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Chilliwack is da bomb!

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This past weekend was wonderful fun. Gen and I head up to Chilliwack, BC to teach a weekend chock full of dancing goodness.

We got stopped for a full search at the border which was scary. I mean, had I brought a ton of stuff to sell at the workshops as I usually do, we would have been in a very awkward position, surely. But we didn’t, so the car search didn’t implicate us in any way. And the immigration guy was so very nice, and we chatted him up a little bit about bellydance and the workshops we were going to… Puts the fear o’ god in ya, lemmie tell ya.

Every single time I visit Canada I am struck by how very very nice they all are (except for the border guards, who seem very rude by contrast, but it’s kinda part of their job to be intimidating). I feel like I am coming home to old friends, even in a room of strangers. They are so open, and so giving. We were showered with a small flood of gifts right from our arrival in the form of a gift basket, complete with home-crafted bath salts, scented spray, and lotions; a package of digestives; home-canned peaches; and two mugs and a selection of teas and hot chocolate!

We tried to spend some time assembling our performance set for the following night, but kept getting stuck, so we struck out for dinner. Latitude 47 was down the street, and we got a hearty meal and a bottle of yummy wine. The “I love you man’s” started pretty early this trip, and we talked about dance and our troupe and wodnerfulness around all that. We chilled back at the room, and chatted late in the dark. The morning came too fast and we were tired, but off we went!

The workshops went well. The group was pretty beginner level across the board, so we didn’t get as many concepts covered as I usually get to. I hadn’t realized how few of them had any tribal experience, so the movements and stylings felt very foreign to them and were a struggle on some of the rudimentary concepts. When I discovered that many of them were under the impression that a shimmy was pumping your knees, and they didn’t know there even was any other kind of shimmy, I had my work cut out for me. But that was good news–I was thrilled to be able to bring some general technique and theory to them, and they were so eager and so wonderful throughout, working hard and laughing along with us. I know I had fun, and they seemed to as well.

Back at the room, we set back to assembling a couple sets for the hafla that evening. We finally settled on a two-song first set featuring the skirtwork they had learned, and a three-song second set showcasing the bhangra they would be learning the next day. The first set was a surprise–we decided last minute to add an additional set, so we weren’t on the schedule. We just came slinking up the aisle when they thought the intermission was about to begin, and they erupted into applause. That was fun. 🙂

I always love dancing with Gen (Hell, which of my sisters don’t I love dancing with?!). We definitely have a great rapport onstage, and our comparable height and shape makes us appear even more in-synch. And Gen is great at eye contact and vamping it up with me! LOL SASSSSSSSSY GENEVIEVE!! And it is a rare treat to get to do duets in our group, since we work in trios mostly, and duets tend to be very limited in use. So getting to really connect just the two of us was a treat.

Afterward, we felt like superstars. Folks heaping on praise, taking photos with us, and each of us given a bottle of wine by the beautiful and fun Amy who we became friends with at Kamloops. We felt really good about the performance. Everyone then changed and head out to dinner at a restaurant just a block away, where we stuffed ourselves, drank wine, and then sleepily head back to the room…where we ate cheetos and drank more wine, and again talked way too late.

Morning came too fast, and we had to pack up and load the car to be able to head home right after the workshops were over. We started with some drills, introducing some basics isolation concepts and introducing different shimmies, which had their eyes wide and smiles beaming at something so new and different. I love that! Their enthusiasm feeds me, and I had much fun jamming alongside Gen as my stellar assistant. We finished with Bhangra, which tapered off a bit near the end, as the students lost steam in their 8th hour of workshops in one weekend. It was hard to keep them moving near the end, which was too bad since bhangra is usually such a complete adrenaline kick! But some of them just plain gave up, and I couldn’t get them to push through it. 🙁

We ended with a nice long yoga cool-down, and brought the workshops to a close. I packed up what was left of my vending, which wasn’t much, changed into fresh clothes, made our goodbyes with kisses and hugs, and hit the road. The drive is just so easy, especially compared to the Kamloops drive which felt like ages comparatively (well it was over twice as long!). I was welcomed to Seattle by a hailstorm and grey grey pounding rain, and no hubby…puppies, but no hubby. Because he was off in Burbank, CA drinking the Disney Kool-Aid!

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Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

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