Nothing like the first time...

All live performances are a special moment in time. There is nothing, however, as unique as the first performance.
Ahhh, the first performance! That is special. To see the student trust them-self. To witness her or him bravely take that first step onto territory that is very much beyond their comfort zone. To go where they swore they would never go! Well there they are beaming, looking beautiful from the inside out sharing their new found love with us all. At that moment they are feeling a million different things; excitement, nerves, doubt, pride, joy, fear, stomach ache --oh all this AND they have to remember their choreography! Of course let's not forget what nerves do to the bladder -- yes you know I'm talking about that last minute trip to the powder room but you already have your costume on! Ugh!

Yes first time performances. Such a beautiful thing, uh…except mine.

Karshlima Trio, Bal Anat

Have I not told you about my first time on the stage? Well let's just say it's a good thing I can laugh at myself.
Many years ago I was invited to join the Bal Anat troupe under Suhaila Salimpour's direction. The original Bal Anat troupe was Jamila Salimpour's creation (Suhaila's mother). In 2001 Suhaila revived the Bal Anat concept with great success. I was invited to be one of the three Turkish dancers. We did the first upbeat number of the show. A nice sweet little happy hoppy number.

We wore a very traditional conservative costume that included a headpiece with a scarf (see picuture). The dance had a lot of leaning forward (bowing) and returning upright. Do you know what happens to fabric on a headpiece that isn't pinned down and you do a lot of leaning forward? Correct. It flips over your face to completely blind you. So now there are two cute Turkish dancers and one blind one trying to feel her way back to her dance buddies. Can you even imagine that?! So there I was simply trying to not fall off the stage, can't find the edge of the fabric to pull back away from my face. When I CAN finally see my jewelry starts flying of my wrists, luckily it didn't hit anyone. All this on top of a 9/8 rhythm. O-M-G is right! We get through our piece and then I have to pretend that everything is fine and stay onstage for the rest of the 40 minute show (everyone was on stage for the duration-thus the celebration atmosphere)!
I of course wanted the ground to swallow me but my troupe mates were very supportive and understanding.I'll always be grateful so grateful for them. What choice did I have but to accept the whole thing as a lesson. Believe me --I have not danced blind ever again! Oh yes, good times.

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