Cristina | New York Professional Belly Dancer

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Trip to Egypt 2011

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Sometimes,  the best thing to do is to follow your gut instinct, and your HEART.  After much debating I decided to go to Egypt this past month.   Almost everyone advised me not to go, as Egypt post-revolution was still not considered a safe travel for tourists.  But my heart told me otherwise.   My only regret about my visit to Egypt was not staying longer.  Not once did I feel I was in any danger. In fact, I found the Egyptian people I came across with so warm and inviting. I almost felt silly to have been so fearful.  Cairo seemed to be its hectic, chaotic self.     Growing up in a restless city such as New York, you would think one will want to escape to a place more serene and calm. However, I found the loudness and chaos (heavy traffic, cars honking, calls to prayer, music blasting, Egyptians being loud in general (-: ) to be so soothing for my soul, as it made me realize that I was REALLY amongst the people, the culture, the COUNTRY.   Considering I was not there for long, I’m surprised at how much I miss Egypt.  Everything from hearing original Oum Kalthoum recordings blasting on the radio, to people jamming to “Gana El Hawa” at the coffee shops, and even the every 30 second haggling from vendors who where just as annoying and persistent as the mosquitos that made a 5 course meal out of me.  I can see why Egypt is so addictive for many.  And even though I got to see only a tiny, tiny fraction of such a complex country, I feel so grateful for that tiny bit I got to experience. 

The “real” and official reason I was there, was to study with one of my idols, the great Randa Kamel.  When I found out Randa was having a weeklong course in Cairo back in November, I knew there was no way I would live with myself if I missed it.  6 months and a revolution later, there we were.  Not just the only 3 New Yorkers, but the only 3 Americans in the course.  Everything about the course was perfect.  Randa Kamel, Sara Farouk and team, put together probably one of the best and most organized bellydance events I have ever attended.  Sara was so attentive and accommodating with everyone that came to the course, and always went out of her way to make sure each one of us was happy and OK.  I quickly grew to love her.  The course had everything from working with live orchestra, makeup classes, outings, to an on site travel agent and hair stylist.  It was perfect, perfect, perfect.  Oh yes and there were the classes.  I have been loving Randa since 2008 when I took my first workshop with her back in Dallas.  She has become one of my favorite instructors and dancers of all time.   She’s the perfect example of how you never stop growing as a dancer.  Each year, I notice her style continues to evolve.  She is such a giving teacher, and her talent and beauty are only surpassed by her warm and kind heart.   Every day she taught for 5 hours. Only with an hour break, she pushed  and challenged all of us, even when our bodies where giving up.  She covered all sorts of topics such as: Arabic rhythms and how to dance to them,  Saiidi, Oriental, Classic, and Modern technique and choreographies,  improvisation to live orchestra, how to cover and connect with the stage,  dancing with different tempos, balance techniques (No, not “sticking a sword on your head” balancing, but balancing to strengthen your core and muscles,  a topic Randa should cover more often as she is the epitome of a strong muscular dancer) and so much, much more.  As if this wasn’t enough, I got to meet and connect with many wonderful dancers from all over the world such as Russia, Slovania, Japan, Italy, Spain, Ukraine and many other countries.  We all became friends, and I miss them all dearly.   The whole experience was so inspiring and life changing.   I look forward to returning to Egypt, as they say, “inshallah’ very soon :) 

With Love


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