Tune in, swing out

This month has been a time of deep reflection and striving to stay vibrant and grounded in these crazy times. Trying to take on less so I’m able to go deeper into my current practices and projects.  Sugar Shakers are getting into the nitty gritty of our new number for the Followlogie competition in January. We shook some serious sugar at Swing Out To Victory last Saturday, alongside other local vintage dance talent. Pics on location at the Hamilton War Museum…

And a video of all of the dancers:

Serpentina North Ensemble is preparing for the upcoming Twilight Mirage show as well as developing and refining choreography. Although shows are exciting, I think all of us look forward to a winter of studying together and collaborating on new ideas.

At Om Laila  I’m learning a new veil choreography and also continue to study singing, drumming and zylling from Roula. Its always meditative, grounding and healing. Not to mention just good old fun singing gorgeous Arabic songs.

This weekend I will be in two separate workshops: Saturday its Work Hard, Play Hard  with Heather Labonte at Dark Side Studio and Sunday a sword workshop with the oh so talented Zahira at Dragonfly Studios.  The first got sold out so fast she had to  set up another date right away! I don’t have a sword yet but a friend offered so kindly to lend me hers. I’m sure I will be inspired to get my own after this weekend.

Coming up later this month is the Toronto Lindy Hop Cabaret (see upcoming shows page for details) where the Sugar Shakers will perform and I’m also doing a solo  bellydance number. Its the first time I’ve ever done bellydance at a swing type event and I’m pretty excited! The next day I will sit back and enjoy being an audience member at Mayada’s Fierce Showcase, so looking forward to that.

As with all of the beauty and excitement of life, so has there been incredible tragedy as the local community mourns the death of  an inexhaustible soul, Jenna Morrison. Healer, mother, lover, yoga therapist, dancer. So many of us were lucky to have known her. When she opened Pure Intent with her friend and fellow healer, they offered bellydance classes (with a teacher named Malinka who stopped teaching shortly after). I had not done a class since I was a teenager and it was in their space that I began a serious practice of bellydance as therapy, mediation and self-expression. Six years have passed, with about five years with the teacher I found shortly afterward (Roula of course!) but I never forget those early days and the sacred atmosphere in Pure Intent which drew me back to a dance I had only partially forgotten about. Jenna was always a dancer, and moved her body like a sacred object.

Here I am at a time when dancing and movement are central to my identity and wellbeing, and I am filled with sorrow that Jenna’s life has been cut too short. Her memorial this week was one of the most heart-wrenching yet inspiring and beautiful ceremonies I’ve been a part of. As the church darkened and we all lit candles, this song resonated through the space.

Then her partner and young son danced in front of her picture to one of her favourite songs. Others joined, moving for Jenna and with Jenna in the candlelight. An amazing sendoff to a very special soul, indeed

Please friends, never take your lives, your loves, your abilities and your communities for granted. Each moment, each word, each gesture and each shimmy (!) counts.

2 thoughts on “Tune in, swing out

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