumming for the class and expressed much interest in working with me when I get back from Spain. Tash is very talented and is also on the cusp of being signed to a record label! All in all it was a very good experience, and I feel that I have much to learn from Anne. Anne is a very large vivacious blonde with a huge personality and a bigger laugh. She is very relaxed in her style and also very Egyptian. I had a blast in her intermediate class and I have so much to learn from her. She talked to me afterwards about me contributing some of my personal style to the class so that the students learn something different. I was hugely flattered. Anne and Tash gave me some info on where to go for dancing work, and Tash is gonna help me crack into the Turkish scene, primarily weddings. I'm excited to come back from Spain and get my dance career started here! I am also very excited to study dance here and get inspired again. I have been stumbling along in Vancouver being completely flat and too busy in my dance life aside from flamenco, and London has so much to offer me creatively. This to me is one of the biggest reasons that I am here.
Anne's classes are very interesting. She told me that she teaches 6 - 7 classes a week and that she has many men students as well. A Chinese man in a business suit showed up with a scarf around his neck, and proceeded to remove the scarf from his neck and tie it around his hips! He is a professor of Chinese medicine and attends Anne's 2 Tuesday night classes with his wife! Most of the other women came to class in skirts and fancy work tops, Anne taught in skintight jeans! I was equipped in my usual Lululemon combo, so I felt really out of place! The beginner class started late as we were all having coffee together before all sauntering upstairs to have our "medicine" (as Anne calls it). The beginner class was super duper easy but it was good for me to have a look at Anne's teaching and style methods. In the end the beginner class ran for 45 minutes, and then I performed at the end. The intermediate class was bigger and we covered more ground. Anne absolutely sparkles with the dance energy and it was wonderful stepping back to watch her sail around the floor with her dynamic dance personality. I left feeling happy and excited.
Well I must be off, got so much to do before I head out...keep in touch. I won't have daily internet access but will try to get on every few days or so. I will also get a Spanish SIM card for my phone so I'll post it when I get it so that you can call me!
Lots of love,
ashley xoxoxo

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