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"Whatever there is, is only He,
your foot steps there in dancing:
The whirling, see, belongs to you,
and you belong to the whirling."
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And, for the people who asked about my new sword, I found its duplicate online here.

ETA: I am not ever going to dance with this sword in a party-entertainment or dinner theater kind of way.  Swords are dangerous. I get that, and would only ever perform with it when there was a safe designated space (like a stage).  I may be a danger to myself - did you notice that it weighs six pounds and is still sharp - but I promise I will not be a danger to others.
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Another nice, leisurely day in Homer.  We spent much of the day tripping to Seldovia, to watch the Independence Day festivities and (for my parents) explore the area.  While they drove out towards Jakalof, I read a trashy romance novel (in its entirety) on the porch of the Jolting Java and people watched.  The crowd was marvelously diverse, and about half the (very plentiful) dogs were golden retrievers.

We took the scenic route back, tracing the shoreline across the bay before heading in.  I love seeing sea otters drifting and watching the mountains.  Like small planes, boats tend to put me to sleep, so I curled up behind my dad and dozed as we returned to the harbor.  It was a really nice day on the water, and a good day with my parents.

A friend of my mom's has a daughter a couple years older than me, and her mother (my mom's friend) knocks herself out scheduling entertainment when the girl (also a student, still) is home.  Some of the activities sound like fun, but it has a frantic edge to it.  Her return is heralded as remarkable, and she is "company." I much prefer being "family," even if I don't get to go horseback riding.  I am very grateful for the easy relationship I have developed with my parents over the last few years. There are still topics we don't visit, but we can happily spend time together and enjoy the comfortable quirkiness of our inside jokes and long history.

We came back to the house, and Mom and I collapsed onto the sofa for half an hour while Dad ran out to the Kachemak Gear Shed to buy fishing gear for tomorrow's halibut trip (I am not going...).  Mom was astounded that he thought the store would be open for the fourth of July, but it was - in a "Quaint Drinking Village with a Fishing Problem," no marine store dares close during fishing season. 

I spent the rest of the evening at M's house, eating barbeque with belly dancers. We got into a productive conversation about what it takes to teach belly dance, and the responsibility of instructors to help new dancers have great performing experiences (i.e. prevent those "ohmigod, throwablanketoverher" experiences).  We all agreed that as a community we are responsible to and for one another, and then derailed into a conversation about physical therapy.  The only non-dancer in the room was a physical therapist and apparently sleeping with my arms over my head (the latest trend) is Very Bad.  Doing anything that inflames the shoulder joint is Very Bad, because, according to my new expert, I am making a chronic condition acute.  To make the bad shoulder better, I need to have all the inflammation go down, so I can then stretch and strengthen effectively.  So, I can either stop doing anything that causes inflammation (including dancing, sleeping, and sitting at a computer) , or I can do the anti-inflammatory/ice thing.  Neither appeals at the moment, although I am going to try and change the things I do which hurt it, and then in the fall I think I will hit Fantastic Jen (my trusted dance teacher/PT) up for a more aggressive program.

Now I am back at the house, waiting for the television to go off so I can unfold the sofa bed and crash.  My dad is going fishing in the morning with a friend and his family, but I have opted to stay in town with my mom.  We have big plans to do small things, and it should be lovely.
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I found a dance class that didn't hurt anyone or make me want to hurt anyone. The instructor ran through dancer's posture at the beginning of the class, and made specific critiques of certain motions.  The class was instructive, collaborative, and generally fabulous. It was also very, very challenging, since it is the intermediate class with the cued choreography bits I dont understand as yet.

Leaving class I still felt buoyant - I got to play zils (and actually coached one of the other dancers on triplets), dance, and move through space with other bodies. It pointed out things I need to work on (my mayas are much better than my taqsims and I need to practice level changes), and provided me with a short term tribe.

Yay. Huzzah. Etc. And yeah, my shoulder hurts.
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Last night, after dance class, RHeather, Fantastic Jen, and I went over to NuttyCrunchyHealthFoodStore (which RH manages), dropped beeswax candles into glass jars, set the jars in paper bags, and lit them.  The wind was raging, but we secured our makeshift luminaries as best we could, hugged one another tight, and went home.  When RH went out to clean up the remains today - at 3:30 pm, 17 hour after setting them up - two of the candles were still burning.
Tonight's dance class was our dress rehearsal for this weekend's (now cancelled) performance.  "Dress rehearsal" in the bellydance community translates, "skirts required, baggy tee-shirts acceptable" since we really just need make sure everyone's skirt behaves, rather than tangling up another dancer. We were awesome, and only had to stop and negotiate the "smacking points" a few times (Q. what do you get when you try to fit two belly dancers through the eye of the same needle at the same time? A. A smacking point). 

My favorite line from the evening: "Work the cute, girls! WORK THE CUTE."  "Work it, habibi" is a close second.

Meeting and dancing felt very healing. We did the Dancer's Prayer, in memory of Reema, at the beginning of class, ended with a group hug (which sounds trite but felt solemn and right), and clustered in the studio to listen to one another.  Another Tech instructor in the class lost one of her students from last semester, and is struggling, which I can relate to.  I hugged everyone tight, and am grateful to have this community of thoughtful, caring, joy-seeking women in my life.
I am going to dolittleville tomorrow, to stay with an online friend and get away from the madness for a couple of days.  Interestingly, I realized an Alaskan friend is there too, for work, so I may get a hug from home.  I am very ready to get a little respite from the oddness ot post-apocalyptic Blacksburg, and my empty days.  I know canceling school was the right thing to do for many people, but it has left gaping schedules for those of us who dont have family here, and too many empty hours are a not a help right now.
The hand is feeling better.  The girls thought my gauze-net hand wrap was dorky looking. Apparently I need to hit a Hot Topic for black meshy fingerless gloves, to up the cool quotient. I am hoping to be down to a big bandaid by our show - whenever it occurs, since the gaping hole in my hand looks so much better tonight.
I clicked over to to see if they had the full list of victims yet, and their main screen photo features the killer pointing a Glock (?) at the camera, very aggressively.  Essentially, he is shoving the gun in the viewer's face, and I immediately slapped my hand over the screen - I cannot take that right now. I think it is an obscene photo, and his whole packet should be examined by law enforcement but not released.  He would have loved this attention, and he doesn't deserve it.  Especially at a time like this, we should be focusing on the heroes, the sorrow, and what comes next, rather than acting out the express wishes of the deranged lunatic who wrecked it all.
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Yesterday an email went around the tribal bellydance list serve, with those of us associated with Tech sounding off that we were still here.  Apparently the cabaret community was not so lucky - Reema Samaha was among the victims of yesterday's tragedy.  She danced at our hafla last month. I remember her looking so very alive - she had the cabaret-coy look down pat and danced with vibrant joy.  We will miss her, and my thoughts are with her family...
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I am getting picked up in half an hour for our hafla, at which I will be performing a group number.  I never did organize an outfit, and I haven't started getting dressed.  I figure I have all the stuff I need, and there are a finite number of combinations, any number of which will look fine.  It's just throwing on clothes, jewelry, and some make-up after all.

I may have officially crossed the line from newbie performer into some other category (unprepared performer?).


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