Gilded Serpent presents...

My Long Distance Bellydance Relationship

Aradia and Dahab's Troupe
Aradia, Dahab, Amarilis, Zhanna, Britt, Kricket, Marisa, Cidgem, Estela

by Dahab
posted December 2, 2010

I am an expert when it comes to long distance relationships. I have had four of them in my life, the last one being with my husband! My father lived in a different country for ten years and my mother for five. I grew up in Colombia and have lived in at least 3 other cities in America, so most of my friendships are also long distance.

Let’s just say that my family and friends are spread around the world.

I have always put a lot of time and effort on making them work: letters, e-mails, Skype, phone calls, texts….anything!. So when I moved from Las Vegas to Canada, my mentor Aradia and I were confident about continuing with our Belly dance relationship, long distance.

Let me tell you a little more about us. On 2007, the year I moved to Las Vegas, Aradia created the professional dance troupe “Aradia and the Ra Dancers”. My friend Britt and I were part of the original cast of the company, and we have remained by Aradia’s side since the beginning of this adventure. In 2010, both Britt and I decided it was time to leave Vegas and look for our happiness elsewhere. I suspect we both have a little bit of nomad blood in us. Britt moved to L.A., and I married a fabulous Canadian man who took me to Thunder Bay which is close to Duluth in the Canadian side of the border. Being the most committed troupe members, we were determined to continue with the company somehow. So, with the complicity and hard work of amazing Aradia, we came up with a plan.

Aradia spent countless hours recording and posting choreography on YouTube. She first recorded the instructional portions and then posted performance clips.

All of that while choreographing and performing regularly in a myriad of events. On our end, Britt and I learned and rehearsed the content of the videos individually while the rest of the troupe was getting a lot of practice in Vegas. We knew formations would be a challenge once we joined the other members, and we would only have a couple days to deal with that. The least we could do was learn the routine and be able to perform it as a solo in our sleep. That way, learning the formations would be our only concern before the big day: the Friday night show at the Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive.

I had never rehearsed so hard and the final result was great, and it had to be, since we could not disappoint Aradia! We had to honor her efforts. We performed confidently, looked like a professional dance troupe, without major mistakes and with great knowledge of the choreography and technique. We performed a great show. Our next performance (for the Port Jervis Humane Society) the week after was also amazing, specially because this time, it was only the three of us. It was a great feeling to know we had managed to keep our group together thanks to our effort, our commitment, our love for the dance and the troupe and, of course, YouTube.

I am very grateful technology allowed us to have this very special kind of troupe, one whose members live thousand of miles away.

In a world where people migrate more and more for work or personal reasons, this could be a new way to keep our Belly dance relationships alive. One or two trips for performances might be necessary but not for rehearsals. Of course it is not ideal: I do not get to laugh with my Bellydance friends or share those valuable hours working together, but this in the next best thing. I value Aradia’s knowledge and personality, and I have always been honored to be around her. This way, I feel like I still am.

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MaryEllen Donald